If you want your small business to succeed, you should study how successful entrepreneurs think. A lot of first time entrepreneurs do not know what they are about to get themselves into. If you think you are creating your own job rather than a business, you may wind up as merely minimally self-employed. Self-employed means you have a skill, you decide what service or product to sell, you begin to talk to people, advertise, get some business cards printed, and try to obtain some clients so you can pay the bills. You have pretty much created a job for yourself.
All of a sudden, you are in over your head. Either you cannot get enough customers to pay your expenses, or you have a stream of customers and are spending practically every second of your life trying to do the books, payroll, answer emails, returning phone calls, scheduling etc. You really are not profitable and you do not know why. This is no longer your idea of fun.
True entrepreneurs identify what they are absolutely passionate about. If you do not love your work and you are just doing it for the money, chances are you will not have the passion an drive to push you onward when the business gets demanding. You will feel discouraged and disillusioned. People who look for the fastest way to make money instead of focusing on what excites them about work each day are not thinking like entrepreneurs.
True entrepreneurs think big. They create a clear, exciting vision of how they can develop a business that does not rely totally on them, is sustainable, and provide them with the income and lifestyle they desire. If your business always relies on your selling time for money, what happens if you become ill or want to go away on vacation? If people think of you as the entire business, they will only want to do business with you. Even if you work 80 hours a week you will be limited in the amount of money you can make, And you will not be able to sell your business one day, because your clients think of YOU as the business. That is fine when you first start out, but be smart and plan right from the beginning to make your company appear larger. Transition to being the leader of your business, not the doer. At some point you will have to document how all of your functions are performed so you can train others to take over some of the tasks.
Entrepreneurs are creators; self-employed people are mainly doers. Of course, you will deliver services or work in your business if you are an entrepreneur. But others will be helping you, whether you hire employees or outsource some of your tasks. You will be creating new services, products, strategies, and systems. Entrepreneurs assign others to implement them whenever they can do so. You probably will not doing thinking this way from Day 1–you may be doing everything in the beginning; however, if you have a map or plan of just how you want your business to look in a year or two, that plan will determine what your daily actions are. A true entrepreneur bases each decision on that vision. You won't find yourself "flying by the seat of your pants" and you will know when it is time to delegate work to others.
This is not about a big business plan. This is about getting clear on the details of the business you long to create and getting both the dream and the details written down. This is because entrepreneurs are idea generators and it is quite easy to get distracted.
Another reason is that the biggest fear new businesses have is not having enough customers or earning enough money. In my experience, if you did your research and you are offering a service that people want and are willing to pay for, the only missing ingredient is a clear vision. If you are passionate, have a clear purpose, and have a plan, the energy and excitement you create will attract clients to you like a magnet. I will use an example from my start:
I'm a consultant. I consider myself smart and have knowledge people need, so I set up a home office, named my business, formed a legal entity, created business cards, etc. Then I started to prospect for clients. I networked, sent out letters, contacted my database of former colleagues, and after a while I had a few clients. After a while, I approached a crucial fork in the road. Do I repeat this same process over and over, or do I create a bigger vision and long term plan to build a bigger, better business?
A big vision may lead you to:
- create a group of sequential products or services to encourage repeat business
- create products to generate passive income
- get bigger results by creative marketing
- outsource simple marketing tasks
- work on building your expert status
- create key relationships to grow sales
- develop a process that you can teach to others who you willo hire
Thinking like an entrepreneur means thinking about
- your strategy
- your systems
- time management
- your focus
This mind set can mean the difference between mediocre and outstanding results.