Starting Your Own Business: Work Smarter, Not Harder
by Dominic Basulto, contributing writer
The business media is filled with stories of entrepreneurs working 80-, 90- and even 100-hour weeks. This creates the perception that the secret to entrepreneurial success is simply to out-work the competition. While that might be viable as a short-term strategy, such as when you are rushing to get a new product to market, it is not sustainable over the long haul. Instead, when starting your own business, the optimal strategy is to work smarter, not harder, and the way to do that is by leveraging the experience and insights of other entrepreneurs.
Get an outside perspective
One of the most important ways you can benefit from the expertise of others is simply getting an outside perspective on challenges or issues facing your company. When you are working long days and nights, it’s far too easy to lose perspective. With a fresh pair of eyes to review a matter, you can tap into the experience and strategic insights of someone who has already been through what you’re going through now. If, for example, you are facing questions about how to develop a potential new revenue stream, or how to market your new venture without breaking the bank, these are both areas where a business coach can advise on what has worked with similar industries and companies.
Build out your network
Working with a business coach can also help to open doors and create new connections for your company. Just as important as bringing in new customers is the ability to bring in new vendors, partners and investors. If you are starting a business for the first time, you might not have the necessary contacts in the VC industry. Or, you might not have the brand-name credibility in the marketplace to approach new partners. So think of a business coach as someone who can vouch for you personally, as well as your business.
Get access to tools and resources
One way to work smarter, not harder, is by getting access to tools and templates for how to start a business that are well known to savvy entrepreneurs. As an analogy, think about doing any type of home improvement task without the use of the right tools (and especially power tools!). Yes, you might be able to get the job done, but it will probably take you a lot longer than you ever thought it would. In the entrepreneurial world, these “tools” can include everything from apps and browser plug-ins to actual software that you download for your laptop or desktop. Many of these tools are in “the cloud,” which means that you have access to them from any mobile device, regardless of where you are in the world.
At the end of the day, every entrepreneur needs to think about ways to make use of scarce resources. Time is one resource that is perhaps most valuable, especially in the early days of launching and running a new business. After all, there are only 24 hours in the day. By embracing the various tools and resources that are available online, and by tapping into the experience and insights of small business founders, you can work smarter, not harder, and bootstrap your company to future success.