There are many reasons why people choose to ditch the nine-to-five rat race and start their own business venture. It may stem from a burning entrepreneurial spirit, a world-changing invention, the desire to be your own boss, or an idea brighter than the deathly glow of an office cubicle. Whatever the reason, there are always obstacles to be faced. Ideas may be torn up after months of hard work, you could face multiple rejections or experience demotivating failures – and all of these can crush your entrepreneurial spirit.
But there is something else that can make you question your path to go it alone. Competing with established corporations can be tough, especially when you’re a new startup trying to make your voice heard in a market busier than the commuter train you no longer have to take. Many startups have to compete with established corporations, which can make them lose sight of what they were trying to achieve. When it’s results that matter, that dream of a productive and happy workforce who enjoy pyjama days, beanbags and free food can soon start to resemble the office you recently escaped from.
So, how do you prevent competition with other corporations from influencing your operational vision and damaging your entrepreneurial spirit? Here, we’re going to answer this question with five ways that you, the entrepreneur, can prevent a corporation from killing your dream and maybe even luring you back to the uncomfortable comfort of your old office chair.
Remember Your “Why”
Probably the most important reasons of all in preventing corporations stifling your entrepreneurial spirit is to always remember the reason you created a startup in the first place. Did you want to help people? Did you want to make life easier? Did you want to create something to be proud of?
If this sounds like you then remember that none of these even consider profit margins and turnover. Yes, you need to make an income, but it’s more likely that your business stems from a passion and something you've always wanted to turn into a full-time occupation. Remind yourself of this passion daily. One effective way of doing so is by placing some physical reminders around your workspace.
Don’t Force Growth
It’s natural to want your startup to flourish and become successful. Who wouldn’t want a successful business that you’re passionate about and also makes a tone of money? However, 70% of new business ventures grow too quickly and can never recover. This often comes from a pressure to keep up with the big corporations.
Ask yourself if you’re willing to sacrifice the way you aimed to operate and the happy and productive workforce you wanted to create for some extra cash. Avoid this by only accepting projects that get you excited, work with clients you want to work with and don’t accept the wrong jobs just for the money.
Create A Home Away From Home
If you fail to do the previous two, you can soon start to resent your time at work. It would be something similar to planting a lemon seed and getting an apple tree. You no longer do what you dreamed of and you’re working on things that weren’t in your blueprint.
Your business needs to be an extended part of your family that you don’t end up resenting. To make it so, you have to design everything in your vision from the desktop to the cappuccino machine. Create a space that works for you and one you enjoy being in every working day. Even if your startup is located in your garage or basement, you still need to make your environment enjoyable.
You may also need to create a workforce that feels like a community rather than a bunch of colleagues. You may have to pay for a few rounds at the bar after business hours and always make their input valued and discussed.
Remember Your Business Is Different
It’s not surprising that some of the most successful entrepreneurs are university dropouts. While their class peers were studying the same models and formulas, these dropouts were looking at things a little differently.
As an entrepreneur, you’re wanting to change the product or service within a niche. You may even want to change the way a product is used, one example may be using a drone for marketing or for deliveries instead of just using it to capture videos.
To do innovative things you need to break away from the mould. For this reason, it’s important to stop comparing your startup with corporations – no matter how successful they are – and stop reading generic books and guides that are promoting the same business model or structure. Instead, you should do what the dropouts did and just do you! Take command of your setup and see where it takes you.
One of the most important entrepreneurial events is to fail. It’s almost inevitable that something won't work, timeframes were underestimated, or an array of other potential pitfalls will occur. It’s part of the adventure but it’s something that can cause entrepreneurs to make radical changes and again, lose sight of their plans. Accepting failure and taking it in your stride is one of the most difficult things to do when corporations are sat beside you eating up the market. Learn to fail and recognise that it’s a step closer to your own vision of success.
So, that’s that. Corporations are always in our periphery as we try to create a business to be proud of and one that resembles our passions. It’s often too easy for us to start to imitate their behaviour or resemble how they operate, which simultaneously sacrifices our entrepreneurial spirit. Remember and execute the five things above as a way to prevent that happening and to progress your empire exactly how you envisaged.