As the new year begins, a new wave of would-be entrepreneurs come to the fore wanting to start their own company to bring their vision to life. The new year brings excitement, renewed faith, increases hope along with the never-ending list of things to achieve, change and do.
Entrepreneurs are a breed of their own; visionaries, risk-takers, possess endless amounts of energy and positivity with countless ideas and bucket loads of ambition. They want to create their own destiny, live a lifestyle with unlimited potential and income, despise mediocrity, and are willing to overcome challenges and live with uncertainty.
Living an entrepreneurial lifestyle is not for the faint-hearted, despite their various talents, visions or the determination of the entrepreneur, there are 4 must-have skills needed to survive and to achieve longevity in the entrepreneurial world. A word of warning, do not even consider registering your business name and place your entrepreneurial dreams on hold now until you acquire these skills.
Here are four skills that will determine your longevity in the entrepreneurial world:
1. Being able to sell
It starts and ends with this step. If you are unable to sell yourself and what you can offer – the entrepreneur lifestyle is definitely not for you. Unless of course you become best friends overnight with Grant Cardone, Tom Hopkins, or Zig Ziglar and they help you master the art of selling.
When speaking with entrepreneurs in their first year of business, this is the number one challenge. Getting out of their own way to educate customers. For the vast majority, they are fearful of selling so they spend time avoiding the inevitable.
Time is spent developing beautiful websites, creating online programs no-one wants, posting ads on social media and basically doing any seemingly unimportant tasks wasting precious time and energy. The bottom line is – you cannot serve unless you sell and you have no income or business without paying customers.
“I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” – Estée Lauder
Selling is educating potential customers by connecting with them in an emotional way, finding out what problems keep them awake at night to see if you can be part of the solution or refer them to someone who can help. Selling is serving. If you have negative connotations about selling, it is time to change your perspective.
If you can’t sell, you are not even part of the game so don’t worry about getting out of the game. There was no register of you playing the game to begin with. If you have not mastered the art of selling, forget reading the rest of this article. Like I said, business starts and ends right here.
2. Being able to market to the right people
The purpose of marketing is to build a personal brand and build trust with your customers. If you do not have expertise in this area, consider hiring a marketing expert to help you devise a plan for your business. If no one knows you exist, what you specialize in, whom you want to serve, or what problems you solve, life as an entrepreneur is going to be tough. Before you start your business, place funds aside to focus on your marketing.
Have absolute clarity around your message to market to ensure people connect with that message. If they aren’t, modify the message and conduct more research, read books or articles, enroll in a short course and ask potential customers/business colleagues for their thoughts.
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.” – Peter Drucker
3. Knowing your specialty
Become accustomed to answering this simple question: There are a million and one people doing what you do, why would I choose you? Simple question yet for so many people this is where it ends, they stutter and stumble to find an answer, sometimes there is a long pause, uncomfortable silence or a change in subject. Decide today, right here and now – Why would I choose you? What do you do differently to your competitors
It was interesting; I recently asked a new financial institution this very question – Why would I choose you over one of the big banks? There was the uncomfortable silence followed by a few moments of stuttering as he tried to think of a suitable reply before the dreaded response of “Could you please hold the line, I will transfer you to someone that can help you”.
In other words, the customer service representative had no idea what made his company better or different from the rest. Needless to say, he probably doesn’t care. You need to know what makes you different.
4. Grow your group of haters
If you don’t have a group of haters, you are doing something wrong. It means you have not built enough traction or achieved enough accolades for haters to start on you. It is a cause for celebration as haters can increase your level of motivation, give you ideas or new insights, help you achieve your goals by taking a different path or simply make you stronger than you were before.
Haters love those who are successful; they are envious, jealous and want to be you. They hate successful people that have an audience of adoring fans, achieving awards and things they could never hope to, who are brave enough to speak their mind.
If you don’t have a group of haters right now, if everyone loves you, you know that it is time to change course. Once the haters arrive view it as a positive sign, learn to appreciate them and take heart knowing that you’re definitely on the right track.
