If you have an idea for a fantastic innovation or a new invention, and you’re ready to bring it to life, then it’s time to embrace your calling as an entrepreneur.
Whether you’re in the initial stages of your entrepreneurial journey, or you’ve been working for yourself for years, you need to evaluate what’s guiding you along the way by making a list of your principles.
Knowing what should be driving you and your business is important, even if it’s something you don’t actively think about. There are three main categories of principles you should think about as you make important decisions.
- personal principles
- business principles
- employee principles
When you first decided to launch a startup it was because something drove you to that decision. Perhaps it was a great idea to fill in a missing gap in the market. Maybe it was a reaction to another product or service that you thought could be improved.
Whatever your reason was, it was strong enough to make you leave the security of your 9-5 and strike out on your own.
Write down that reason on a piece of paper. Type it up in a note on your phone. Keep it close to you so that you won’t ever forget the reason why you chose the crazy hours and the intense dedication of launching a startup.
Take what you’ve written down and compare it to your stated mission, vision, and goals. Make sure that they align and if they don’t, it’s time to re-write them. After all, your startup’s mission, vision and goals must be in harmony with your personal driving reason to begin in it in the first place.
For example, if you launched your startup because you wanted to provide an environmentally-friendly product offering, but there’s nothing in your company’s goals about contributing to protecting the environment, then what does that really say about you?
Your main motivation, to create a great product that enriches people’s lives, for instance, is the most important personal principle you should bring with you to work every day.
While your personal principles are important, it’s only one type of principle you should bring with you to your work every day. You should also keep in mind important business principles.
Start with the Profit and Loss sheet. While you might think this is your accountant’s responsibility, it should be one of your top priorities. You need to make sure that you, as the founder, are completely aware of your company’s finances on a daily basis.
You should also make sure that you are prioritizing running a business that complies with all government regulations. If you aren’t, you could end up in jail.
On top of complying with the law, you should also take time to think about your ethics. How do you intend to treat customers once you have their money? What is your attitude towards your suppliers and vendors?
Think about the potential to grow your business (its scalability) and its ability to withstand downturns in the market (its sustainability). Think about the systems that will keep your business running smoothly.
Finally, considering all of these different issues, write down what your values are and how they relate to the day-to-day operations of your business.
When you first launch your startup, you’ll be asking your employees to work for less than what they’re used to. There’s no way around it: in the early stages, you’ll need them to work long hours for less pay.
That means that you need to treat your employees with the utmost respect. Provide as many amenities and perks as possible at your location. Most importantly, make sure you listen to their concerns and ideas with an open mind.
You should also treat them with respect when it comes to their financial stake in the company. Make sure you are generous in the stock options and shares you offer.
Your employees are putting in the work to make your idea a success. Treat them with the respect that they deserve.
It’s essential to make sure you’re following strong principles when it comes to the daily operation of your business and how your employees are treated.
You left the safety and security of your 9-5 for a reason. That reason was strong enough to compel you to devote your life to its success.
As the complexities of running your own business increase, you need to remember that core reason. Weak principles are like a broken compass and they won’t do you any good. Make sure you have strong principles to guide your startup to success.