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How To Succeed As An Entrepreneur: A Guide

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleOwning your own business is a huge accomplishment and one that you should be very proud of. However, it’s important to realize that your journey is just beginning and now it’s up to you to navigate the business landscape properly so you can become a successful and thriving entrepreneur.

Learn from your past mistakes and also be prepared to take on experiences that may be novel to you. You can have a great business idea, product or strategy but you’ll likely struggle to make it big unless you’re prepared to put forth an extra effort and focus on a few important initiatives. Use the following ideas to help you find future success so you can have a more enjoyable experience growing your business.

Follow A Business Plan

It’s in your best interest to have a roadmap in place for where you’re heading now and in the future. Document and follow a business plan that specifies your goals and details about how you’re going to go about achieving each one. You’ll better succeed as an entrepreneur when you’re focused on a couple of critical matters instead of trying to spread yourself too thin. Take your time with this project and put a lot of thought behind it so you can make your job easier going forward. Remain flexible and be willing to adjust as you go if you find yourself needing to adapt to a changing industry or business environment. Without one, you’ll likely quickly feel lost and won’t be able to guide or lead others in a clear and concise manner.

Make Wise Financial Decisions

You’ll have a better chance of succeeding as an entrepreneur when you make wise financial decisions. This includes both on a professional and personal level so that you’re consistent and well-rounded in this area. One idea is to subscribe to a related newsletter and follow topics such as money morning so you can gather tips and advice from the experts. Take notes about what you find the most helpful and start coming up with strategies you want to follow so you can be more secure and stable financially. You’ll not only want to know how best to invest your money, but also how to create and follow budgets and keep your business in the green even when money is tight.

Build A Network of Contacts & Supporters

Although you’re an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean you have to tackle this endeavor all by yourself or feel like you’re alone in this journey. You’ll be more successful in your role when you put your time and energy into building a network of contacts and supporters. Use these people to bounce ideas off of and as a crutch when you’re feeling lost or don’t know where to turn. Put yourself out there constantly by attending networking events and conferences and getting more involved in your community. Follow up with the individuals who you meet so you can reintroduce yourself and stay in touch in the future. It’s also a wise idea to find a business mentor who’s been in your position before and can assist you and offer up sound advice when you’re experiencing any setbacks or struggles.

Encourage Team Culture

As your business grows and expands, you’re going to need to hire people to help you run your company and meet your goals. What will allow you to succeed in your position as a business owner is to hire talented employees who will get the job done right, offer up new ideas and listen. You’ll want to think about how you can encourage a team culture where people are working together to solve problems and get ahead as a group. It’ll be a much more pleasant office environment for everyone when staff members are collaborating and you focus on breaking down silos between departments. Hold regular team and brainstorming meetings to help you accomplish this objective and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Work Hard

The reality is that although being an entrepreneur sounds fun and appealing, it’s a tough job with a lot of responsibility. The whole future of the company depends on your ability to move the needle forward in a positive direction and create a business that’s prepared to go places and experience new heights of success. You’re not going to be able to get the job done sitting back and waiting for the people around you to pick up your slack. You need to be a good leader and have policies and procedures in place for how your employees can get their work done the most efficiently. You also have to be willing to take care of yourself so that you’re healthy enough to run a business and work long hours when necessary.

Focus on Time Management

Another way to succeed as an entrepreneur is to focus on having solid time management skills. You’re going to be pulled in a lot of different directions as a business owner and will need to know how and when to say no to others. Keep a calendar, hire an assistant and create to-do lists so you can get what’s most important done first each day. Remember that your time, especially as a business owner, is precious and you don’t have a lot of it to waste. Set your priorities straight and have strategies in place that work for you and allow you to get through your tasks in a timely manner. Also, learn how to delegate and ask your employees to pitch in and help you when it makes sense. You’ll feel a lot more in control of your business when you’re in control of the clock and your schedule.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t an easy job and will take a lot of extra effort on your part if you want it to be a rewarding experience for you. Use these ideas to help you succeed in your role and build a company that’s going to be around for the long-term. Enjoy the process of watching yourself grow and mature into a reputable business owner as time goes on.

Upping Your Game If Your Business Is Under Strain

All businesses hit rough patches. Of course, the problems really start when you struggle to get yourself out of that rough patch. Perhaps your business has been under strain for a while. Maybe you’re just not seeing the sales that you used to see. There are so many reasons as to why this might be the case, but the issues are often minor and easily fixed if you’re determined and motivated enough to fix them. Let’s talk about upping your business game to help relieve some of the strain.

Always head back to the drawing board.

Obviously, the advice in this article might help inspire you to get your business back on its feet. The suggestions might just steer you in new directions that help you to resolve issues within your company. However, you need to take the initiative. You need to head back to the drawing board on a frequent basis. When it comes to creating a successful business, your work is never done. The market is always changing, and you need to constantly work towards adapting your company in order to survive those changes. That’s why you shouldn’t wait for things to start going wrong before you make changes to your business; you should regularly return to the drawing board and ask yourself whether improvements need to be made.

