Finding success as an entrepreneur is no small feat, especially in today’s day and age where go-getters, trailblazers and startup companies are increasingly becoming “the norm.” Beyond the technical skills you might need, it takes hard work, grit and innovation to succeed as an entrepreneur. When I started what is now Heartland Dental, I didn’t intentionally set out to become an entrepreneur. Quite simply, I saw a need for myself and other dentists, and I knew I had a solution that could help. It wasn’t easy, and at times I wondered if I was on the right path, but seeing what Heartland Dental has become over the last 20 years, I’d go back and do it all over again the exact same way.
If you’re considering venturing into the entrepreneurial world, here are some personal tips to add to your strategy.
- Formulate a Plan - Put something on paper (or save it in the “notes” section of your phone.). It doesn’t have to be an elaborate plan, in fact, start small if necessary. Your plan might be a few jotted down notes, or it could be a detailed outline. Mine was written on a cocktail napkin at Chili’s. It’s likely your plan won’t look the same as someone else’s, and it shouldn’t – there is no rhyme or reason to how it should or shouldn’t be compiled.
- Learn From Others - Part of doing any great thing in life is learning from those around you. Talk to people who have seen success, and most importantly, talk to those who have seen failure. Read about businesses or watch an episode of Shark Tank if that’s more up your alley. There is a wealth of knowledge out there that you can take advantage of, and you should. You would also benefit from finding a mentor. Having someone to guide you and give you honest feedback will be invaluable for your short and long-term goals.
- Build a Great Team - Myself and my business wouldn’t be where they are today without the support and dedication of my team. Many of those who started in the beginning are still with Heartland Dental today, and they’re just as passionate and enthusiastic as they were on day one. It’s important to have people on your side who are willing to work just as hard as you. In return, take care of your people and show your appreciation for their commitment.
- Do it With Passion - Technical skills are important for any job, but beyond that, you have to love what you do. If you’re not passionate about your endeavor or the industry you’re entering or the product you’re selling, you won’t succeed. Chances are you’ll get overwhelmed and burnt out. When you’re passionate about what you do, failures will seem less like disappointments and more like opportunities to persevere.
- Start Now - Right now. Start making your plan, start connecting with others, start building your team – you can do it! This is the best piece of advice I can possibly give you. It’s never too late, or too early for that matter, to start pursuing your dreams.