Whilst you’d be hard pushed to find an entrepreneur who isn’t primarily inspired by a unique selling point, many of the lessons to success are anything but new.

Of course, whilst a new idea or innovation is likely to make you stand out from the crowd, without traditional foundations, some basic principles and organisation in place, the road ahead will certainly be bumpy, if not doomed.

The term entrepreneur itself can seem like an illusive, grand thing but the definition is quite simply: “A person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.” That is – something people have been doing forever.

And learning from those who have already walked the path is a key lesson for anyone, which includes thinking through the basics.

1. Know your product/brand

As anyone who has ever pitched for investment will tell you – knowing your own product or brand and how to summarise it simply will serve you well.

Take some time to fully consider what you offer, how it stands out from others, who the competition is and how to tell others about it quickly and concisely. Ensure you know what you’re trying to achieve and keep it at the heart of all you do.

2. Market yourself

No business will succeed without customers and you’ll only get customers if they know you’re there and what you do.

Once you can easily summarise your product or brand you’re able to sell it to others. 

Even to big business, word-of-mouth and personal recommendation are still vital and tools like social media make it possible to scale-up and share that feedback quickly and easily.

Make sure you have a presence on at least one key social media site, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, making it easy for customers to find you, find out about you and to tell others. 

3. Customers are key

Your business will not succeed without customers. Simple. And repeat custom and happy customers mean more business and more business growth.

However innovative what you are offering is, making the customer journey simple and pleasurable is an old fashioned value you can’t afford to be without. Put customers at the heart of your decisions.

4. Be on top of the numbers

Remember the definition of an entrepreneur at the top of this piece? It’s all about the hope of profit.

It’s so easy to get carried away with doing what needs to be done and trying to achieve without ensuring the basic systems are in place to ensure you can keep track of what’s going on, including the profit and losses.

A slimmed down version of some Enterprise Resource Planning software early on or at least consideration of it may save a lot of time and adjustments to systems in the long run.

5. Failure is success

The biggest lesson any entrepreneur will need to fully absorb is that to succeed they must fail and bounce back.

As Bill Gates once said: “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”

You won’t find a member on this list of 11 most famous entrepreneurs who hasn’t failed and if you never fail you won’t make it either.

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