10 survival messages for (young) entrepreneurs

Posted on 06. May 2014

by Lukáš Fúčela

Lukas FucelaAre you thinking about surfing on the great start-up wave but you’re not sure if you would be able to survive in the high tide? Don’t be afraid to miss the comfort of having a steady job! The advice from experienced entrepreneurs at the Ronda Forum on Education and Entrepreneurship is to start your own company already while being employed. Entrepreneurship can be achieved through supporting your entrepreneurial mindset in your regular paid job. Below are the top ten survival tips for starting entrepreneurs, based on the discussions held in Ronda:

1. Take a risk! Risk-taking ability is the first and most essential one. It is simply explained in the saying: ‘You can be afraid to risk it if you want to get a biscuit.’ Learning through failing is in many cultural environments considered an essential way to learn how to run a company. Don’t be afraid of cultural differences (and do it the American way): entrepreneur is a hero in the USA when he succeeds even on his 3rd or 4th try and a record of bankruptcy with his previous companies. In Europe, on the contrary, if you once loose with your business you are considered a looser forever.

2. Have the worst boss in the world – yourself! You can’t be afraid to change your boss for the worst boss ever – yourself.

3. Different perspective – entrepreneurs should not only have the macro-view to identify long-term opportunities on the market but as well be able to identify problems from a solution perspective –  to see crisis is an opportunity.

4. Be a sponge – Entrepreneurs as such are not born as such. You can become one. It is essential to pursue constant self-improvement and absorb all the relevant knowledge to keep pace with the markets.

5. Use your instinct – even if you read hundreds of books about “How to become an entrepreneur” you have to be able to find an opportunity and to add some value to the market.

6. Think big! – Entrepreneurs from small economies have an advantage compared to their counter-parts on large markets (like the US). They are often forced to focus on international markets with much greater competition – which helps them to improve themselves and their business much faster than entrepreneur that stick to only one market.

7. Start on the side – it’s never easy to start a new business and the safest way how to do it is while having a regular paid job. You can test your capabilities and you will even see whether being your own boss is the right thing for you.

8. Change water to wine – You don’t need an extensive budget through a loan. Currently, in many cases the costs for establishing a company have literally dropped by 100% and you can start your own company from a dorm room. As one of the panelists recommended: If you want to make sure your business case will be profitable, ask your mom for an initial investment. If your own mother rejects you, well, you don’t have many chances elsewhere.

9. Communication

a)  With people. Knowledge of foreign languages is a must if you want to learn from the best peers and sources and do business on a large scale.
b) With technology. Learn programming: whatever you do, be it a technology start-up or organizing thematic guided tours, you need to work with a PC. And have a web presentation in some form. Knowledge of programming languages is already high in school curriculum in many countries. In Vietnam, it is even thought to the 5th graders.

10. Don’t buy a Superman suit. Last but not least, even the most successful entrepreneurs are not super-human. Don’t worry, you can do it also without a red coat and laser view, just start and keep on in improving yourself in  whatever you do.