A version of this article was originally published by BBC Bitesize.
Much like the true reality behind the lives of Insta-glam influencers, it is an entrepreneur’s livelihood to portray that they have it all figured out, otherwise why buy their autobiography. Don’t be fooled, more often then not, they are facing uncertainty just as much as you are – they are just experts and making it work for them rather than against them.
The truth is that the rate of change is increasing exponentially – so fast in fact that it is predicted that in the next 25 years, we’ll make four times the progress we saw in the 20th century alone. Unless you have a crystal ball, it is impossible to predict whether your business idea will still be relevant in even 5 years’ time or be taken over by robots. As such, to be a successful entrepreneur in today’s fast-moving landscape, you not only need to get used to uncertainty – but ideally find a way to make it benefit your business.
Before you take the leap into the unknown, it is important to be as prepared as possible. Entrepreneurs who are just starting out have the luxury of the internet and it is now possible to research your business idea from the comfort of a local Starbucks. Do your research. If you think your next start-up will elevate you to Elon Musk status, review competitors, understand expected revenues by using Companies House, and gain feedback from trusted friends and family. If you are still onto a winner, then canvass strangers who work in the field or own similar businesses through LinkedIn. You’d be surprised how far a cup of coffee or a free lunch will go to pick their brains about the industry you are about to launch into.
Just Do It
Research is critical, but one factor that you cannot predict is your execution and what you bring to the table. No one can prepare you for running your own business therefore if you think you’ve got a great idea, have taken steps to ensure its viability, then stop wasting time and take the leap. Far too often I see great ideas remain just that, great ideas – with would-be entrepreneurs failing to take the leap because of uncertainty only to see their great business idea crop up a couple years later from someone else.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about spotting great opportunities, it’s also about having the courage to take them.
Learn to Adapt
The world is changing and what once worked a year ago, may no longer work now. Therefore, it’s important to be open-minded in the process of becoming a successful entrepreneur. If market research told you that your product would fly off the shelves but end up collecting dust in your parent’s garage – rather than bury your head in the sand, look at what has gone wrong and remedy it.
The advantage of being an entrepreneur is the flexibility to forge your own destiny. If you fail to adapt your business as it grows with things you couldn’t have foreseen when you wrote your first business plan, then you are not capitalising on the benefit you have over large corporations – being nimble.
So get used to uncertainty, not only do you need it, but it will help you succeed!