“You can’t reach your full potential without haters” – Grant Cardone
Success can be yours once you have mastered these skills. By mastering the art of sales, the other skills can be acquired within a short period of time with clarity, conducting further research and gaining access to industry experts. Start playing the game of life your way.
Which skill do you want to master? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
What if Elon Musk Ran Your Business? 4 Lessons From the Real Life Iron Man
The story of Iron man and Elon Musk starts when Robert Downey Jr. visited SpaceX headquarters miles away from the setting of the first Iron Man movie back in 2007. The actor was inspired to base his character on Elon Musk’s personality. Ashlee Vance writes in Elon’s biography “both Musk and Stark were the type of men, according to Downey, who ‘had seized an idea to live by and something to dedicate themselves to’ and were not going to waste a moment.” (more…)
5 Ways to Prepare for Your Entrepreneurial Journey
There are many ways to get ready for entrepreneurship regardless of whether you’re ready or not. The migration to the unknown will take you through many places, emotions, and people. Your journey will be both easy and difficult, but hopefully in between, you prepare yourself with an expectation of helping people by solving problems. The quest that you are about to enter will be one to remember if you are willing to adapt quickly and not give up.
Arranging for this huge change in your life should be one of the most memorable expeditions that you will ever experience. Looking into the future and being able to lay out a road map for your entrepreneurial journey will definitely be beneficial. Though there will be challenges every step of the way, being prepared will help you achieve your goals more efficiently.
To help you get started, here are 5 ways to plan an entrepreneurial expedition:
1. Form Ideas By Visualizing And Writing Them Down
Before beginning your entrepreneurial quest, brainstorm to come up with many amazing ideas even if you never act upon each of them. It’s always a good thing to write them down on paper, computer or via a mobile device app such as Google Docs. An abundance of suggestions about your processes is better than none or even a few objectives that can possibly help in some way.
The key is to breakdown those ideas to come up with better solutions to move forward in your voyage. See what’s more in line with your mission and values to be effective for your core audience, products or services that you may want to create. Whether you categorize those ideas or check them off one by one, coming up with different concepts will be a great start to your journey.
“Creativity is contagious – pass it on.” – Albert Einstein
2. Begin A Pattern Of Consistency By Quitting Bad Habits
Repetitive actions can present their challenges but if there’s a way to make progress and eliminate bad habits that aren’t hindering your itinerary then keep doing them. Have you ever noticed that negative thoughts, lack of confidence, and no exercise regimen could negate persistence of not only your entrepreneurial journey but other goals as well?
Get your mojo or swagger back by committing to a life of constant and everlasting consistency by stopping eating bad foods, wasting your time with hours of playing video games, watching television and other things that will stall your progress. When you get rid of actions that are slowing down aspects of your life, you’ll begin to pursuing things to help you lay the groundwork for success.
3. Be Disciplined While Listening More
Another way to prepare for your entrepreneurial journey is by being in control of yourself while paying more attention to everything else. It’s quite common to focus on things outside of your realm and instantly become something other than what you see fit. Difficulties can arise if your focal point isn’t there and somehow an opportunity pass right by you.
Mentorship even from a distance from someone that you don’t know can be a key element as you learn the importance of your mission. Listening to podcasts and watching YouTube videos of someone that has validated your idea is a great starting point as well. Mimicking them on some level can help you understand different phases that are ahead and how to deal with them.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford
4. Work Effortlessly And Prioritize Your Time
You will have to work extremely hard with an emphasis on actual time value before pursuing your pilgrimage. We often hear about the results of hard work and it sounds cliche but when many other things are happening outside of your control, finding a way to manage your time can become difficult.
Most people will start off alone with zero help in terms of having a partner and putting in 100% effort. You will likely wear multiple hats as the visionary, programmer, marketer, content creator and so on. You may have to function with only 3 or 4 hours of sleep or even none at times while being respectful and cognitive of the time of others as well.
5. Persist Like There’s No Tomorrow While Planning For The Future
What’s in you? Nobody knows the answer to that question but you and the determination for reaching your destination as an entrepreneur. Whatever the answer is, you should be driven with an undaunted passion to pursue your expedition. Go after your dreams with a tenacity that you didn’t know was within your soul and keep pushing no matter what.
