Realistic Tips to Help You Run a Business

Running a business can be tough… especially if it is your first time in the business world. Here are some realistic tips to help you succeed in your current or upcoming business ventures. 

1. BE PASSIONATE 

If you do not love what you do, it is highly unlikely that you will achieve your desired results. As an entrepreneur, you have to put in a lot of time and make sacrifices for the success of your business. So, if your business is something you are passionate about, putting in those long hours will not seem like a sacrifice anymore! 

2. SET ACHIEVABLE GOALS 

When most people start thinking about pursuing a business venture, they often imagine the big picture…the final goal. It is often something like “I’m gonna set up a business and be very successful”. However, they do not imagine the steps they need to take in order to get there. This is why you need to set achievable goals…short term goals if you want to put it that way. Start off with small goals that then lead up to your final goal…the big dream. Think of this as a giant jigsaw puzzle, your short term goals are the puzzle pieces that you need to put together to finish the puzzle. 

3. IDENTIFY YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE 

If you start a business and do know who will be consuming your product/service, then you will most likely not get any success in your venture. It is always crucial that you determine who your product/service is meant for. This will give your business a direction and lead you to success. 

4. ENCOURAGE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM 

Do not assume that your business is perfect because if you do that, you will have no room to improve. Always encourage your customers to give you feedback. That way you can get a better understanding of what your business lacks and you can work towards making your business better than before. 

5. HAVE STRONG NETWORKING SKILLS 

Having a strong social network is very crucial if you want to expand your business. Think about it….you could discover numerous opportunities just by talking to other people! Now that you are an entrepreneur, you have to remember that nobody is going to know about your business unless you tell people about it. If you talk to people and advertise your business, and if they are impressed they will likely tell others about your business too. Then those people will tell more people and then they will tell others. So yes, your business could become more recognized by a simple conversation! 

Most importantly, have faith in your dreams and never give up on your ambition!

3 Podcasts for Entrepreneurs

The following podcasts are available for free on the Apple Podcasts app, Spotify, or wherever podcasts are found.

Chatter that Matters

On Chatter that Matters, each week host Tony Chapman interviews a new entrepreneur about their business and seeks advice from three experts on how to improve. These experienced guests make detailed, highly personalized recommendations to make the business more successful, from creating a more clear brand image to giving away company equity. For any student interested in entrepreneurship, this show will demonstrate the importance of being resilient and always seeking new ways to improve. Chapman also includes a discussion about the founder’s inspiration and how their business is serving their community, highlighting the fact that entrepreneurship is not just a job, but a way to change the world.

Not only will you learn about purpose-driven ventures, but you’ll also learn about how businesses are grappling with COVID-19. The podcast gives insight into the ways that the pandemic has impacted a variety of industries, from hospitality to food, and how businesses have adapted to the ever changing situation. One especially appealing thing about the show is that it features many Canadian entrepreneurs, making it a convenient place to discover new businesses to support. With knowledgeable guests, an intelligent host and plenty of inspiring entrepreneurs, Chatter that Matters seamlessly blends educational business tips and heartfelt discussion into one great show.

Startup – Season 1

The podcast Startup is an award-winning show all about starting businesses and the resilience, courage and passion it takes to succeed. The show has covered several different ventures over past seasons, including a church and a charter school, but its debut season is its most fascinating. Season one follows the creation of the podcasting company now known as Gimlet, hosted by founder and now-CEO Alex Blumberg. Startup began as a podcasting company about the making of a podcasting company, which the host himself even described as “Meta, right?” 

For any student pursuing entrepreneurship as a career, season one of Startup will show you exactly what happens behind the scenes to get a business up and running, from investor pitches to dividing up a company’s capital between its founders. Blumberg not only explores the nitty-gritty details of starting a business, but also reflects on how the project affected his personal life. Startup airs intimate, candid discussions between the founders and their spouses, Blumberg’s financial worries and even the nagging stresses keeping him up at three AM. Despite the fact that at the time of taping, the livelihood of the host and his family was on the line, the show still manages to maintain an upbeat, positive tone sprinkled with humour. Ultimately, Startup is a rare but heartfelt portrait of starting a business, and it’s the perfect

podcast for anyone who wants to gain an honest understanding of what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur.

