“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” -Jack Welch

As a new or budding entrepreneur the only thought in your brain tends to be the end goal, and your passion for it that’s inspired you to take these initial steps to lay the foundation that will make your dreams a reality. However, when you decide to start off, everybody around you is going to be holding several red flags and innumerable warnings, and to be very honest, most of them will be true. Having a start up, especially at a young age, is the single most challenging thing one can do. Here are a few tips that I was given before starting up and a few that I learnt along the way:

Heed every advice that comes your way, but follow your instincts most:
As an entrepreneur you are on a journey to make your vision turn to reality. While everybody around you, especially your well-wishers will have 100s of small pieces of advice and critiques, a few of these may not align with your vision and may make you reconsider. In those moments, reflect, ask yourself what your instinct is telling you and whether heeding to such advice will take your forward on your path or steer you away from your journey. No body can tell you what your start-up should be better than yourself, at the end of the day it is your brainchild and nobody will understand its nuances like you do.

Under no circumstances should you steer away from what your research says:
At every stage, right from ideation to finally creating the product, conduct multiple surveys, hand out samplers if possible. Collect data regarding the product, its packaging, its sales points, the pricing and see whether your target audience resonates with your intended marketing mix or any changes need to be made. The old saying “Customer is king” has and will always be the case, if your product does not entice your target group during its testing phases, unless changes are made, your are likely to not see high sales or profits in the long run. As an innovator, we are tempted to believe our idea’s are flawless, however we need to keep aside the bias we have regarding our creations and work towards fulfilling every customer’s true desire.

Do not be in a hurry, focus on delivering a quality product:
Often, it’s easy to get swayed by our own timelines and focus on them rather than the final outcome of our deliverables. It is important to remember that the first impression of your product can make or break your reputation in the market. Hence, even if it takes a few months more than you anticipated, run every quality test possible, fine tune your product and ensure there are no loopholes in your research or marketing mix that can be exploited by your competitors. Ensure when it reaches the market, your product is undeniable to your target audience.

Ensure you have the correct working environment :
A business is only as good as its team, if your employees do not want to work for you, your customers most likely won’t like your offering. The reason behind that is pretty simple, if your team is not satisfied their output will be unproductive, resulting in a drop in quality of services offered. A satisfied team on the other hand is motivated to work and will deliver the highest quality offerings to your customer.

Trust yourself:
In the initial few months you are going to face hurdles and challenges that make you wonder if you should be on this path at all, in those moments of doubt remember the end goal and what you set out to achieve. Believe in your vision and everything you stand for. The rest will always follow.

In my short journey as an entrepreneur there have been several gruelling days where I have wanted to quit, but my faith in myself and my belief in my brand keeps me going each and everyday. There will be hard days, initially more of those than the good ones, but as long as you follow these few guidelines, success will not be too far.