With so many people starting their own business, there's intense competition in the entrepreneurial space. According to the 2018 Small Business Profile from the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are over 30.2 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for 99.9 percent of all companies.
While this indicates a healthy business market, it can also make it more difficult for new entrepreneurs to gain the competitive edge they need for long-term success. However, here's how you can establish a strong foundation for your business by drawing from your own life experiences.
Bring your perspective when collaborating
The business world is largely competitive -- but, in reality, many of the most successful companies thrive because of collaborative efforts.
Your success will depend on working with others to transform your ideas into reality. From product distribution to engineering, many skill sets may be needed to launch your business. Working with others who specialize in these areas can help you achieve more than trying everything on your own.
In fact, research from analyst David Coleman reveals that teams that use effective collaboration can improve productivity by 20 to 25 percent over their competitors. Focusing on aligned goals and having an open mind are key to developing this mindset.
Drawing from what you've learned in past collaborative experiences -- such as in family or school -- will help you get everyone to contribute their best effort.
Even if you aren't yet in a position to hire employees, a collaborative mindset will make it easier to evaluate which potential business partners will fuel brand growth.
By drawing from previous experiences, you can better understand which leadership styles do and don't work. This will help you create a positive company culture and foster stronger relationships with your business partners.
Use your experience to solve market needs
It's no secret that many of the most successful entrepreneurs achieved success by trying to solve their own problems first. But you don't have to draw from work experiences to find something that the market needs.
For example, consider Mushie Feigenson, co-founder of Mushie, an ecofriendly baby products brand. During a recent conversation, she recalled how the idea for the company came while she was bedridden during her first pregnancy. What she needed wasn't readily available, so she and her husband decided to start their own line of products that met what they were looking for.
Building a brand based on Feigenson's own product search quickly proved to be the right idea. According to figures from Feigenson, Mushie was profitable in its first month of business, earning more than $27,000 in revenue. The following year, revenue grew to $450,000 per month, she said.
And this is just one example. Almost every entrepreneur experiences a time when something they need isn't available in the marketplace. An idea that solves your own problems will likely solve the problems of others, greatly reducing the risk associated with starting your own company.
Unleash the power of emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) is another area that is crucial to the success of entrepreneurs. Emotional intelligence is your ability to understand your emotions, as well as the emotions of those around you. This self-awareness and empathy are often developed in the family or during interactions with friends and co-workers.
Entrepreneurs with strong EQ are better equipped to provide strong leadership when they launch their own business. According to digital marketing expert Marisa Sanfilippo, individuals with high emotional intelligence are more effective leaders, more productive, and better at working with others. This impacts vital areas such as conflict management, inspirational leadership, teamwork, and organizational awareness.
According to data from Initiative One Leadership Institute, higher emotional intelligence has several tangible benefits for startups, including higher retention rates and greater profit growth. Developing a positive attitude to manage stress and conflict in other areas will have a direct impact on your ability to successfully lead others in a business setting.
Using the lessons learned and knowledge gained from your own life will better position you for success. In the entrepreneurial world, experience matters -- use it.