Under the Influence

Under the Influence is a show all about the power of advertising. This CBC podcast proves in each episode that a good idea can only get you so far in the world of entrepreneurship, and that no business can succeed without a marketing team behind it. Each half-hour episode focuses on stories from the marketing industry that all center around a common theme—door-to-door marketing, tourism ads and brand mascots have all topics covered by the show. Under the Influence is hosted by co-founder of Pirate Radio and Television and award-winning copywriter Terry O’Reilly, whose own three decades of experience in the industry is frequently sprinkled into episodes. Not only will you learn more about what makes successful advertising and get an insider perspective on the most important moments in marketing history, you’ll also learn fascinating stories about the brands you know and love. Do you know how Ski-Doo got its bizarre name? Have you heard of the legendary sibling rivalry surrounding the brands Puma and Adidas? Or the story behind the epic failure of Target Canada? Check out Under the Influence to find out.

5 Things to You Can Do Right Now to Prepare for the World of Business

If you’re a student dreaming about that white-collar business career but have no idea how to get there, you’ve come to the right place. A few years ago. I was in that exact same position, with worries about the future lingering 24/7 on my mind. But with time, I’ve collected a plethora of ways to immerse myself in business, some of which I’m sharing with you today. I hope that these tips will give you the push you’re looking for to start your journey into the corporate world.

1. Gather as much knowledge as possible

Business is a multifaceted field. So unless you’re some sort of crazy Renaissance kid, you cannot possibly learn everything about it overnight. Instead, remember that learning is about consistency. By learning something new every day, the result is like a flywheel — it takes time to get it going, but once it does, it’s unstoppable. In other words, the more you can learn about business (or any other subject) consistently, the more it gathers momentum.

Just as a heads up, there’s a caveat to keep in mind before you dive in, which is that gathering knowledge is only half of the story. There are thousands of hours of content that you could possibly absorb, so try not to jump down the rabbit hole. Rather, keep in mind that the end goal is turning your knowledge into projects in the real world.

That being said, here’re some quick links to get you started on your business journey:

For more links, check out the Resources section of our blog 😉

2. Reach out to prominent businesspeople

One problem might appear during your info-search, which is that the business advice you find isn’t tailored to your circumstances, and therefore is not as helpful to you. That’s why it’s important to engage with people who’re actually in the business world, not only to learn from a personalized perspective, but also to practice your networking skills.

Most of the time, the people you see in podcasts and videos have their emails or LinkedIn accessible, so just do some googling and reach out! Tell them a bit about your status as a student, what you love about their work, what you want to know, and close it with genuine gratitude. Not all of them will respond, but those who do would be happy to help you. After all, many businesspeople were in your position years ago, curious about the industry and reached out to professionals. Most of them would be delighted to repay the favour.

Yes, networking is absolutely terrifying. But if you never ask, the answer is always no. Turn that 100% rejection rate into 50% by simply asking. You’ll never lose out, so don’t let the opportunity fly by.

3. Learn how to make things look pretty (+ coding for bonus points)

If you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to know how to make a website grab attention, how to make apps easy to navigate, or how to make a slideshow to look appealing to investors. If you’ve got even more time to kill, learn coding, especially in regard to web development. No, you don’t have to become a computer whiz if you don’t want to — just learn enough to be able to market your business without bringing someone else in.

Here’re the best resources to guide you through the fascinating world of design. Don’t get overwhelmed by the hundreds of options within these websites — just pick something and get started.

4. Practice your public speaking

Public speaking is a complex skill that I may go into more detail about in another post. But its importance is self-explanatory so I’ll keep this short. Two main things you could do to improve your public speaking:

  1. Join a speech-related club or class (eg. Toastmasters, debate class)
  2. If the above isn’t your cup of tea, google “public speaking games” and practice a couple every day. It takes 5 minutes of your time, but makes a huge difference in the long run.

5. Join business competitions and programs

Like mentioned earlier, simply soaking up information like a sponge isn’t enough — you need to do something with your knowledge. Some perfect ways to get started are business events for students that’re low-cost and accessible:

  • DECA (obviously): Compete in business events pertaining to entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, and business administration. (https://deca.ca/)
  • FBLA: Similar to DECA, growing quickly in Canada. (https://www.fbla.ca/events)
  • Betacamp: Build a startup in 12 weeks (https://www.beta.camp/about-the-program)
  • EMGirls: Organization that hosts many entrepreneurship events and competitions annually. (https://www.emgirls.org/)
  • + Many others! Just do some digging around social media and you’ll find the competitions that you like best.

Even if you don’t win anything, you gain knowledge, writing, and speaking skills along the way. No one can take that away from you.

And that’s it!

Some simple, affordable, and efficient ways to set yourself up for a business career. If this all sounds like too much, that’s perfectly fine. Trust me, even I sometimes don’t follow my own advice, even when I should. Just remember that this is neither an exhaustive nor a definitive list of everything you should be doing. Ultimately, it’s up to you to pick and choose the activities that best suit your goals, that’ll best prepare you for the business world.