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6 Questions to Get Yourself Ready to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

6 Questions to Get Yourself Ready to Be a Successful Entrepreneur
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Initially, it may seem to the inexperienced that running your own business would afford you plenty of financial freedom and clear out your schedule so you can focus more on other things. This idea of being “the boss” and relaxing while others work for you and the money just roles in is what causes most entrepreneurs to fail really quickly. Entire books can be written about the psychology behind this phenomenon, but let’s just say that being greedy, delusional and lazy is the worst combination of traits for an aspiring businessman to have. You’ll need to sit down and ask yourself a few very important questions if you want to avoid grossly overestimating your capabilities and coming up with an unsustainable business model that will leave you buried in debt.

1. Do you have a somewhat original and marketable idea?

The precursor for any sort of business venture is an idea. Good ideas are born out of understanding the principles of supply and demand, knowledge of the latest market trends, a desire to stand out from the crowd and plenty of ambition. An entrepreneur’s vision may not be entirely novel, but it should be somewhat unique.

If your plan looks something like this:

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  • Step One – Open clothing store
  • Step Two – Make a ton of money
  • Step Three – Live out the rest of my days without any worries

Then it is safe to say that you don’t have what it takes to survive your first year, let alone earn enough money to live comfortably and grow your business. A good plan would look more like this:

  • Step One – Research the local market to check if clothing store is a valid option
  • Step Two – Market research shows that there is a lack of elegant and stylish plus-sized clothing options in town, even though there are plenty of plus-sized shoppers, which means a shop catering to these needs would be well-received
  • Step Three – Look for creators, designers and skilled labor that could help you produce your own clothing
  • Step Three – There is enough demand for the product that you can manufacture at a reasonable cost with the right tools, and the skilled labor would be willing to work for a reasonable salary, it’s time to determine a budget
  • Step Four – With the available budget we can hire a small, but skilled and dedicated team, buy the necessary equipment, secure a location and have enough to cover the costs for the first six months even if we make no money
  • Step Five – Find a good location that fits the planned budget
  • Step Six – Find the right vendors and try to negotiate a good deal
  • Step Seven – Fix up the place and set up shop
  • Step Six – Evaluate the time it will take to break even and formulate a coherent and realistic business plan

Make sure that you can bring something new to the table, putting a unique spin on tried and true ideas and basing your decisions on supply and demand in your local area.

2. How good are you at what you do?

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Employee of the month

    Want to open a restaurant or coffee shop? Then you better have some experience in those industries and make sure you are able to cook up a tasty meal or at least partner up with people who can. Want to open a clothing store? You’ll need at least some working knowledge of how things work and plenty of people skills. You may be more of a thinker and organizer than a doer, but you’ll need to make sure that you are one hell of a negotiator. There are many avenues and a huge variety of niche markets that a successful entrepreneur can focus on—as long as he or she possess the right skill sets and is confident in his or her abilities, they can go on to create a great career. However, you’ll want to be objective when judging your own skill level and capabilities if you want to avoid becoming overambitious and burning through your budget.

    3. Do you have enough courage, motivation, determination and focus?

    Courage, focus and determination

      There are plenty of characteristics in common among successful entrepreneurs and it is clear that it takes a certain kind of person to succeed in the business world. Now, you may have some of these qualities without being aware of it, simply because you were never in a position that required you to use them—you won’t know how you handle a situation until you find yourself right in the middle of it. That being said, you’ll need to dig deep within yourself and try to find enough courage, determination, discipline and a laser-like focus on the goals you set. If you don’t have at least some of these traits in spades, you will be better off looking for a different career.

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      4. Can you stay level-headed under stress?

      Businesswoman frustrated at work

        As an entrepreneur, you will need to take certain risks, and you’ll find yourself far out of your comfort zone a lot of the time. A big part of running your own business is being constantly under pressure and dealing with tons of problems as they present themselves. You will need to prioritize and deal with the most pressing matters first, and in the beginning, it can be like a barrage of things going wrong and situations not playing out quite according to plan. The ability to keep your head cool under stress and think clearly is incredibly important, as you will need to improvise on the spot, make quick decisions and choose between the lesser of two evils. If you lose your temper too often and make impulsive decisions, you won’t last very long. Luckily, this is one aspect you can work on and improve through exercises like yoga. A quick boxing session on the heavy bag or going for a swim can be a good way to manage stress and blow of some steam, so keeping in shape can be beneficial.

        5. Are you prepared to stay focused and work every single day?

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        Working on vacation

          There are no sick days, weekends or quiet afternoons when you are an aspiring entrepreneur. Many people complain about the soul-crushing monotony and lack of career options of their nine-to-five jobs, but once you are on your own, you’ll come to miss the simplicity of such jobs. You work during the morning, then you come home and kick back, and you have your weekends free to do whatever you want—even if you bring your work home occasionally, it really isn’t that big of a deal. Running your own business means that you will be on vacation with your family and instead of going swimming, you end up setting up shop in a corner and staring at your laptop the entire afternoon. That’s if you have enough time for a vacation in the first place. Countless hours will be spent working on different ideas and projects, sometimes up to 12–14 hours a day. You need to be passionate and dedicated if you are to survive the sheer workload on top of the stress and sleep deprivation.

          6. Do you have a good level of leadership and management skills?

          When you are your own boss, there is no one to look to for leadership and advice, and no one to help you manage your employees. For a small business, it can be beneficial to look for freelancers and outsource some of the work instead of permanently employing a large team. Outsourcing can have different effects on your business as well as the local economy, but it is generally a fairly safe bet that if you find the right people, it can save you a lot of money. It’s here that your management, negotiation and people skills need to kick in. Managing a small and dedicated team plus a few freelancers, all while keeping your finances in check and handling any unforeseen setbacks takes a lot of concentration and the ability to jump from one task to another quickly and efficiently. Make sure you work on these crucial skills before making any serious plans for the future.

           

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          It is said that the path to success is covered in the sweat and tears of those who weren’t afraid to give it their all and make the necessary sacrifices. Although the business playing field is wide and open, there are some fairly strict guidelines for developing winning strategies, so it is best to take plenty of time to think about your plans for the future before committing to a serious, life-changing project.

          More by this author

          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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          Published on July 27, 2021

          15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

          15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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          During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

          But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

          Put the Pro in Professional

          After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

          1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

          The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

          Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

          2. Dress the Part

          While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

          Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

          For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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          Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

          3. Stage Your Workspace

          Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

          Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

          4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

          Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

          Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

          Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

          Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

          5. Arrive on Time

          In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

          Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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          6. Turn on Your Video

          Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

          If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

          Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

          7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

          Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

          Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

          Attend to the Pesky Details

          8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

          With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

          Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

          9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

          Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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          Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

          10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

          As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

          Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

          Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

          Talking Has a Time and a Place

          11. Chat Appropriately

          Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

          At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

          12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

          The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

          Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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          13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

          In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

          Manage Yourself

          14. Minimize Distractions

          While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

          Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

          15. Save Snacking for Later

          Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

          However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

          Final Thoughts

          Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

          Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

          Reference

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