Tips from practice: what do experienced entrepreneurs advise beginners?
What to look out for when starting a business, who to work with right from the start and what to do to keep everything running as it should? That's what we asked Czech entrepreneurs. Read their answers and make the most of them for your business.
The biggest struggle? Taxes and authorities
The first part of our survey results comes as no surprise. The answers show that Czech entrepreneurs are most bothered by bureaucracy and administration. Taxes clearly lead the way, but they also rank communication with the authorities and legal matters among the most difficult challenges. Laws and bureaucratic shenanigans simply do not make doing business in the Czech Republic any easier.
The next most challenging area is marketing and customer acquisition. In addition, 29% of respondents are concerned with recruitment and financing in the form of business loans.
Owner's work-life balance plays a role in business
What affects the business besides complex administration? Respondents often mentioned the economic situation. In the context of the events of recent years, it is not surprising. Pandemics, war, rising prices - we have seen a lot of them.
The third problem was the combination of personal life and work. Entrepreneurs often work more than their employees, which takes a toll on their privacy and health.
What lessons can be learned from these challenges?
Respondents shared their advice with us in an open-ended response:
- "Plan more and longer term."
- "Diversify your business so it doesn't stand on one leg."
- "It pays to get coaching to organize your thoughts and proceed systematically."
- "Only do business in under-regulated industries and states."
- "Money is not everything and family is family. Don't forget to take time for yourself."
- "Learn to prioritize."
The golden rule of business: delegate,
delegate, delegate, delegate
If we counted which recommendation was repeated most often in the responses of entrepreneurs, the winner would be clear: delegate. Their own words, in the form of practical advice, tell us more:
- "Invest and hire people so you're not on your own."
- "It's good to have someone to deal with the authorities for you."
- "Don't be afraid to take action. Don't be afraid to delegate. Money is just a form of energy. You'll spend it, but if you spend it the right way, it will come back to you."
- "If you don't understand something, don't be afraid to pay an expert."
We also asked about which specialists to work with first - whether you hire them as employees or outsource them. Here, too, most entrepreneurs agree.
Given the previous results, the answer is to be expected: almost 60% of respondents said it pays to have someone on hand for bookkeeping and tax advice right when starting a business. This is followed by a lawyer, a salesperson and a marketing specialist.
What else makes business life easier?
Aside from delegation, two areas in particular make it easier for the entrepreneurs in our survey:
- Digitalization. Software and automation make processes easier in businesses of any scale. Respondents most often praised accounting and billing systems, marketing tools, cloud storage and team collaboration applications.
- Relationships. Support from loved ones and family, companionship, reliable suppliers, loyal employees, and happy customers who love to return. Good relationships with those around you definitely contribute to business well-being.
Food for thought: what to know as a beginner?
We told entrepreneurs to imagine they were at the beginning of their business journey again. What advice would they give themselves? We've selected a few quotes that speak volumes:
- Focus on people and their needs. What do they really want?
- Carefully consider your business plan and examine all the conditions that make it work.
- You can't have everything right away.
- Stop prototyping early and get into action. The product doesn't have to be 100% perfect, and people will still buy it.
- Think more about strategy and risk.
- Read a lot and ask questions.
- Think about your health.
- Try the business on a small scale first and scale up gradually.
- Avoid a 50/50 split, even if you and your partner have known each other for years.
- Don't be afraid to end a partnership that doesn't suit you.
- Fire low quality people much faster. They don't care about your business, but they can jeopardize your business very easily.
- Don't be so harsh, think about what you say, call more. It's no big deal.
- Take the government mess with a grain of salt. :)
Despite the obstacles, the business is worth doing
In the end, we left the basic question: why did entrepreneurs do it in the first place? The answer is fairly straightforward. Most want to be their own boss.
The main motivations for starting a business
If you also desire independence, strong motivation will make it much easier to overcome business setbacks. But it would be naive to expect to avoid them altogether. You probably know the drill: it's one thing to read the advice of others, and another to follow it. The best way to learn is by doing.
We hope our survey inspires you and helps you get your business off the ground. Whether you decide to set up a company or a trade, we'll be happy to take care of the necessary formalities for you - and you'll have less to worry about right from the start. Drop us a line and let's get started.
About the survey. Over 70 entrepreneurs took part in the survey, with 74% of them having been in business for over 4 years (36% for over 15 years).
Although this is not a large-scale survey that assesses a representative sample of the Czech entrepreneur population, it will provide valuable practical experience to beginners. We thank all respondents who contributed their answers and help us educate others.