The world of entrepreneurship is filled with thoughts of being able to afford the life of your dreams, getting paid well and having freedom that you just would never get from a regular job. It is exciting and prestigious all at once. Nowadays there is much talk about becoming an expert or turning what you know into cash. Just find a niche and in a short space of time you will be known in that industry for the service you provide.
Based on this information you might think that all you had to do was launch your service business and watch as people beat a path to your door to buy from you especially since there’s nothing else like it in the market place.
Not necessarily. If you’re filling a true gap in the market, it might be true. But if your service doesn’t already exist, there might be a good reason for it… no demand. You must realize that if there is no demand for your product or service, you won’t have any buyers. Entrepreneurship is not a case of “build it and they will come.” No matter how passionate you are about your idea, the market decides what sells, not you.
Having said that here are a couple of things that you need to keep at the top of your mind, as you seek to build on your desire and idea for a business:
Your business is much more than a money-making venture. There is a larger purpose calling you forward and that deserves to be front and centre in everything you do. Your own priorities and values must take precedence as you set forth on the path so you don’t lose yourself and what matters most in the process of making a difference in the lives of others.
When a business establishes its values and I’m not talking pull something from a book that sounds good – I mean when an owner really examines and comes up with his core values then you are better able to hire staff as well as have a raison d’etre for firing. Your values form the foundation of your culture. If you don’t establish your culture then others being hired in will and most times it will not be the one you want. So first things first: determine your core values.
Everything you offer is an extension of the impact you want to create. And as a result, you need a business model that is as distinctive as you are. That requires a dose of innovation. That doesn’t mean you combine tried and true with a little bit of new. But it does mean that your business model needs to reflect the unique path you lead your clients through and be designed to support your lifestyle choices as well. What everyone else is doing most likely won’t work for you. And trying to stay in the ‘right’ lane with everyone else just serves to limit your growth and box you in.
One of the obstacles that can slow you down is the desire to ‘get things right’. Because that desire leads to looking around at what everyone else is doing (assuming they are doing it right!) and measuring or modelling what you see.
As you set out to grow your business you’ll need to be both effective and energized. That means you need to create the freedom and flexibility you require—as the leader of your business—to be at your best. Your creativity, your ability to serve at the highest level, your ability to do great work and make great money are all directly related to your energy. If you energy is drained, so will be your creativity, effectiveness and your bank account.
Do more of what energizes you. Eliminate tolerations, drains, and strains. Accept and receive help from others. Set up systems and processes to streamline and simplify things in your life and business so you stay focused on mission critical priorities and plans. You’ll get more done, make better decisions, enjoy your life more and create massive momentum with a healthy reserve of energy fuelling you along the path.
If you’ve been sitting on the entrepreneurial sidelines for long, you may be sold on the “do what you love” bandwagon. I’m all for having a passion for what you do, but only to a point. “Doing what you love” can be a big mistake unless you keep it within certain guidelines.
If you’re tempted to start a business in a field you have never worked in, be aware that much of what you do in the beginning will likely be wrong. Ask yourself if you have the resources – human, capital and emotional – to push the business forward after you suffer from your mistakes.
There’s no better foundation than building on what you know. You might be drawn to the rush of something new and exciting, but your chances of success decrease with every step you take away from what you’re familiar with.
So if you want to be an entrepreneur, I say go for it. But do your homework, establish your core values, understand your brand, protect your energy and build on what you know.
3 thoughts on “So You Want to be an Entrepreneur”
Great article Gis! My experience with entrepreneurs shows that if you don’t know how to sell then you will limit your success. Invest in a solid sales channel, hire sales people or learn to sell. The best entrepreneurs learnt that early and used their sales skills. Examples include Richard Branson (Virgin), Anita Roddick (Body Shop), Paul J Meyer (SMI)….
So very true, great post
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