5 things every entrepreneur should know

It’s frightening and invigorating to head out into the great unknown ocean of business on your own, and it can become extremely stressful as everything seems stacked against you. Some simple ways to keep yourself afloat without losing yourself in the immensity of the journey you just began can be difficult to come by. There is so much advice out there for business professionals, for CEOs, for entrepreneurs, but who do you trust, and how relevant is their information? This can make the risk feel even greater and the pressure to mount even more. But here are five simple tips for keeping your head and building success.

1. Simplicity.

Simplicity can be very difficult but your customers will appreciate it. Part of Apple’s success under Steve Jobs can be attributed to the way he simplified his products and made them easy to interact with, and making them easy to connect together. However, getting that simplicity took a lot of complex and difficult work, but it clearly proved worthwhile. This is what your goal should be in business. Make life simple and easy for your customers. It may mean a gruelling start to an already challenging start, but the rewards will be there.

2. Build sequentially.

This is perhaps the most important when it comes to keeping the stress at bay. When starting off on your own, it will be slow and it won’t be easy. Persevere and take the challenges as they come, one at a time. If you look too far ahead, you’ll see all the thousands of challenges waiting for you, so keep your head down and push through the difficulties one at a time. Get your product or service in order. Double and triple check it. Get your first customer. Get your second customer. Retest your product or service, and work on building a customer base. Almost all successful companies begin slow. Sure, there are those that explode into prominence, but those are exceptions, not rules. Be patient, and keep moving forward.

3. Innovate and rethink.

Once you’ve started and you’re finding customers, don’t be afraid to innovate and redesign. Use your customers to receive feedback and design your products around what customers actually want, not what you think they want. Don’t be afraid to change your aesthetic or design. Trust your vision but be flexible with the details. Above all, your innovation should be centered around the customer’s experience.

4. Collaborate.

Who you work with will determine a great deal of how your product or service works. Finding the right people is the most important step. Look for people who are both capable but can also work together. Having a partner who can’t coordinate or cooperate may sink you faster than any failure of design or product. Your employees and partners need to be able to collaborate and work together, but they also need to be qualified. Never settle for mediocrity or selfishness.

5. Think outside the box.

The best ideas aren’t simply doing things better, faster, and cheaper, but often come from doing something familiar in a new and exciting way. Don’t be afraid to step outside of expectation and try new things. Be flexible and be willing to risk. You’ll find your rewards by stepping outside of familiar routes and trails and rethinking the way we understand a product. Any easy example would be how Netflix re-imagined and reshaped the way we think about movies and television. It was the same familiar feel of television or movie rentals but done in a completely new way.

Starting new and setting off alone is daunting, but if you take it slow and are willing to do something different, you’ll find success. Trust your vision and find those who not only share it, but those who can make it better. Be flexible and remember who this product or service is for, and give them what they actually want. If you can do these simple things, you’ll find success.

Can Akdeniz

Can Akdeniz is the author of seven books and founder of Business Hacker, a popular business blog. His books such as Go Nuts, Cool Boss, Happy Company and MBA 2.0 have changed how people think about business, productivity and work.