What every entrepreneur should know

On March 21, 2013

If you are an entrepreneur or intend to be one, knowing these few things on your journey can prove to be valuable:

Time and Patience
It takes time to create great products. Your first product won't likely be your best one. Don't hurry towards shipping something cheap. If you hurry, the quality of your creation may suffer.

Often, the final product won't be the same as you visioned, when you started working on it. With time and feedback, you have to bring new changes to your product and remove old ones. This further adds the time delay in completing your project.

Be patient and continue to improve it. You will know when it's ready to be shipped.

Perseverance
Whether solo or a small group, it takes hard work to create a quality product. It's easy to produce a simple working copy. But it's the refinement and polishing that takes time and resources.

It takes more than a day to create a masterpiece. And to create that you have to work hard. Just being smart isn't enough. Smart people know how to get around things, but it's the hard work that actually creates things. If you are working alone then there won't be any shortcuts. Hard work is the only way.

Get used to persevering and taking extra efforts or you might never build anything.

Self-Discipline
The biggest hurdle to productivity is the lack of discipline. This is something which I struggle with many times. We know what we have to do, but we aren't disciplined enough to do that on a regular basis. Sometimes external factors do pop up, but mostly it's our weak will power that delays our projects.

Especially, when you are your own boss, it's easy to get lazy and procrastinate the important things. You have to realize this, and discipline yourself enough, to do your job every day, without fail.

Take care of this one thing and you will be on your way to shipping that product on time.

Focus on Quality
When you start out, time is always a constraint and you want to ship as early as possible. While it's good to ship early to get feedback, you might easily compromise on quality to do so. Don't ever do that.

When you are selling something, it's important to provide high quality product to your customers, even though it may be in beta stage. Quality is the only thing that will make your customers happy and prevent them from switching over to your competitor.

Better to create one great product than ten mediocre ones. Look around you and you will find plenty of examples where quality wins over quantity.

Clarity of Thought
Even before you start working on your product, you should have a clear idea about what your product is supposed to do. Sure, with time, the features and design of your product may change. But the core functionality and the targeted users won't. Have a clear idea about them from the start itself.

It takes a clear mind to figure out such issues even when you haven't started out developing the product yet. Not only that, at every stage of the product development cycle, you will face issues and stumbling blocks that will delay or interrupt your work flow. To overcome these hurdles too, you will need a calm and clear mind to make the right decisions on an everyday basis.

Only a clear and calm mind can produce a clear and easy to understand product.

Vision
Without vision, you won't know where you are supposed to go. To take your product from Goal A to Goal B requires vision. You just can't go on trying everything without having a clear idea about what your product is supposed to do. You simply don't have that much time.

The better way is always to have a goal for yourself, your company and the people who work with you. Have a clear goal where you want to reach in the next 6 months, 1 year or 5 years. Think what actions will take you there. Now start taking those actions.

Usually this is not a definite path and you may have to reevaluate your vision and change it from time to time.

Public Image
You have to be careful while interacting with others, and watch what you say. Your words can be used against you, especially if you have anything bad to say about your competitors. Think carefully before responding to anything that deals with your products and customers.

A sarcastic comment or a silly tweet might be enough to alter your brand image. People buy from someone they respect and trust. If you lose this respect, it's difficult to gain it back.

Watch out what you say on the web, whether it's your blog or your social media profile. Even recommending a scam product may be enough to lose trust.

Values and Integrity
If you represent your business, be it online or offline, make sure you don't let anything come between your values and integrity. Sometimes the hard choice may be the right choice. Are you prepared to do the right thing when time comes?

Other times, you will be under pressure to deliver a half-baked product to meet deadlines. Are you sure it will go well with your values? There is no easy answer to such questions. But if you have strong values, you will know what to do when the time comes.

A business based on right values is likely to outlast those with little or no values.

Knowing this on your journey, even before you start it, will prepare you for tough situations that come regularly in the life of an entrepreneur.

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