We were delighted to catch up with Vaishali Shah this month, talking all things entrepreneurship. Here she gives us her own top tips on running a successful business.
There are many definitions of an entrepreneur. I particularly like this one by author and businessman Ryan Lilly:
“Entrepreneurs see what others can’t, do what others won’t, and accomplish what others dream”.
I come from an entrepreneurial family. I always knew from the time I was in my teens that I wanted to be an entrepreneur – that it was the right fit for me.
I’ve been an entrepreneur now for the last 18 years, and by the time I turned 35, I was running two successful businesses. One is a graphic design, branding and marketing agency called Creative ID, and the other is a high-end bespoke wedding and event stationery design company called Ananya.
Here are some tips and guidelines from my own experience:
- Trying to start a business can be scary and difficult, so you must know exactly what you want to do and why you want to do it. Choose a business that you have a real passion for. Make sure you have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Your passion and belief in your vision will keep you going when you face challenges.
- Seek out opportunities to make connections and get your business known wherever you can. Make yourself visible, whether it is a Facebook Live, Instagram Story or Tweet. One of my mantras for a long time now has been “network, network, network”. No matter where you are, there are always opportunities to network.
- Take pride in what you do and how you present yourself. It is said that ‘people buy people’, and I agree. Your personal branding must represent your business; that means what you wear and how you conduct yourself must all match your business brand.
- You have to be resourceful and know how to solve problems. To do that, you must be disciplined and be prepared to work hard. Build a strong support network and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Find a mentor or coach to help and guide you.
- As an entrepreneur, there is no typical day. Things unexpectedly fall into your lap that you have to deal with – it can be overwhelming. So you must learn how to manage time effectively. I use Wunderlist as an App to keep track of my to do lists. It’s a great help and keeps me on track.
- Be prepared to go outside your comfort zone. Try new things, look at what other people are doing well and take inspiration from that. For example, I have just started doing Facebook Lives to help increase engagement and add some personality with my social media followers. This helps to build rapport, and even though I’m apprehensive to do them, I do so because I understand its increasing importance.
- Remember to count and acknowledge your successes, however big or small. Have fun and laugh a lot.
- Being an entrepreneur has given me a tremendous sense of achievement and freedom.