Entrepreneurs – Want To Start A Business But Not Sure What Type?
Many entrepreneurs get that itch to start a new business, either because they are fed up being “wage slaves” or they like the freedom that working for yourself can bring. Some even think that they will be richer or have more spare time. Many are not sure what kind of business they want.
First of all – never start a new business because you want more money or more time. Starting a new business takes both lots of time and most, if not all, of your money.
Secondly don’t fall into the trap of starting a business just for the sake of it. Make sure that someone wants what you are aiming to sell! Your fruit cakes, tattoos or begonias may be the best in the area but if no one wants them – then you are going to be going bust very soon.
So how do you find out what kind of things you are going to sell?
1) Look at the type of area that you want to set up your business. A majority of aged clients is not going to be keen to have tattoos but might love your cakes!
2) Look at the other businesses selling in your area. Whilst it is sometimes good to group some businesses together such as car sales – make sure there is enough people left who may buy from you. Similarly if there is a successful company that is not coping – maybe you can inherit some of their clients?
3) Look for gaps in the market. Are their complimentary businesses close by who you can join in with to share customers? Is the market just crying out for a particular product of service.
4) Most importantly go and ask people. Give talks at clubs about your subject and see what kind of reception you get. Hold a competition for the best ideas etc.
Good luck in obtaining a firm foundation for your new business.
My husband and I work together on cutting wood for our heat source for the winter months. I enjoy helping him as much as he enjoys the help. I am an entrepreneur and he is a man who enjoys the comforts of a 9 to 5 job. Both of us take pleasure in being out doors in nature. It may be the only thing we have been on the same page about during our 20+ years of marriage.
One particularly nice morning my husband asked me to go into the woods to collect the logs he just finished cutting. I joyfully agreed but when I got out there he was already returning to the house to tune up his chain saw. "No problem", I thought, "I'll just keep busy until he comes back."
As I looked around the parameter of the forest I couldn't see the log he said he had cut up. Going deeper into the thicket of tall brier's and spindly trees, my clothes were being pulled and torn, thorns were cutting my shins and my unhealed broken ankle began to throb from stepping into holes.
I eventually found the log he had cut up and looked around for a better path to get back to the road. "Surely he cut one for me." I thought. "We just discussed this yesterday. Does he really expect me to lug this hard wood such a distance with a hurt foot and without a path?" Within seconds of looking around it became obvious there was no path to get back to the road besides the trail I had just made.
By the time I had taken out two arm loads of wood, I felt beat up, my skin was torn up and I was totally focused on my husbands lack of consideration. "This is how he does everything!" I exclaimed exasperated. "He needs to understand that the way you do anything is the way you'll do everything and this is why we're never on the same page!"
By the time he returned I had spewed all the negative thoughts in to the wind and I couldn't speak. I no longer wanted to lay into him because I knew my thoughts had shifted to an epiphany. I realized the truth. In the years I've wanted him to be involved in my business, I had never once made a clear path for him either. I want him to enjoy helping me in my business, but I have never actually shown him the possibilities of how it could be done. How would he know what the joys or pitfalls could be unless I cut a clear path for him to?
I used this wood cutting experience because as entrepreneurs its important that we allow our spouses paths to be easier to journey through. If you desire to be on the same page then ask yourself one simple question: If I could cut a path for my spouse to understand my work, what would that path look like? If you really give this some thought I think you will find ideas you've never thought about before.
Entrepreneurial Failure - Get Used To It
Starting a business and becoming successful is often part of the American Dream. But there is a difference between starting a business and building a successful business. Many businesses fail within the first few years of existence due to the lack of planning for the long-term. There is not enough vision and there is not enough done to strengthen the business properly from the ground up.
If you want to start a business there is an easy way to get a better understanding of why some businesses fail and others don't. When starting a business think about it similar to building a house. If done right it is protecting you against any kind of storm or danger of the outside world and will last for a long time. It offers shelter and protection. For you and your business that could be translated to that you want to have a business that is able to weather economical ups and downs (=storm) and that will provide income to pay the bills (shelter and protection).
