By Brooks Robinson
Choosing to become an entrepreneur is a difficult and risky career move at any time. But, within the ever-changing digital landscape, breaking into the world of entrepreneurship has additional risks that you should consider before trying to make it on your own. Though starting your own business is certainly a challenge, it can be a very rewarding feat, especially if you succeed in your endeavor.
Before quitting your day job, be sure that you’re aware of the challenges associated with being your own boss as well as the outside factors that can affect your business. Every entrepreneur experiences failures and struggles at the beginning, but motivation and preparation go a long way toward overcoming obstacles.
The digital world is constantly changing
One of the most difficult aspects of being an entrepreneur in modern times is the never-ending developments that take place across the digital landscape. When you’re running your own business, you’re the CEO, the receptionist and everything in between, which means you’re responsible for staying on top of changes in trends, laws and processes.
It can be overwhelming to learn about everything from accounting and eCommerce store management to social media campaigns and analytical data when you’re just starting out. Expect to feel overwhelmed, and try to add the right people to your team once you have the means. Many entrepreneurs succeed because they stay resilient and adjust well to change.
Standing out from the crowd
Though the number of millennial entrepreneurs is declining, there are still hundreds of startups popping up every day. While this has led to an explosion of creativity and innovation, a huge issue that today’s innovators face is how to make their idea or business different from the competition. The internet has provided a wide range of people the ability to bring their ideas to fruition, but, like a needle in a haystack, it can be difficult for investors and users to identify the companies that have the most potential.
Standing out from the crowd is not simply about providing a different kind of service or product. It’s about showing people why you can do it better than anyone else in the industry. Motivation also plays a huge role in getting ahead of the competition. While a good idea is a solid starting point, your ventures will suffer if you don’t have the ability and the drive to bring that idea into reality.
The cost of starting an online business is rising
While technology initially helped new business owners cut costs in areas like rent, employee expenses and print advertising, eCommerce has become the new norm, and the costs associated with the industry are beginning to rise.
With the recent Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., small- and medium-sized eCommerce businesses will now be subject to a sales tax in every state where they have customers. This change, in combination with the update to the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), will likely lead to small eCommerce businesses needing outside help from tax and data management companies.
How can new entrepreneurs overcome these issues?
Sign up for an accelerator
Established as a result of the large number of new startups, accelerator programs have become increasingly popular with digital entrepreneurs. As the name suggests, these programs are created to speed up the process of starting a new business.
Entrepreneurs who have the means – and the time – to participate in accelerator programs are at an advantage because they are provided with mentors, potential investors and other avenues of support. The Entrepreneurial Accelerator Program is a popular course to enroll in, but depending on the industry you’re looking to get into, there are dozens of similar programs across the country.
Be open to change
As previously mentioned, all businesses are subject to change at any given moment, so it’s best not to get too attached to any one long-term strategy. In fact, preparing several different business tactics is a smart practice to ensure that you always have a back-up plan if something isn’t working the way you envisioned. Always be ready to alter your approach, whether the shift is a result of laws and practices or the outcome of your performance.
Listen to advice from successful entrepreneurs
Every entrepreneur experiences some level of struggle when they first embark on the journey. Seeking advice from people who have already been through the early stages of creating a new company can provide new business owners with expert insights. Accept the fact that you will always be learning, and that will help you stay open to new ideas and possibilities. Whenever you have the opportunity to ask for advice, seek out successful mentors and heed the warnings and guidance of others.
Don’t get discouraged by failure
It can be difficult not to feel disheartened when an idea doesn’t pan out, but your failures can turn into some of your most important successes. Always consider a mistake as an opportunity for growth and further development. Don’t be afraid to try something new because you never know when it will lead to your next big idea.
Brooks Robinson is the CEO and co-founder of Springbot. As an entrepreneur and marketing enthusiast, he is passionate about helping small retailers compete against much larger competitors, such as Amazon and Walmart. He and his team created Springbot to make advanced marketing technologies accessible to the small companies that traditionally couldn’t afford them. He mentors other entrepreneurs through Techstars and the Entrepreneurs Organization.