Launching a new project results in a great adrenaline rush due to the expectations of success generated by that project. This is exactly what Julio Andrés Rozo felt in 2013 when he started out with his company AISO, Academia de Innovación para la Sostenibilidad.
When entrepreneurs launch their projects, they are convinced that their idea is going to be the most successful and, furthermore, that success will be very fast in coming. In the vast majority of cases, this does not happen and, therefore, it is advisable to avoid some mistakes that many entrepreneurs make when they take their first steps.
With this in mind, Julio Andrés decided to write a book titled 30 things about entrepreneurship that nobody taught me at university: Recurring errors during the first years of the venture and recommendations to avoid them.
In this book, Julio Andrés shares some ideas that have worked and others that did not during his first 3 years as an entrepreneur. Below, we have included 5 of the 30 tips:
- The first thing is to “generate rapport”
When you set-up a business, the anguish generated because the money you have saved is disappearing, leads entrepreneurs to become compulsive sellers. While the ultimate goal is to sell, the strategy to achieve this is not necessarily to ensure that the first approach results in an immediate transaction. One of the principles in the life of a sustainable entrepreneur is to create interpersonal relationships that survive the test of time; in particular with prospective customers or consumers.
Taking the above into account is acknowledging that, in order to sell, you first and foremost need to build a relationship of trust with your interlocutors. In Rozo’s words, “it is important to first “generate rapport” with the person, then with the customer, and in time, the sales will take place again and again”. Advice: Invest in building relationships of trust and be patient in doing so because this will increase the probability of achieving not only one, but many more!
- An entrepreneur’s main asset
Entrepreneurship advisers often say that an entrepreneur’s main assets are his contacts, financial resources, academic qualifications or knowledge. While these factors are essential to become an entrepreneur, after the first two years at the helm of his company, Julio Andrés was able to conclude that the most important thing of all was his state of mind.
It is natural for an entrepreneur to become frustrated due to the slowness with which things happen, to feel angry, cheated or misunderstood. In the life of an entrepreneur, every day is an experience: “A meeting was cancelled”, “They broke a promise to contact me”, “the person I contracted was no good”, etc. All this is no more than a maelstrom of emotions.
It is also natural to go through moments when you want to give up and simply get a job to minimize the instability which comes with the first years of being an entrepreneur. Advice: When you realize that success lies in managing emotions, things start to work out better. Therefore, look for excuses to have fun and surround yourself with positive people in times of anguish.
- The approach is everything
Usually, when you plan to start a project, you have thousands of ideas in your head about the new lines of business. After 7 months, Julio Andrés reviewed his notes and he had 34 different lines of business and he realized that he had not achieved any of them. Having lots of ideas and not achieving any leads to wasting time, energy and resources. Advice: You must be disciplined and consistent regarding your work plan. It is very important to clarify, filter and start with an idea; validate it and then continue with another. When Julio Andrés began to do this, he began to see results after 14 months.
- Insist, persist and never desist?
We very often hear that every entrepreneur should insist, persist and never desist. The truth is this is applicable on some occasions but not always. There are times when the market is not ready for or does not want to accept what we are offering; or, sometimes, the institutional framework does not allow it. Advice: When sign are adverse, it is best not to insist, not to persist, but rather to think things over and reformulate the strategy.
- You must know when to give in
Entrepreneurship is about knowing when to give in order to receive later. Many entrepreneurs forget to apply this strategy due to the need to obtain some cash flow immediately.
Julio Andrés came across situations in which he gave advice or training in sustainability for free if he felt that the organisation in question could be engaged and would subsequently buy larger training packages. Although we must accept that sometimes this technique works and sometimes it does not, it is worth a try as a sales strategy, but also as a brand positioning strategy.