Tips for entrepreneurs

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The world is your oyster but choose carefully one market at a time.

 

Don’t be afraid to generate mistakes to move forward.

The failure rate for new businesses is still very high. However, common misperceptions about the level of business failure and the chances of survival may lead some entrepreneurs to overestimate the risk of failure, reducing their willingness to commence a new business.

Business failures can be broadly categorised into those that go bankrupt, those that are sold and those that are rolled into a more suitable vehicle or another enterprise.

Sometimes there are no answers, but hopefully, these tips will give you some early warning signs that may save you some failures. There is no doubt doing a ‘Premortem will help to avoid a ‘post-mortem’. You need to know exactly what is happening to you and what you can do to avoid making the same mistakes I made?

Find your ‘why’

Clarify your strategic direction, your purpose, your vision, mission, values, objectives, strategies and actions. The more people you inspire with your why, the more people will be inspired and help you.

Your ‘why’ is the purpose behind your actions and will give you your primary motivation and if you haven’t asked and answered the question, you will always be at a disadvantage when you face competition who have answered it. 

Become action orientated

Take the luck out of your life by keeping in mind without actions nothing happens.

People in successful businesses share one quality, they are people of action and get things done. This ability to be able to do this is more important than brainpower, skills, and your network in determining the success of the business. The best time to start was last year, the next best time is now, so get your to-do-list started now before you do anything else.

Acquire adequate working capital

The first step is to prepare accurate and up to date financial statements. Using these statements, you should work on the preparation of a realistic business plan and meaningful budgets. There is a need to be fully informed and to look at your position objectively.

A business that is not profitable may survive on injections of funds, but eventually, those funds have to run out. Some businesses simply do not have a large enough profitable market or an appropriate business model to survive, regardless of any actions taken, or capital invested. Sometimes the business just won’t work despite the effort and money put into it, simply because you do not have sufficient working capital to properly carry out the fundamental functions.

Every business has different working capital requirements at different stages of development so it will pay to find out the benchmarks for your type of business.

Face the problems

Business decisions are made by people, so to start the problem-solving process, admit there is a problem, make the tough decisions and be willing to take corrective action. Many will not do it in time to make a difference and time is usually critical. Those who make the tough decisions will generally achieve a much better outcome.

“Our thoughts, deeds, and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy”. Florence Shinn

Put your wants and needs first

The most painful thing is losing sight of yourself in the process of building a business and forgetting your own wants and needs. If there was ever a time to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, the time is now. If you don’t look after your wants and needs first, then you probably won’t have the resources or motivation to look after others.

Start with the end in mind and then work backwards, take actions every day that is focused on the outcomes you want. Focus on identifying what is ‘mission critical’ and avoid unnecessary distractions from others trying to get a piece of you.

Wasting time with the wrong people

Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the energy out of you. Surround yourself with good positive enthusiastic people so there is no room left for negative people.

It’s not the people who stand by your side when you’re succeeding, but those who stand beside you when you’re struggling that are important.

Never drop your standards

Never lower your standards or compromise your principles and values to those who refuse to accept you and your ideas. Never let anyone bring you down or cause you to abandon your purpose or passion. Sometimes you may need to distance yourself from others to see them clearly for what they really are.

When a person habitually says things to put you or your ideas down, who regularly seeks to diminish the fact you are an entrepreneur, it can hurt and even cause you to abandon your vision. You can’t change their thinking and there’s no way you should suffer because someone doesn’t get it. Working away can often be your best option.

Recharge your batteries

If you are like me then you would like to keep going 24/7 without a break, but you run the risk of burnout or other medical problems that could stop your progress in its tracks. Your body gives you a lot of cues which you are probably ignoring because your mind is so focused on your business.

Your internal battery needs to be recharged on a regular basis. You can’t continue at break-neck speed, expect to stay healthy and keep reaching your goals. The hard part is making your recharge a daily habit, whether it is exercise, short breaks or meditation.

Recharging your batteries means creating good work habits that will sustain you and will fit into your busy schedule. You don’t want to be worried about burnout.

Develop strategies for overcoming resistance

As an entrepreneur, you will always be introducing new ideas and changes and unfortunately, people generally resistant any change.

It is people’s collection of deep-seated beliefs and assumptions that create their view of the world and often they can be so deep-seated that we don’t realise they are in play. When faced with evidence that conflicts with their beliefs, they tend to look for faults in the proposed change rather than the benefits it can offer; is the glass half full or half empty.

We are all faced with resistance at one time or another and sometimes this is hard to overcome, particularly when it comes to conflicting values and people’s performance.

As a starting point, identify where and who the resistance is coming from and develop strategies to overcome it. Some strategies might include:

  • Taking time to understand possible resistance and its root cause.
  • Tuning into people’s wants and needs along with their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Paying attention to the need to continue with your proposal.
  • Implementing a change management process and walk the talk.
  • Never fall for ‘it’s quicker to do it myself’.

Be like ‘The Gambler’

To leave you with an inspiration, I turn to the song lyrics of Kenny Roger’s famous song ‘The Gambler’. The words of this song have inspired me as an entrepreneur and they contain some great advice for living in general.

“You got to know when to hold `em, know when to fold `em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you`re sittin` at the table.
There`ll be time enough for countin` when the dealing’s done.

Ev`ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin
Is knowin` what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
`Cause ev`ry hand`s a winner and ev`ry hand`s a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.”

[read more=”Personal Experience” less=”Personal Experience”]

Personal Experience:

Perfectionists don’t win. I was a perfectionist, everything had to have a place and be in its place, but in the real world, people who get things done are rewarded, not perfectionists. Perfectionists like people who are to slapdash run the risk of burnout.

I used to delay and procrastinate over getting very detail perfect but, in most cases, the outcomes were not any more significant, certainly not enough to justify the extra time and resources expended.

You need to make your businesses, projects, problems and outcomes so interesting and useful, that everyone will want to become involved and help you. Many hands make like work and you’re more likely to get a desirable level of perfection when you involve others.

Grow some tomatoes. I recently started growing tomatoes in my backyard because I wanted tomatoes that were flavoursome not the tasteless ones that are common place these days. I also wanted something that would improve the quality of my cooking and would be appreciated by our friends.

While I was tending my tomatoes I got to thinking that the processes involved were not unlike starting and growing a good business.

Plant good seeds, identify the most promising plants, nurture only the tomatoes with the best flavour and cut off the vine with the poor performing tomatoes, so the good tomatoes could get maximum nourishment.

I didn’t want any tomato plants taking up valuable space in my garden and not producing the goods. My family often said I didn’t  have the time to start growing vegetables, but as an entrepreneur, I made the time to do what I wanted and follow one of my passions.

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