Back to school season is here, and the similarities for entrepreneurs contemplating a new business are striking. Just like rejuvenated students are enthusiastic and preparing for the new chapter ahead, entrepreneurs should feel the same about new business opportunities. Here are some lessons entrepreneurs can learn from back to school time.
1. Do Your Homework
The majority of startups fail in the first year. While all businesses come with their fair share of setbacks, some costly mistakes are avoidable with a little research.
Before starting your business, take a good look at your business plan and ensure it is stable. Research your target market, competition and financial options. These are crucial components of any business and help determine whether it will stand or fail. Doing your homework well will reduce your chances of failing considerably.
2. Get a Mentor
Just like a tutor, a mentor has valuable insights. Mentorship is crucial for business newbies as a mentor will keep you in touch with industry needs and lead you through some growing pains. To realize your goals, a startup needs an experienced guide who has walked that path before you. Of course, no business idea and operations can be a copy/paste of another. Even if your view on some few things may be different, appreciate the lessons and time of your mentor.
Related Content: Find a SCORE Mentor
3. Broaden your Network
Networking is intentional. In school, life is all about growing connections with the right ‘clique.’ Students are encouraged to connect with professionals in their areas of interest. The right connections open doors and opportunities that many outside the circle know nothing about. Mingle and interact with more people whenever an opportunity presents itself. You may strike a conversation, do a favor or get some few tips, but get to know more people.
4. Take Time to Build a Routine
Nothing good comes easy. Even a routine. Students take a bit longer to settle in when the school year starts. Before you get the hang of running your business, you’ll encounter a trial and error period. Persevere through this tumultuous season as better times are coming. Building a routine takes time, and you need patience and consistency. With the right plan and routine, pitfalls can be avoided.
5. There is No End to Learning
Always be ready to learn something from different people, businesses, and situations around you. Don’t ignore or take any lesson for granted. Even with a successful startup, you’ll realize you still have many experiences ahead. When students graduate from one class, they feel like they are bursting with knowledge. However, when lessons in the next level begin, they realize there is so much they did not know. Be open and always ready for one more experience.
An advantage that small businesses have over the larger, established ones is that the customer base is small, allowing you to offer service at a personal level. Take advantage and provide exceptional customer service. Go the extra mile to make your clients happy.
Like any 'A' student, set goals and always aim for bonus marks. Simple things like checking up on your customers will boost your grades with them.
About Ebong Eka
Ebong Eka is no stranger to the world of personal finance. As a certified public accountant and former professional basketball player he offers a fresh perspective to small business planning and executing. With over fifteen years of accounting, tax & small business experience with firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche and CohnReznick, Ebong provides practical money solutions tailored to the everyday person, the aspiring entrepreneur or the small business owner.
Ebong is the founder of EKAnomics, a sales, pricing and leadership firm. He is also the founder of Ericorp Consulting, Inc., a tax andmanagement consulting firm. Ebong is the author of “Start Me Up! The-No-Business-Plan, Business Plan.”
Ebong is also the founder of The $250 Tax Pro, which provides tax preparation and consulting services in the Washington, DC area.
Bank of America, N.A. engages with Ebong Eka to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Ebong Eka is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Ebong Eka. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.
Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC. ©2018 Bank of America Corporation