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In today’s fast paced environment, where set-ups change at the blink of an eye and cost-cutting seems to be the corporate mantra, the best alternative for most aspiring young individuals seems to be treading the path of entrepreneurship, which has been a tried and tested formula for making it big in life, over the years, as man evolved by providing for his own necessities.

However making it big overnight is far from reality, and there are many pitfalls along the way, before one successfully sustains through the struggle period.

Here are 10 basic must-follow rules that we have coined for you, which one should never break if he wishes to establish himself as a successful entrepreneur:

1) Build on the idea that you firmly believe in

This happens to be the first integral step for building a great brand and maintaining it. Believing in your purpose will help you jump back to your feet, even when all seems to go wrong. Your conviction is what will keep the motivation burning to full capacity. If you yourself are not convinced, no external factor can provide the required stimuli.

2) Avoid aiming for 10% improvisation

Do not try to improvise on existing products. It is a short term formula and is sure to fail. Build something radically different and something radically much better. Dig really deep and go that extra mile to build your own unique and unparalleled brand.

3) Be prepared to be imitated

Once your brand is out and running, there will be several imitations hitting the market. Do not let it sweep you off your feet. Be ready with a plan beforehand. If you have to sustain cut-throat competition both from existing big players and new-born start-ups, you need to continuously innovate and improvise. The other easier and safer option would be to allow a big player in the field to buy you out.

4) Preserve reserves of energy and money for the not so good days

Easier said than done! Of course. In all practicality no start-up has reserves of money. But what we are trying to propagate is that one should run as lean as possible while the Sun shines bright, and avoid wastage of money and energy. Mistakes are bound to happen, and bad luck will strike when it has to, so having a piggy bank full of passive capital and stored energy will help deal with the crisis.

5) Abstain from giving up control – until and unless you actually sell

A few high-impact entrepreneurs have been visibly giving up control in the quest for high-growth via venture capital. But this move will alter the culture, the vision and the overall essence of the business which is primarily your brainchild, and one which you would like to see grow into a full-fledged enterprise.

Familiar to the South Africans would be the example of the Gupta family, with Atul Gupta as their flag bearer, have stood the test of time and grown from humble beginnings into a multi-million dollar enterprise. They have kept all under their control despite several hurdles and setbacks, and have not sold out. It is a truly inspirational journey all along the way.

6) Never compromise on the big things

Core Values, Purpose and Vision. Engrave these in stone and never deviate from them. However, there has to be flexibility in the approach to value propositions, services and products to suit the ongoing market needs. Adapting to customers’ requirements will keep you in the race for the long run.

7) Devise a way of running on a tight budget – later cut that number into half the value

Be as lean as possible from day one itself. Costly infrastructure and fancy brochures will fetch nothing. Your penultimate goal is to stay alive until your business clicks. Outgrowing the budget will lead to a quick death of your business.

8) Remember it’s not a sprint, but a marathon

Building on a business idea is not for the faint hearted or the speed demons. There is a long preparation and struggle period which has to be smartly dealt with. Climbing Mt. Everest for that matter is not a cakewalk. It takes years of preparations and perseverance before you finally get there. If you lose heart in the middle of it, you will not be able to make it to the top.

9) Relax and rejuvenate at regular intervals

Working tirelessly is not the road to success, infact, you will collapse along the way. Many successful entrepreneurs of today attribute their success and mental well-being to a work-life balance. They spend time with family, go on vacations, and resort to entertaining activities and rejuvenating experiences.

10) Build up the brand and the enterprise as if you will own them till eternity

You may sell your business someday. But your attitude and approach from the beginning should be one of do or die. When one builds a business based on purpose and passion, with an ever burning desire to meet customer needs via the delivery of monetizable value, one tends to build an enterprise of higher value in terms of long term sustainability. Those that plunge into it for some short term quick monetary benefits often fail and land themselves into a royal mess.

If you live by these rules as your Bible of business conduct, you are sure to succeed, like most other entrepreneurs, who have actually started from scratch and now are a name to reckon with, and with the help of whom several earn a livelihood.

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