They don’t tell you everything when you’re getting your MBA. Here are just six business secrets that you should know sooner rather than later.
1. Angel investors are rare.
Angel investors are the golden ticket for entrepreneurs who don’t have family money or any other kind of reliable capital. According to legend, angel investors will hear a good idea, recognize its genius and throw money at its creator until a successful brand is born. As you can probably imagine, this dream doesn’t come close to reality. Angel investors do exist, but you shouldn’t base your operation on the assumption that you’ll find one. Raise your own money.
2. It takes a long time to establish a successful business.
Everyone wants to be Mark Zuckerberg, but again, while it’s a nice fantasy, it isn’t something you should actually count on. Most businesses aren’t an overnight success story. It takes hard work and sometimes many years for a company to become profitable or popular enough to be recognized, so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t the new Facebook right away.
3. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
A fundamental truth of human nature is that everyone wants to take the path of least resistance. As a species, humans don’t like anything that forces them to change their habits or adapt to new circumstances. That’s why so many “new and improved” products fail despite coming from genuinely clever or convenient ideas: If there’s already a way to do something, and it’s an accepted way, customers simply won’t care if you come out with a fancier version.
4. Social media is a critical tool for the modern business.
Social media has grown so important to businesses that some experts recommend updating your Twitter more than your official website. Its ubiquity and immediacy make it unlike any other force in the business world, and it can also make or break your public persona. You might want to find examples of successful businessmen online and follow their example so you know you’re doing it right. For example, you might Google the phrase, “Peter Briger slideshare” or track down other company presidents on media-sharing websites.
5. Don’t hire your friends.
When you’re strapped for cash and starting your own business, it’s tempting to get your friend on the hook for cheap labor and free ideas. If you give this friend a salary and a title, however, you’re just asking for trouble. You simply can’t dictate terms to a friend like you can to an employee, so at one point or another you’ll probably have to choose between your buddy and your business. A better strategy is to avoid this situation entirely.
6. Networking is everything.
Studies have shown that networking opens more doors than anything else in the business world. If you know somebody who knows somebody, you can secure funds, jobs, properties, shareholders and anything else you might need to build a successful business. Don’t slack on networking just because you’re busy getting your business off the ground. In fact, your grand opening is one of the best times to exchange business cards with others.
These are just a few of the things you might not have known about starting or running your own business. If you’re serious about making your brand a success, keep this information in mind.
Founder Dinis Guarda
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