Of course, it can be hard to keep up with consumers, competitors, and the market as a whole. You might forever feel as if your business is playing catch-up just to remain modern and relevant. The key is to create an effective business that works so smoothly that returning to the drawing board is a formality more than anything. You don’t want to have to spend hours, days, or weeks trying to pinpoint issues with sales, for example. You might want to look into some of the advanced ecommerce systems on the market because they could help you assess your business’ sales on a real-time basis. Having constant access to research and information will ensure that your company can make instant decisions regarding improvements to its structure. Heading back to the drawing board will become a straightforward and painless process.

Tidy up your promotional efforts.

If you’ve worked hard to deliver a product or service that’s just as good (if not better) than the competition then you might want to consider that your business is suffering for other reasons. Most commonly, poor promotional efforts are the reason for a company’s failure to secure potential customers. You need to tidy up your marketing strategy. Work on building your online presence if you want to up your game and compete with other businesses on the market. You need to improve the content on your website and social media profiles; the more relevant they are to search engines, the higher you’ll show up on result pages. Do some research into SEO if you feel out of your depth.

Incentivize your employees.

As a final piece of advice, the best way to up your game if it’s under strain is to increase your business’ productivity. Motivated staff can completely turn things around for a struggling company. So often, the problem is that the workforce isn’t incentivized to go the extra mile. You have to give them a reason to do so. Perhaps you could offer perks and rewards such as bonuses or free lunches for the hardest workers every week or every day. Do something that proves how much you value your employees.

Business Owners: Are You Guilty Of Negligence?…

If you’ve recently started a business, I’m sure you’re quickly discovering just how much goes into making it a success. Your big idea is just the start of it. From there, you need to think about your HR, marketing, IT infrastructure and a whole host of other factors. With so much going on, it’s essential to make sure you don’t neglect anything important. Here are some things that you simply can’t afford to neglect…

Office Data Backup

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
Photo courtesy of Torkild Retvedt via flickr

Office data backup is something that you’ll hopefully never have to use, but you’ll be glad you have it if and when the need arises. Backing up your office data is a great insurance policy against the unexpected. Files can be wiped from your servers, sabotaged by a disgruntled employee, or some kind of freak disaster could damage the servers beyond repair. By regularly backing up all your company’s important data, you’ll be able to get the company up and running again soon afterwards. Despite the massive importance of backing up, a lot of small businesses manage to overlook it completely. If you haven’t already, take a look at your options and set up a dependable system for backing up your files.

The Employee Handbook

Neglecting this part of your business is usually a side-effect of rapid growth. In the early days of your business, when there’s only you and a few employees, any kind of solid HR policies aren’t really that necessary. However, when your business starts to grow and develop as an organization, you’ll need to take on a lot more staff. This means you’re going to need some solid rules in place. A good employee handbook will introduce new recruits to the company’s core values, mission and culture, will tell them what’s expected of them, but most importantly, it will tell them what’s permissible and what’s not. By taking the time to draft an employee handbook, you’ll protect yourself from all kinds of costly litigation and disputes. Whether you do it all on your own steam or reach out to an employment law firm like Ellis Whittam, an employee handbook is an absolute must. Just a few printed words can make all the difference to your company’s future!

A Good CRM

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay

CRMs, short for customer relationship management platforms, are great tools for managing your company’s interactions with both current and prospective customers. With one of these in place, your company will enjoy better workflow, will be able to automate various tasks, increase the number of sales leads you’re getting and generally increase productivity. Although these auxiliary programs were once considered a luxury, an increasing number of firms are using them, and they’re quickly becoming something of an essential resource for any modern business. Despite what you may have been led to believe, CRMs aren’t exclusive to big businesses anymore, and the packages on the market are getting more and more cost-effective all the time.

As you move forward with your business, make sure you’re not neglecting any of these and holding your firm back from what it can achieve!

The Future Of Your Business Is Now

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Photo courtesy of Pexels

One of the hardest things any business owner is faced with is the task of keeping their business up to date with all the latest technologies. This doesn’t mean you need to have office chairs that have in-built keyboards and fridges integrated into the armrests or anything. But it does mean you need to be abreast of what technology will help your business boom. It may be that your business isn’t interested in having the latest tablet that has all the design features a graphic artist could possibly want because you own a bakery, or an old school sweetie shop. But there is still software that will make your life easier, and your customer’s experience better.

As such, we have compiled a list of tech that will bring your company up to speed with what is on offer. We will bring your business into the 21st Century.

Accepting Payment

Cash is pretty much a thing of the past. Barely anyone carries cash anymore and certainly not Millenials. It’s all about the card these days. Everyone puts everything on cards. May be it is to do with ease, maybe they don’t see it as departing with cash in the same way handing over notes. Whatever the case, your business needs a credit card reader. In addition to this, it’s all about contactless payments too. The tap and go. The ease of it all. Something that has seen a rise in payments through people smartphones.

