You have a dream that one day you'll own a fashion boutique downtown, making your own clothing from upcycled material.
You can already see it all: the way the shop looks, the kinds of styles you'll create, even the kind of customers that will come into your store. But there's only one problem: it's still just a dream. You know how to source material and make it into something beautiful, but you don't know all the ins-and-outs of running a business.
Chances are, you have a lot of the skills needed to get a business off the ground, but you might be overthinking it - or you might be afraid to fail. While being anxious is quite common when launching a new business venture (and running one), it shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your dream.
As the founder of Ogilvy and Haart, tax and wealth management expert Issac Qureshi has some entrepreneurial advice to offer whether you're starting a new business or looking to expand. Below are six steps you can take to increase your entrepreneurial efforts, curtesy of IssacQureshi.
1. Have a Mission That Aligns with Your Beliefs
Running a business is about making money, but it's also about achieving a predetermined goal. To that end, you should have a specific mission in mind when you're operating your business.
For example, if you're running the upcycled fashion store, your goal might be to reduce fabric waste through the items you create. As it stands, about 60 percent of clothing ends up in a landfill or being incinerated, when it could have a new owner.
Issac Qureshi states that when you have a mission, you'll always have a driving force to fall back on. Don't keep that mission to yourself – communicate your core beliefs to your target market to differentiate yourself from your competition.
2. Focus on Cash Flow Early
You probably have overflowing notes about what you'd like your business to be down the road. Perhaps you want to wholesale your clothing to retailers, or put on a fashion show using only upcycled garments. That's great, as those are worthy goals.
However, you might never get the chance to have those opportunities if you don't focus on making money now. Poor cash flow management is the reason behind 80 percent of businesses failures.
Cash flow is particularly important for new ventures to cover new expenditures and inventory, for example. So, Issac Qureshi suggests you put your long-term plans on hold for later and focus on making money until you can do the other things you want.
3. Leave Your Ego at The Door
Sure, you're probably great at what you do. Maybe you've been sewing clothing your entire life. Maybe you took a business startup course and feel like you have the tools you need.
According to Issac Qureshi, one mistake that a lot of entrepreneurs make is to ignore the advice of others. If it's not useful, then smile and nod and thank the person for their input. But if you're open to hearing advice from others in the industry (and maybe some who aren't) then there might be a gem in there somewhere that helps you get ahead.
4. Recognize Your Weaknesses
Humans are usually good at a handful of things, but there are always some areas where it makes more sense to pay someone to handle it rather than to waste the time and expense on your own.
For example, perhaps you need someone to build displays in the shop. Maybe you're falling behind on your bookkeeping. Maybe your social media game isn't where you need it to be and you need an outside agency to do your marketing. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself struggling and wasting time on a project when you could be selling, get someone else to handle it.
5. Find a Strategy That Works Consistently
Once your company is off the ground, you have to find a way to sustain it. Perhaps a retail operation is working best, or perhaps selling wholesale is working out better. Perhaps neither is working and you need to pivot the business to move towards teaching others how to make upcycled clothing.
Knowing how to make the money and how much money you can make using a particular approach on a regular basis is vital to the future life of the business.
6. Listen To Your Customers
Are you stuck about what direction to take, or not sure what products to focus on next? According to Issac Qureshi, the best thing you can do it tap into your customer base. They will tell you what they want, so you can focus on creating it for them. Ask for input, whether it's through social media or another channel.
Issac Qureshi’s Final Thoughts: It's About the Journey and The Destination
Being a successful entrepreneur means establishing yourself right out of the gate before you end up where you want to be. By following this advice from Issac Qureshi, you can more clearly focus on your objectives to help you along the way.