Be mindful that your strong pursuit can be done all while determining the proper destination of where you want to eventually end up. Never lose your focus admist numerous distractions that will happen. The emphasis comes from experience along with talking to other entrepreneurs who had similar occurrences at multiple stages of the process.
Put in the work early with the mindset of expecting obstacles and pushing forward pass them. It will be tedious and preparing for a grind will make your entrepreneurial journey more understandable through tough times. You will be a lot wiser and better after all of the hard work whether it’s considered a failure or success.
Which one of the above 5 ways to prepare for your entrepreneurial journey resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts below!
7 Things You Need to Do to Grow as an Entrepreneur
Startups are on the rise and youngsters are keen to launch their own business instead of a nine-to-five job. As simple as it sounds, opening a business needs patience and the right planning. Moreover, the profits gained can help you meet your financial obligations and realize other dreams.
Young entrepreneurs must learn the skills of investing money within the right channels as most startups fail because of a shortage of funds. Every entrepreneur has a chance to innovate, create new jobs and have an influence on society. It’s our responsibility to continually grow and push forward, usually beyond our comfort zones.
Here are the seven must-learn tips to grow as an entrepreneur:
1. Read Books and Articles
For many new entrepreneurs, your first mentors are usually found in the pages of books and blogs. Much often learned from the writings of others, and fortunately these days, people are sharing their experiences. A survey found that 88% of the world’s wealthiest people read for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. By comparison, only 2% of the overall population reads this much daily.
Read chapters in books, and articles to get new ideas and skills. Some ideas might not be directly relevant to what you’re doing these days however, it could come helpful a year or so down the road.
My advice is to search out those leaders and writers who resonate with you. You’ll understand when you’ve hit on something when you find yourself returning to a book for answers and inspiration time and time again.
“Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato
2. Perform SWOT Analysis
Business students and old-school marketers should be very aware of mapping out SWOT Analysis charts (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). If you’ve never made a SWOT chart, write out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in four quadrants on a piece of paper.
In reality, you’ll jot down a couple of notes on the back of a cocktail napkin, however despite the simplicity, if done right, a SWOT will shed light on crucial areas that require improvement. Most significantly, don’t shy away from the truth. Dissecting your weaknesses isn’t fun however, no good comes from avoiding the fact.
3. Be Willing to Take Risks
It’s impossible to become an entrepreneur if you don’t take risks. Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve fallen. See how many times you stand-up. Being an Entrepreneur isn’t that easy; it’s an up-and-down game like a business. Be willing to come up with new plans even when old strategies are working. It’s through such risks that your business will grow. You’ll learn and meet new partners or investors. Even so, the risks must be calculated. Doing the analysis and making consultations is vital in this case.
4. Open Your Eyes Wide
Many opportunities are arising in the business world every day. For instance, many companies are willing to come up with a mobile solution for a startup without charging immoderate prices. This info can only be discovered if you’re keen.
Before dismissing adverts from websites and mainstream media, conclude if they’re relevant to your business. Also, follow the events happening in the stock market and international business summits. You’ll find the opportunities which will take your business to a new level.
Becoming successful as an entrepreneur is possible if you learn, take risks, evolve, innovate, and stay motivated. You must be realistic regarding your abilities and watch the events that unfold in your world.
5. Lead the Way for Your Team
Young entrepreneurs need to encourage employees and provide help at every juncture. For any young entrepreneur who aspires to be a leader it’s necessary to be:
- Courage and Risk Taking
- A Team-player
- An effective listener
- An effective communicator
- Able to inspire confidence
An entrepreneur who has all the attributes of a leader leads the employees to productivity. It’s essential that the team respects a leader. The hunger and aspirations of the leader to strive for success inspire the employees to put in that extra effort to be successful.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
6. Learn How to Keep Initial Success at Bay
Do not enjoy the shrubs of initial success for too long. Return to the drawing board and draw the future course of action. To move on to the next phase:
- Utilize local and online channels to make hype for the services
- Start expanding by hiring employees to enhance productivity
- Cater to a good segment of the audience by providing various services
- Re-invest the profitable revenue into new business efforts
Never let the initial success get to your head. The online platform is an ever-changing arena. Analyze what’s working and what new tactics can be utilized to strengthen the market base.
