If you want your business to succeed, it is important to study how successful entrepreneurs think so you can start thinking in the same way.
Most start ups do not have a clue what they are about to get themselves into. If you think that you are creating your own job rather than a growing business, you very well might end up as merely minimally self-employed. Self employed means you have a skill, you decide what service you will sell, you go out and start to talk to people, maybe throw out some advertising, get some business cards printed and try to get some clients so you can pay the bills. In essence, you have created a job for yourself.
Uh oh….you suddenly find that you are in over your head. Either you cannot get enough clients to pay the bills, or you have a stream of clients and are spending nights and weekends trying to do the books, payroll, taxes, returning phone calls and e-mails, scheduling, etc. You are not really profitable and you do not know why. This is not your idea of fun.
The first thing successful entrepreneurs do is to 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 and drive to push yourself onward when the business gets demanding. You will feel discouraged and disillusioned. It is just like a marriage—if there is no passion, no deep love, where will the motivation come from to work through problems and issues? People who look for the fastest way to make money instead of focusing on what will get them excited about work each day are not thinking like entrepreneurs.
Next, entrepreneurs think big.
They create a clear, dynamic, exciting vision of how they can develop a business that will not rely totally on them, will be sustainable, provide them with the income and lifestyle they want and will grow into an asset they can sell.
If your business always relies on you selling time for money, what happens if you become ill or take a 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 per week, you will be limited in the amount of money you can make. Additionally, you will not be able to sell your business one day, because your customers think of YOU as the business.
It is okay to start out like that, but be smart and plan right from the beginning to make your company appear larger and to transition to being the leader of your business rather than the doer. At some point you will have to document how each function is performed so you can train others to take over some of the "doing".
Entrepreneurs are Creators; self-employed people are mainly Doers.
Now that does not mean you will not deliver services or work in your business if you are an entrepreneur. But there will be others who help you, whether you hire employees or outsource. Your job will be to create new services, products, strategies and systems. Entrepreneurs let others implement them whenever possible.
You might be wondering how you can think this way from Day 1. Even though you may be doing everything in the beginning, 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 actions you take every day. A true entrepreneur bases every decision on that vision. You will not be "flying by the seat of your pants" and you will know just when you need to pass off some of the work to others.
This is not about some huge business plan. This is about getting clear on the details of the business you hope to create and getting both the dream and the details down on paper. Why? Because entrepreneurs are idea generators and it is very easy to get distracted and unfocused.
Another reason is that the biggest fear early stage businesses have is not having enough clients or making enough money. In my experience, if you have done good research and you are offering a service that people want and are willing to pay for, then the only missing ingredient is a clear vision. If you are passionate, have a clear purpose and a plan, the energy and excitement you create will attract clients to you like a magnet. Here's a specific example:
Let's say you are a consultant. You are smart and have knowledge people need, so you set up a home office, name your business, form a legal entity, and get a logo and business cards. So far, so good. Now you start to prospect for clients. You network, send out letters and contact your database of former colleagues. After a while you get a few clients. Now you are approaching a crucial fork in the road. Do you repeat this same process over and over, or do you 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 tier products, services or packaged services to encourage repeat business
- create products that will generate passive income
- market more creatively for bigger results
- outsource simple, repeatable marketing tasks
- create a plan to build your expert status
- create key relationships with joint venture partners to grow sales
- develop a consulting process that you can teach to other consultants who you will hire or certify
Perhaps you outsource your online marketing, administrative work and bookkeeping so you can spend your time doing what you love.
Thinking like an entrepreneur means thinking about
- Time Management
This mindset can mean the difference between mediocre and outstanding results.