"I wanted to be an editor or a journalist, I wasn't really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going" - Richard Branson.
In this article I explain why ANYONE starting a business needs to realise that s/he MUST become an entrepreneur in order to succeed. For many people this will require changes in spending habits, use of personal time, friendships kept- and most importantly THINKING HABITS !
I have written quite a number of experience based articles on entrepreneuring over the past two years or so. That's why I offer mostly brief pointers here - ending with links to other articles which provide more elaborate details for the reader who may be interested. My decision to write this article came as a result of the trend I have seen over the past five years in my interactions with various individuals and groups engaged in running businesses.
I have noticed that most of those I met rarely realised that they needed to adopt a mind set different from that with which they lived their “normal" routine lives prior to starting their businesses. Many people fail to understand that once you start ANY business venture, you need to adopt what is called an “entrepreneurial mind set" in order to increase your chances of successfully building that business to achieve sustainable long term profitability.
So what exactly is the entrepreneurial mind set I refer to ?
Maybe I should start with my personal definition of who an entrepreneur is.
"A strong-willed, independent minded person who ultimately achieves financial success and social recognition for providing a new - or better - product/service or way of doing things, that makes a positive difference in people's lives. A true entrepreneur, very often, will have just his/her idea and the desire to bring it to reality. Hence the saying that they create something new out of nothing, taking risks that threaten their very survival, but overcoming all odds via persistence, to do what most would have concluded to be impossible. " - Tayo K. Solagbade
Using the above definition, I will now outline specific bahavioural traits and thinking habits, that characterise most successful entrepreneurs. If you want to succeed in your business, developing the traits and adopting the habits is VERY likely to improve your chances of success significantly.
Therefore, to become an entrepreneur and make your business work better, you WILL:
1. Become A Self-Development/Continuous Improvement Student - Always Wanting MORE
True entrepreneurs NEVER stop trying to get better. That's why they tend to “drive" those that work for(or with) them to do more and get better day in, day out.
In your business you will - for instance - want to measure last month's performance and use that to set targets for the new month - which you will then challenge yourself and/or your team to work hard to achieve.
To get more, you will equip yourself by seeking out those you believe know more or who are doing better, and learning from them. You will also buy books and acquire any other resources/tools that you are convinced will help you improve.
2. Explore Ways To Spend Less MONEY - & TIME & EFFORT - To Make MORE Money(PLUS Rarely Accept That Anything Is “Impossible")
It might take time, or a change(s) in your adopted strategy before you can achieve your objective of doing MORE with LESS. BUT quite often, if you apply yourself intelligently and persist, you WILL achieve the goals you aim for.
For example, in your business, an important ingredient or input could suddenly become too expensive for you to use in your daily production without profit margin losses. Your efforts to adapt by experimenting with potential substitutes could make your workers, associates/partners call you “unrealistic".
If you work at it however, you just might achieve a breakthrough that would help not just YOU, but the entire industry. Remember that when everybody does the same thing in the same way, they are often likely to end up with the same results - repeatedly.
3. Learn From Your Mistakes & Avoid Repeating Them
Quite often, a person's ability to succeed in life depends on how well s/he uses the lessons learnt from past mistakes to guide future actions. In your business, paying careful attention to forecasting and proactive planning by leveraging the knowledge acquired from your past experiences, is likely to make your business run more smoothly.
So many risks and uncertainties plague the business environment out here. Your ability to speculate more accurately PLUS anticipate/plan to avert potential problems will help keep you in business, when many others are going under.
For instance, you might want to stay alert to sudden government policy changes (e. g. petrol price reviews - which have NEVER been downward!), market prices for your inputs/outputs, continuing availability of reliable outlets for your finished products and so on.
Doing so will ensure you stay in a position to quickly take decisions to mitigate what could be potentially negative impact of such unexpected developments.
4. ALWAYS Analyse Your Successes & Failures In Order To Become Better Able To Succeed
When things go right, many people simply rejoice in the moment and fail to take time to INVESTIGATE why they got it right. That's why when things go WRONG they often do not know where to look, what to look for AND most importantly WHAT TO DO!
In your business, a sound understanding of WHAT WORKS and what does not(and WHEN they work or do not work) will be crucial to your long term success.
By forming the habit of ALWAYS documenting what you did (or did NOT do) to get specific results you achieve in your business, you will gradually build what is called a “Knowledge Base"(KB). In future, you will be able to come up with effective problem solving remedies using the KB. It will also guide you in ensuring consistent output is achieved for longer periods of time.
To make the above possible however, you must entrench a strong record keeping culture amongst your operatives/workforce and in your business as a whole. Without this, you ability to analyse your successes and failures would be severely hampered.
5. Stay In Firm Control Of Your Business Spending
You are in business to make money PROFITABLY(I hope!). To do that, you have to control your spending, restricting it as much as possible to activities that you consider necessary and inevitable.
More importantly, doing your friends or relatives favours using funds meant for your business could set you up for a cash flow crunch when you least expect it. As much as possible, let the business take care of itself - making sure also to leave any extras that accrue to serve as a backup for “rainy day(s)".
6. Manage Your Friendships/Use Your Personal Time In A Way That Helps Your Business Prosper
You need to plan to spend quality time checking how your business is doing in all areas. This could be daily or weekly - I would suggest not at intervals longer than that. You will need to stay in close touch with happenings in the business so that you can take timely decisions to achieve optimal results.
Friends/relatives who keep you from doing this will rob you of the returns you hope to make from the business. You will need to make them understand that there are certain periods you have set aside for this purpose.
Better still(and if you think it appropriate), you could ask them to join you when you want to do it. That way you still get to do it - and spend time with them. Just be sure to maintain the required focus so you don't miss important signs or trends.
What is imperative is that you ensure you do NOT neglect to spend quality time reviewing your business’ performance and thinking up ways to make it do better.
Summary - Your Thinking Habits Are MOST Important
The above outlined habits are - in my opinion - some of the most essential for a business owner to adopt. You will observe that most of them relate mainly to HOW YOU THINK. That's really what ultimately makes the difference between an entrepreneur and a business owner.
Visit my website at http://www.spontaneousdevelopment.com to browse an index of other articles(on entrepreneuring, best practice etc) that can help you.
Self-Development/Performance Enhancement Specialist – Tayo Solagbade - works as a Multipreneur, helping individuals/businesses develop and implement strategies to achieve their goals, faster and more profitably.
Download your FREE Ebook version of his Self-Development Bible™ (titled “Ten Ways You Can Use Self-Development to Create The Future You Want) by visitinghttp://www.spontaneousdevelopment.com/news/sdacn_current.htm to subscribe to the Self-Development Digest™ - Tayo's “Performance Enhancement Newsletter".