Every business starts off small before it can grow into something larger. When you’re building a business, you want to start thinking about how you’ll scale it in the future so you can lay the groundwork for a path to growth.
To get some insight into how to build and scale a business as an entrepreneur, I spoke with Anaida Deti, Founder and CEO of DentalX, an award-winning woman owned and operated dental practice in Canada.
Deti immigrated to Canada from Albania with nothing but a few hundred dollars and a very big dream. With hard work, dedication, determination, and the support of her family, Deti was able to open her very own dental clinic. DentalX is unique in that it’s owned by a dental hygienist, rather than a dentist, which is just one of the things that sets it apart from other businesses. Here’s her advice:
Don’t let your circumstances define you.
When Deti moved to Canada, she had to start over completely from scratch. Her college credits didn’t transfer, she barely spoke English, and the only other person she knew in Canada was her husband, who was also an immigrant. None of this stopped her from pursuing her dream, in fact, in fueled her desire even more.
You have the power to shape your future. It doesn’t matter where you are now, all that matters is what you do to get yourself to where you want to be. Don’t fall into a trap of telling yourself that ‘if only I had X, I could do Y…’, go out and find a way to make X, rather than waiting for it to fall into your lap.
Use the resources that you have.
In the early days of a business, you have to make things work on a budget and with limited resources, which often means having to do a lot of the work on your own. You’ll likely be putting in long hours in the beginning, but that investment of time will pay off in the long run as you’re able to grow and expand the business. It’s a challenge to bootstrap a business, but you learn many valuable lessons along the way by doing so.
However, there are often more resources available than are outwardly obvious. Look for government assistance programs, grants, scholarships, or sources of fundraising. There are many programs out there that support women and minorities, so it’s worth looking around for available options. There are ways to find free mentoring programs and business education, both of which are worth taking advantage of as an entrepreneur.
Tap into your grit.
When you have a goal and it’s something you’re truly passion about, you’re going to find a way to do it. This unwavering determination is grit – and it’s Deti’s secret to success. She advises people to “work hard every day. Set a goal and find ways to work toward it. You have to stay determined.” Grit can be described in many ways, from being stubbornly determined to having a fire in your belly. Like passion, grit looks a bit different for everyone, but the common theme is sheer drive and determination to turn your goals into reality.
Don’t be afraid to take risks.
The key to being a successful entrepreneur and business owner is being willing to take risks, being willing to put yourself out there and see whatever happens, and then learning from it. It’s better to try and fail at something than to never try it at all. “For me, it’s better to do something and maybe fail, rather than not do it and regret it for all of my life,” says Deti.
“I don’t mind making a few mistakes here and there,” says Deti. “You learn from your mistakes, so if you’re not making them, you’re not learning.” Mistakes are truly a part of doing business, and there’s no shame in making them. Everyone is always quick to talk about their successes, but what they don’t share are the numerous times they failed and made mistakes along the way to getting there. When you look at mistakes as learning opportunities, you can embrace them and learn to not fear them.
Find your support system.
Having a support system is key to building a business. Your support system will grow with you as you build and scale your business, but in the beginning it’s often just one key person. You need someone who’s in your corner, who’s got your back, and who will stick with you through thick and thin. This person can be a family member or a friend. Deti credits her success to having the support of her mother in law, who helped take care of the children and run the household while she built her business. “Just having that support, even if it’s very small, even if it’s just your family, is very important,” says Deti. It really does take a village, but what no one tells you is that the village, like your business, always starts small.