When building a house there are several different steps you need to follow to have the house build. You know you want a house, but you got to pick a location and get an architect to plan everything out. In the business world that would be: you know you want to start a business, but you have to come up with a business idea and work out a business plan. The next thing for the house would be to build the foundation (and eventually the basement) for the house. In the business world - you got to build the initial infrastructure (example: connecting with vendors, find a manufacturer for your product, create a sales team, rent office space, get a delivery truck, etc.). Once that is in place you able to actually do business and earn some money. But you are not completely done yet. You need to build a frame, put in windows and you also need a roof on house. For your business this means that you pay off debt, improve business processes and get professional help when needed (example: find a tax accountant, select a payroll service, etc.).
Once the house is build you probably want to fill it with furniture and make it livable for the future. Nobody wants to sleep on the floor, right. Again translating this to the business world it could mean that you invest money you earned back into your business. You buy machinery instead of leasing it. Eventually you buy a building, hire more staff, develop more products, move into new markets, build up a high cash reserve, and buy other businesses and so forth. This is often the step where winners and losers separate. Re-investing money into the business is a key factor for success. If you go and spend all the money on your own salary to buy things you have nothing to go back to when the economy slips into a recession or if disaster strikes.
The successful business owner has build up a cash reserve or can borrow money from bank – securing loans with the assets of the business. Going back to building a house this pretty much matches the same efforts. You pay off your mortgage and have equity available to eventually borrow against when emergency arises. Emergencies do not include paying off credit cards to use them again or to buy a car. Financially responsible you should be looking at the long term and not finance short-term goods with long-term debt.
Entrepreneurs - Recession-Proof Your Business Success
Successful Entrepreneurs Are...
They see beyond obstacles. They focus on possibilities rather than
dwelling on limitations.
We hear many stories of men and women who have created great
enterprises from ideas others had rejected or said will never work. We are
inspired the most by stories of those who succeeded against all odds. As
an entrepreneur, you have the need to create, to start something that never
was or to improve upon an exciting product or concept. To bring forth
something new does not come without challenges.
Choose not to dwell on what you don’t have (lack of money, time, support
or other resources). Make a choice to focus on what needs to be done to
manifest your idea and then make it happen! No more excuses! Stop
blaming others, your circumstances or yourself for why things don’t turn
out as you thought they would. When we choose to focus on abundance
rather than lack, we harness the power to create and attract what we need
to achieve success. Those with sight see what is, but those with vision see
what can be. What are the possibilities in your life, what are the
possibilities for your business?
They plan well, and execute effectively.
Sun Tzu, in his book, “The Art of War” he wrote, “the art of war is a
matter of life and death, a road to either safety or to ruin. The art of war is
governed by five critical factors. These are the way, the weather, the
terrain, the leadership and the discipline." Without a solid business
strategy, you become, by default, reactive rather than proactive. Reactive
businesses cannot grow into sustainable and competitive enterprises
because there is no roadmap to do so. Sun Tzu's five critical factors apply to contemporary business strategy as much as they do to historical military operations. To drive your business
using the art of strategy, it is essential to establish or clarify the overall
vision and goals of the organization (the way); understand the operating
environment facing the business (the terrain); develop objectives and
specific strategies for the organization to address (the weather); ensure
strong management to guide and motivate staff and to implement the
strategies in a timely manner (the leadership); and develop a robust
organizational structure, effective supply chain management and ensure
that performance is monitored against the stated objectives (the
Entrepreneurs often have great ideas, but in a zest to make it a reality, fail
to plan properly. This failure to plan can sink even the best of ideas.
Address the 5 critical factors as soon as possible by creating your strategic
plan if you haven’t already done so. If you have already created your
strategic plan, it doesn’t hurt to give it the once over to ensure all the
critical factors have been addressed.
3. Problem - Solvers
They see a problem as an opportunity for growth and strategically seek
Are you solutions-oriented? How do you react when faced with a business
problem? Problems are just opportunities for growth and development in
disguise. Problems test you; they challenge you to change the way that
you think. There are thousands, if not millions of great inventions born
from perceived problems or accidents.
