There will be a rising number of start-ups in 2014 due to a steadily improving economy and the fact that there are now an unprecedented number of start-ups valued at $1 billion.
This is encouraging for all would-be entrepreneurs, founders and first-time CEOs. However, the thought of quitting a full-time job with a steady paycheck to finally launch a business is undeniably terrifying. How does an entrepreneur know if the time is right?
Here are eight tips that are proven to help build a million-dollar business:
1. Make sure you have an amazing support system in place.
If you don’t, go find one. I don’t mean just your parents. While a big part of it, they are only a portion of this system. Make sure that you have a few people in your life that you can go to, who know what you’re going through, that you can bounce ideas off of, have them point out things you’re doing wrong, and just talk to in general. Without the support of my father and a best friend of mine who started a company a few years before me, I probably wouldn’t have made it out of my first year in business alive.
2. Expect Utter Hell, and You’ll be Just Fine.
Any glamour you see in movies about entrepreneurial success, just do yourself a favor and pretend you never saw it. Taking the leap to start a company sets you up for the most indescribable rollercoaster you can possibly imagine. When it’s your company, you live it and breathe it, every day, all day. The day has no beginning, and it has no end. It’s just always there, as it will likely consume your thoughts all the time. When things go wrong, you will feel like you are a failure and that the world is crashing down. I know this because I’ve experienced that feeling about a dozen times in the five years running Infographic World, half of those times coming in the first 18 months, as it’s the most turbulent period. So while nothing can prepare you for this journey, just expect a rocky ride, and you’ll be ahead of the game.
3. Have Passion and Perseverance.
Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, was famous for saying, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day of your life.” This has tremendous significance in the start-up world. In order to succeed, an entrepreneur must find a business they are passionate about because it will consume their entire life. Confucius knew what he was talking about, as while there have been trying times since starting the company, I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. Nothing in the work environment is more fulfilling than owning a company.
4. Bring the Best People Together.
This may be the most important part of growing a business. Bring in the most talented and hard-working people possible and keep them happy. At some point, you will not be able to do everything yourself (nor should you) and your business will be only as good as its people.
5. Take Advantage of Unprecedented Digital Reach in 2014.
The digital and social media landscape in 2014 offers businesses the ability to reach an exponential number of customers at no cost on a global scale. Major social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as digital marketing such as infographics, can take a garage business global in a matter of minutes with one click of a mouse. This has greatly reduced the amount of start-up capital needed to launch a business, as has the cloud revolution and the ability to work remotely.
6. Set Realistic Goals and Timelines.
Most New Year’s resolutions are forgotten by March or sooner. Typically, they were great ideas at conception, so it is critical to regroup quarterly and make sure your business goals are on track. Set goals that are realistic and measureable. This may be the difference between success and failure.
7. Make Time to Read a Little Each Day.
This is something I’ve made a point of doing the last six months or so. I get the New York Times delivered every day, and on my way out I’ll grab just the business section, and read it over the course of a day. Reading through it does a great job of sparking ideas that you can apply to your business and helps you keep in mind things that caused failure in others.
7. Just Jump.
The time will never feel quite right. There will always be reasons – real and imagined – as to why you should wait. The problem is that waiting gives the devil time. If you have a good idea, believe in yourself and are prepared, you should take the leap. Make this the year you change your life.
Justin Beegel is the founder of Infographic World, a leading information graphics company based in New York City. The company, which launched in 2009, made $1.5 million in revenue in 2013 and is experiencing triple-digit annual revenue growth. Justin is also the author of “Infographics For Dummies“.