7. Find and Keep Business Partners
You will always go far if you have people to carry your hand during hardship in business. They’ll share ideas that have made them successful and provides you funds whenever necessary. Demonstrating that you are organized, capable, and serious is vital when nurturing such relationships. Keeping records, creating financial contributions to society, and attending forums are some of the choices worth trying.
Being an entrepreneur isn’t as easy as it looks. You’ll face many up-and-downs, risks, financial crisis, and many more. Be ready to face these problems if you want to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship isn’t about making money, it’s about innovating new things and represent new concepts and ideas to the world.
Transitioning From Employee to Entrepreneur? Try Intrapreneurship First
Studies show that 15 million Americans are self-employed full-time and that an estimated 27 million Americans will transition from the traditional workforce to full-time entrepreneurship by 2020. Additionally, it is asserted that entrepreneurs are 125% more successful if they have previously been employed in the industry in which they presently do business. This is all great news on many levels.
Chances are, if you are reading this article, you are considering transitioning from employee to entrepreneur, or perhaps you have already made the shift. I get it. I am one of the millions who has made the switch – trading stability and comfort for passion and freedom. However, if you are a potential full-time entrepreneur, there are many things to consider before making the leap.
How will I support myself and my family in the initial stages of development? What do I do if I fail? How do I maintain the drive needed to make a business successful? How will my business harness the creativity and innovation required to thrive in the marketplace? These are all valid questions and should be considered deeply.
If only there were a training ground to test your management capabilities, gain knowledge, think innovatively and be solution-focused. But, wait, there is. Your current employment can offer these opportunities and more – through intrapreneurship.
By definition, an intrapreneur is an employee of a company who has adopted an entrepreneurial mindset. Intrapreneurs are highly motivated self-starters and innovative, solution-driven thought leaders, who work within an organization. Because of this definition, acting in an intrapreneurial capacity in your current place of employment makes a great deal of sense when considering the move to self-employment. You can use your current employment status as a testing ground for where you want to be.
Here are four reasons why intrapreneurship can work for you:
1. See a problem. Solve a problem
All businesses should be designed to fulfill a need. Just as your own business should be able to justify its existence in the marketplace, initiatives within an organization should do the same. Closely examine processes and products in your place of employment. Determine what could be executed more productively. Alternatively, design a new initiative to creatively meet and exceed customer expectations. Acting in this manner will prepare you for building the structure and mission of your own business.
2. Creatively capitalize on skills and talents gained outside your employer
In many instances, we separate business from personal, and there are many good reasons for this approach. However, there are notable skills and talents used in your personal life that are transferable to the workplace. For example, if you engage in team sports, use your team building skills and charisma to involve your colleagues in projects.
If you love to read fiction books, integrate the creativity of the stories to bend the thinking of traditional methods of operation. The possibilities are many. Business owners rely on all life experiences, directly or tangentially related, for the benefit of their enterprises.
3. Intrapreneurship is for all employment levels
If you think intrapreneurship is only for c-suite executives, think again. Intrapreneurship is for the mailroom to the boardroom. As noted in the definition, intrapreneurship is about being a self-starter. You do not need permission from anyone to be highly motivated. Just as all parts of our bodies have a function, so do all positions in an organization. Even if you feel your position has no purpose in your organization, make one. We all have to start somewhere in our entrepreneurial journeys, so start right now, where you are.
4. Experiencing failure is inevitable. Move forward anyway.
All of us will experience failure at some point and multiple times as well. Failure will happen regardless if you remain employed or set out on our own. Be bold enough to move forward with establishing your voice and your place anyway. Business and life are about forward movement. Decide now what next step you will take if you fail. There is always a path forward. Get used to the possibility of your ideas being rejected and your designs being flawed now, so when you are a full-time entrepreneur, you will know how to advance.
Whether you are at the infancy stages of developing your own business, currently self-employed or even wish to remain an employee, establishing yourself as an initiator and innovator can reap many benefits for you and your company. That is the beauty of it.
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