George de Mestral, a Swiss engineer, returned from a walk one day in
1948 and found some cockleburs clinging to his cloth jacket. When de
Mestral loosened them, he examined one under his microscope. The
cocklebur is a maze of thin strands with burrs (or hooks) on the ends that
cling to fabrics or animal fur. By the accident of the cockleburs sticking to
his jacket, George de Mestral recognized the potential for a practical new
fastener. It took eight years to experiment, develop, and perfect the
invention, which consists of two strips of nylon fabric. VELCRO, the
name de Mestral gave his product, is the brand most people in the United
States know. It is strong, easily separated, lightweight, durable, and
washable, comes in a variety of colors, and won’t jam.2
Learn from George. Begin to look forward to your next problem; if you
look carefully enough, it may be a great blessing in disguise. What
creative and/or strategic solutions can you come up with and implement?
4. Risk -Takers
They are not afraid to challenge the status quo nor, are they afraid to take
the road less traveled.
The great people of this world are not the ones who did what had always
been done, they are the ones who stood up and said, “how I can do this
differently”? Great people are bold, they dare to dream, and they are
courageous in their endeavors. Little people are timid; they are scared to
dream and to avoid disappointment they refrain from great endeavors. It is
better to try and risk not reaching the desired end, than never to try and
never know what could have been. The level of success you may desire to
achieve may not have been paved by any before you. You may not be only
taking the road less traveled, but a road never traveled.
In order to succeed, sometimes you have to break the cycle of what
everyone says is fact and believe in what you know to be true. Christopher
Columbus knew the truth that the world was round even when the facts of
his age said it was flat. What would have happened if Columbus accepted
the norm and didn’t challenge the status quo? This is not to say do not
heed good advice, as a matter of fact it is wise to seek good counsel. But
there are times when we have to make choices, small ones and big ones
alike that are contrary to popular opinion. These are the times when you
must separate the facts from the truth. The fact may be that you have a
great business idea, but no money to get it off the ground; however, the
truth is that you live surrounded by an abundance of all you need to get
your business off the ground but you have to learn how to tap into it. This
is where you must be creative, do something that you have never done
before; boldly seek partnerships, mentors and coaches to help you. Are
you afraid to take bold risks? Will you be content with playing it safe and
spending the rest of your life wondering what could have been?
They realize serving precedes leading.
A servant leader does not just focus on the bottom line but focuses on how
she can be of service to others. A servant leadership model is an inverted
pyramid in which the president of an organization is at the lowest point of
the triangle and the customer is at the broadest edge as opposed to your
traditional leader on top of the organization model.
Robert Greenleaf is credited with the term servant leader. In his book,
Servant Leadership, Greenleaf noticed that the most successful
managers led in a very different way - they led through service rather than
through positional authority.
Resolve today that your leadership, as an entrepreneur, is not purely self-
satisifying and profit motivating. Leadership is not about control and
manipulation, as it is only in service that one becomes great. Resolve to
be of service to your employees, shareholders, clients, suppliers and all
those you come in contact with.
If you are interested in learning more about servant leadership many
universities even community programs offer courses on the subject.
It is a worthwhile investment.
They don't quit. Instead, they fail forward to success.
Your first business venture may not work out as planned. Maybe neither
will your second venture or third. It is important to know that because
things don’t always turn out as planned, it does not mean you are a failure.
Your business may have failed, but you have not! Smart entrepreneurs
learn from what didn’t work instead of throwing in the towel all together.
Robert Kiyosaki actually said in one of his books that, unlike employees
entrepreneurs get paid to fail. What a strange statement, but it is true!
Entrepreneurs learn something valuable every time things go awry. As
humans we are programmed to learn by our mistakes more than our
successes. Did you know how to ride a bike the first time you got on one?
Could you use chopsticks as effortlessly as you can now? No! You learned
from your mistakes and eventually, you got it right.
By giving up, you throw away the opportunity to ever succeed. Every
time you stumble or fall in your entrepreneurial undertakings, rejoice, as
you are one step closer to success! You may have to change what you are
doing slightly or dramatically but whatever you do, don't quit!
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