1. Plan for success – create a business plan and amend it on an ongoing basis to focus on goals and strategies.
2. Research doesn’t have to be expensive – hold focus groups and send questionnaires to potential customers.
3. Marketing – don’t have the “we’ve built it, they will come” attitude. It’s never that easy.
4. Include networking in your marketing plan – it brings referrals, new opportunities and peer relationships.
5. Find a mentor – learn from the experiences and wisdom of a respected industry professional.
6. Don’t be scared of competition – it tells you that some of your target market already understands your product or service.
7. Never get complacent – continue to innovate to stay ahead of the competition.
8. Financial planning – add 10 percent to your expense budget for the “unexpected”; also, service businesses should plan for late and non-payments. Not all clients are good clients.
9. Build a solid support network – entrepreneurial life can be challenging so you’ll need support from friends, family and peers.
10. There is no more 9 to 5! You’ll also have to put in a lot of hours, especially in the early days.
Claire Fenner is the founder of Heels and Deals, an international network for entrepreneurs and women in business.