Lately it has been rewarding to watch my partner start her own new business venture. It has been both an opportunity to teach and distill my knowledge of entrepreneurship in a more succinct way. The act of teaching always seems to test whether one is truly knowledgeable about something.
To that end, I have realized that despite the plethora of business advice and entrepreneurship information out there, there is no one-size fits all answer for success. There is nothing that is a necessarily a must when it comes to business. Everyone has their own process so these are four of the things that I hope every new entrepreneur should consider not follow or implement blindly.
Step 1: Find an easy source of traffic.
No matter what you are building, there are simple ways of getting traffic and more challenging ones. The simplest is to tell your friends face to face. This is a great source of easy traffic, but it does not scale very well unless you have a large friend group. My girlfriend is selling mala beads and crystal necklaces so I naturally recommended she get on Etsy for immediate, relevant traffic.
The people on Etsy are not only relevant, but the platform ranks well in Google's search engine as well. Which leads me to...
Step 2: Develop a basic site and learn SEO
There is no doubt entrepreneurs can be successful without an online presence much less SEO, but the reality is, things are much easier with both. My girlfriend's site is super simple, but it works for the purpose she needs. She learned how to develop it herself, which is also invaluable for developing her own self-reliance. She also had to learn basic SEO, but with a simple platform like WordPress, there are plenty of plugins she learned to use with great effect.
Step 3: Test small
Rome wasn't built in a day and her business will not be either. As she continues working her full-time job, she has dedicated $3-500 to starting her business, which is a far cry from the thousands (or millions) of dollars that people believe is necessary.
According to philosophy in the Lean Startup, it actually works better to start small, test, and quickly change course as the market determines. Failure is inevitable, but so long as it is part of the process of learning, it will be valuable for an early-stage entrepreneur.
Step 4: Have a global view
The last step is one that people should try and maintain no matter what they do in life, but particularly in entrepreneurship and business. I've learned business with the 4 Hour Work Week mentality, which has taught me how easy it is to outsource tasks.
I didn't realize this wasn't common knowledge, but many new entrepreneurs don't often think globally enough. She tried printing labels with a U.S. based printer, but I showed her an Italian option with twice the quality, which was still cheaper after shipping. The world is your oyster if you can remember to swim in it.
Success in business or entrepreneurship is infinitely more complex than any list, article, or even book. However, the experience of teaching has helped me hone my understanding of these principles so I could better express them within my own business and share with a wider audience.