(Becoming the Entrepreneur Series – Part 2 of 3)
It’s a fact; entrepreneurship is on the rise with 31 out of 10,000 people in the U.S. opening a new business every year. That’s approximately 530 thousand businesses are opening per month! To be an entrepreneur is very exciting and the opportunity to live a life of financial freedom and nobody to answer to. However, with 8 out of 10 new businesses failing within the first 18 months, it’s important to have a plan before jumping head-first into the deep end. This statistic is not meant to dishearten or dissuade you from becoming an entrepreneur, it’s quite the contrary. You can quickly become part of the 20% of successful entrepreneurs by applying yourself and all the principles utilized by many successful leaders before. Remember that “it’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard…is what makes it great.”
Here are five simple ways to help you succeed as an entrepreneur:
Find YOUR Value
Many entrepreneurs immediately jump in running at full-speed right out the gate. This passion and motivation is fantastic! Before exhausting all your energy, it’s important to find your value. Your value is what you bring to the industry that nobody else does. For example, let’s take a hair salon for instance. What would make this hair salon stand out as something different? Maybe it offers a complimentary chair massage for clients waiting for their appointments – anything that makes you and your business unique.
Know YOUR Market
The Denver-Metro area alone boasts home to more than 670 thousand people. Although you would love to serve that many customers, it’s unrealistic – and let’s face it, a large number of those people are not interested in your services or products. That’s okay! The idea here is to target those that ARE interested in what you have to offer. Again, let’s take the hair salon for our example. Knowing this salon is more of a full-service experience, with chair massages and a spa like atmosphere, they would not want to target people looking for a “quick” cut. Figure out your ideal customer age-group, interests, etc. With social media, it’s easier to determine client’s interests and narrow down your target market; you just need to do a little research.
Determine YOUR Business Model
Although it’s important to keep your thumb on the pulse of your “competitors” (similar businesses within your industry), it’s equally important to remember that your business needs to be unique. Taking your value and target market into consideration, what is your business model? Why should people come to your business instead of the other one down the street? By compiling a business model which incorporates everything from hours of operation to marketing to how you respond to customers, know how you want to conduct business. Your business model should be in alignment with why you started this business in the first place. Whether to help people or to offer a product/service that was not previously available. Once you have your business model, it’s important to use it, adjust it, and use it. This is your story, your business, make it count.
Communicate WITH Your Customers
When interacting with your customers, be sure to listen! Often times, we want so badly to get our product or services in the customer’s hands, that we aren’t really listening – we’re simply talking. It’s important to keep a dialogue going between you and your customers, not a monologue. A healthy business will be able and willing to shift demands and adjust their business model based on its customers. Without the customers, there is no business, plain and simple. Interact with your customers, get to know them, and create long-lasting loyal customers that truly value what you have to offer.
Be a LEADER
The leader’s job is to inspire and motivate. In his 1989 book “On Becoming a Leader,” Warren Bennis composed a list of the differences:
– The manager administers; the leader innovates.
– The manager is a copy; the leader is an original.
– The manager maintains; the leader develops.
– The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people.
– The manager relies on control; the leader inspires trust.
– The manager has a short-range view; the leader has a long-range perspective.
– The manager asks how and when; the leader asks what and why.
– The manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line; the leader’s eye is on the horizon.
– The manager imitates; the leader originates.
– The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.
– The manager is the classic good soldier; the leader is his or her own person.
– The manager does things right; the leader does the right thing.
Stay Tuned for Part 3 of 3 of Becoming the Entrepreneur: Shifting to an Entrepreneur Mind-Set
“To learn we need a certain degree of confidence, not too much and not too little. If we have too little, we think we can’t learn; if we have too much, we will think we don’t have to learn.”