If you need structure, security and a predictable work environment, than being an entrepreneur isn’t for you. If you are looking to be your own boss, set your own hours and drink mint juleps on the beach all day, than entrepreneurship isn’t for you either. Bold statements huh? But the truth none the less, many good intentioned people think entrepreneurship is an open and easy door to FREEDOM.
I’m amazed at how many people think entrepreneurship is a pathway to an easier life. Notice the phrases “Steady income, comfortable lifestyle and job security” these are not the words of an entrepreneur, let’s try “Long hours, very little stability and stress at levels of insanity.” If you thought having one boss was bad, try having 20 -30 new bosses called customers. Have I scared you off yet? If not, then you may be entrepreneurial material.
For the last 30 or so years I have been an entrepreneur in one way or another. Granted I’m only 36, but you have to give me credit for my earlier years of pumping gas, cutting grass, carrying grocery bags to the cars of elderly people and selling candy to my classmates in elementary.
My journey as an entrepreneur started out of necessity. Being raised by a single mother and grandmother inCompton,California, I wasn’t privileged to get an allowance or have money handed to me. If I was going to get what I wanted, I had to work for it. My family could only afford what I needed, anything above needs were my responsibility. So at an early age my creative juices as an entrepreneur begin to flow.
Whatever the customer wanted, I was willing to provide. Those early years of entrepreneurship taught me a lot of lessons, lessons that I still use today as CEO of Will Moreland International, LLC, a think thank that is dedicated to developing world class leaders in life and business.
I’m often asked what lessons would help a new entrepreneur set up a strong foundation for their business. Some key principles or ideas that is vital to success. If you have done any research on start-up business success and longevity, the numbers are staggering. Michael Gerber in his book “The Most Successful Small Business in the World” states that over 80% of start-ups fail. If you don’t recognize his name, you may remember another book Michael wrote called “The E-Myth Revisited” where he outlines why 80% of businesses fail.
Since I have been asked the question so many times, what it takes to succeed in business, I sat down one afternoon and really gave it some thought and came up with “The 8 Factors of Business Success.” I researched some of the most successful companies, like Target, Footlocker, Pizza Hut, Ford Motor Company and a few others. About 15 companies in all I researched to see if I could find some common attributes in these companies. I wasn’t surprise to find a common thread in all of their success, it didn’t matter that they were in completely different industries; the blueprint for success was common. Here are my 8 Factors of Business Success:
8 Factors of Business Success
- Have a Genius Idea. All the companies I researched had a Genius Idea, an idea that would change the industry they were entering into. These were no copy cats, the founders of these companies were innovators.
- Be a Risk Taker. These high performing companies were started by risk takers, whether it was dropping out of school, taking their last dollar to invest back into the company or being laughed at, they were willing to take a risk.
- Start Small, Think Big. Because they knew their idea was Genius, and it usually takes people a while to catch-up to Genius Ideas, they didn’t let starting small depress them. They allowed the possibility of growing big motivate them.
- Don’t Be So Technical. Most entrepreneurs worry about bringing a perfect product to the market. These founders made mistakes and corrected as they went on, but being perfect was not high on their priority list. The most important factor was getting the product to market.
- Build a Strong Brand. Because they were building for the long haul, they ensured they built a strong brand in the process. Many of them were and are still able to weather economic hardships because they have a strong brand name.
- Build Strong Relationships. Because starting a business is so unpredictable, time frames are usually off, money runs out and life happens, it is important to have strong relationships in your personal life and business life.
- Be Flexible and Adaptable. CHANGE is a constant in life and business, so be prepared. Be able to adapt, do not become set in your ways. What was new today will be old tomorrow, be flexible.
- Have Fun and Enjoy the Journey. Being an entrepreneur and starting a business is a lot of work, HARD WORK, please don’t be fooled. You must love what you are doing, and then the work is worth it. Building a strong business takes time, so enjoy the journey.
These 8 Factors have helped guide me as I work to build my business and help other entrepreneurs and business owners grow their enterprises. Being an entrepreneur is one of the great joys of my life. I enjoy tremendous FREEDOM, but take my word for it, it has cost me everything. Which I would gladly pay a thousand times again, to be a part of such an awesome group called entrepreneurs.
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