Slick Websites

No business can hope to succeed without a slick website. A website is the first impression people will get from your business, whatever that is, because once they hear your name that’s the first thing they’ll do. They’ll check out your website. They may even just stumble across it. As such, you need something that is going to be representative of your brand and provide them with all the information they could possibly want from you. It doesn’t matter if you are a plumber, copywriter, IT support company or into digital learning; a website is your best chance at being found and hired.

Blogging

A website is good, but without a decent SEO strategy you may not get discovered. That’s where blogging comes in. Blogging is the most effective way of improving your hopes of getting found on search engines. The best way to do this is to add links to your other blog posts as well as external sources, while always considering what keywords search engines may pick up on. Another great tactic is to link your blog to your social media pages as well, so that every time you post, your social media gets updated too. This will also improve your chances of being shared online, thus bringing in more viewers. The most epic thing that could happen on this front is for something of yours to go viral. How incredible would it be to wake up one day and see that 100,000 people ha liked a blog post that links back to your website and thus your business. Amazing.

9 Keys to Success Strategy Guide

1. Start with a Clear Purpose.

Successful entrepreneurs are driven by a purpose bigger than themselves. While they realize they need to make money to be sustainable, none of the 100 entrepreneurs we interviewed mentioned money as a primary driver. It is not what motivates them. Instead, they want to do something they are passionate about, solve a problem that intrigues them, create jobs in their town, provide phenomenal customer service, and change the world in their own way.

2. Build on What You Know.

Successful entrepreneurs build companies in industries they understand. About one-third of the entrepreneurs we interviewed worked in the industry in which they started their business. Another third had worked in a related industry. The remaining third were serious and frequent users of the products, so they understood the industry from the customer’s perspective. The better you know your industry, the greater your chances for success.

3. Launch Opportunities Not Ideas.

Ideas and business opportunities are not the same thing. Our business failure rate is high because people launch ideas. A true business opportunity meets the conditions of the NERCM test: (1) Need, (2) Experience, (3) Resources, (4) Customers, and (5) Model. Your chances for success go up significantly when you prove there is a need for your product, you have adequate experience, you bring together sufficient resources, you have customers committed to buy, and your business model is sound.

4. Develop Your Supporting Cast.

Successful entrepreneurs thrive on the experience of others. They recruit talented individuals to fill in the gaps in their skill set. They build teamwork at three levels: (1) they create a “Brain Trust” of mentors with expertise they need, (2) they build a core team of partners who join them in the venture, and (3) they develop strategic partnerships with individuals and companies who can help them grow their business. Talented teams can go further and faster than any individual working alone.

5.Maximize All Available Resources.

Effectiveness is achieving important company objectives. Efficiency is doing it with as few resources as possible. Successful entrepreneurs are masters of efficiency – they have a real knack for finding and utilizing a host of resources other than money. They borrow rather than buy, defer compensation, partner with their first customers, negotiate excellent terms with suppliers, and use someone else’s plant rather than build one – they think resources first, cash second.

6. Work with a Zealous Tenacity.

Successful entrepreneurs are high energy people. They have two related and vital qualities: (1) a tremendous zeal for their business, and (2) a dogged tenacity to win. Zeal is the fire that fuels the venture, and tenacity is the trait that produces the results. These two qualities combined get you through the challenges of building a business and dramatically increase your chances for success.

7. Build a Community of Raving Fans.

Customers approach companies with preconceived notions of how they should be treated. If their expectations are met, they are basically satisfied. The problem is, satisfied customers are not always loyal customers – they will patronize competitors’ businesses as well. Giving customers more than they expect to receive will set you apart from your competitors and help you create a community of raving fans that love your business.

8. Pivot to Multiple Revenue Streams

Winning entrepreneurs continue to seek out and develop multiple streams of revenue. They do this by (1) offering related products to their growing customer base, (2) finding new markets for their growing product line, and (3) utilizing their growing resources to create new ventures. Over time, they end up juggling a reasonable number of projects in the same or related industries. Having multiple revenue streams reduces the vulnerability of a single product line, and increases the chances for long-term success.

9. Serve Your Broader Community

Successful entrepreneurs are intimately involved in the fabric of their communities. They are using their resources to assist individuals and organizations that need their skills, experience and expertise. They are addressing issues in education, literacy, health care, and the environment. Their communities end up saying, “This business supports us, so let’s support this business,” even though this was not the original intent of the service offered. Serving communities is good for everyone.


About the Author

Mike GlauserMike Glauser is an entrepreneur, business consultant and university professor who has built successful companies in the retail, wholesale, and consulting industries. His passion is helping people create successful businesses, gain financial freedom, and live the life of their dreams. His latest book, Main Street Entrepreneur: Build Your Dream Company Doing What You Love Where You Live (Entrepreneur Press), is a roadmap for doing exactly that. Learn more about Mike at: www.mikeglauser.com.