If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re either a potential entrepreneur or a current business owner. Taking the plunge and starting your own business can be daunting but it’s also as exciting as scoring a touchdown on an America’s line NFL match.

As most of us would know, there aren’t a fixed set of rules that guarantee success. Most businesses are established through a combination of grit, luck and smart decisions, thus while you can’t control your luck, you can ensure that you make the right decisions when starting your business.

starting your business

Whether you’re an established business owner or a budding entrepreneur, here are 5 sets of rules that every entrepreneur should live by.

1. The customer is always right

Customers are the lifeblood of your business. Besides being a source of revenue, they’re also an important part of your organization’s branding. Each and every satisfied customer will act as a ambassador for your business.

Thus, through word of mouth alone, happy customers will be able to improve your exposure. By respecting and understanding the needs of your customers, you’ll be better placed to provide a better product and service. This has the benefit of giving you the competitive edge over your rivals. Remember: you should always treat your customers how you’d like to be treated

2. Focus on the fundamentals first

Upon starting your business, chances are you’ll be tempted to move in a dozen different directions. However, doing so will undoubtedly lead to more trouble down the road. Businesses that lack a sense of direction tend to stagnate and fail over time.

Instead, focus on the fundamentals of your business instead. Start by first building up a solid stream of customers and developing repeat business. Repeat business ensures a steady flow of income into the business and helps keep things afloat. After all, you can’t sustain a business on hopes and dreams alone.

Having established a steady following, you can then look into further developing the range of products and services offered by your business.

3. Write a business plan

Starting a business is a risky endeavor and can take up enormous amounts of time and money. Hence, this is why it’s important that you don’t get sidetracked. With a business plan, the goals and objectives of your business are set clearly and can be used as a reference.

In J.J Connolly’s novel Layer Cake, the protagonist XXX, explains the importance of having a plan and sticking to it. For example, the goal of your business could be to earn a profit of $20,000 a month within a year. By setting your goals down, you’ll then be motivated to move in the desired direction. Along the way, your business plan can be used as a measure for how far you’ve come.

4. Be passionate about what you’re doing

Never doubt the fact that your journey as an entrepreneur will be fraught with challenges. The road that you’ve chosen to walk on is a lonely one. Along the way you’ll be met with failure and setbacks. At times, you may even wonder why you got started in the first place.

At low points such as this, your passion is the fire that will guide you through. While profits are a strong motivator, passion will drive you all the way to the finish line. Thus, before you get started, make sure that you’re 200% passionate about what you’ll be doing.

5. Learn how to read the numbers

Bank statements. Cash flow. Profit margins. Revenue streams.  Balance sheets. These words may not make any sense to you, but as a business owner, you need to get acquainted with them. And fast.

By learning how to make sense of financial statements, you can get a sense of how your business is doing. Also, you’ll be able to recognize areas where costs can be reduced in order to boost your profits. With the right financial management skills, you’ll be better equipped to ensure that your business remains profitable and sustainable.

Despite the many challenges faced by entrepreneurs, the rewards to be gained are plentiful.

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