Tell Everyone about Your Business
An entrepreneur who doesn’t tell people about his or her business is like a baseball player at bat who swings only when it’s sunny, missing a lot of good pitches that could be home runs. The passive entrepreneur serves no one except the competition by staying quiet. We all know that business doesn’t come easy and that you may not naturally be a people person, but you have to get out of your comfort zone.
Ask the Right Questions
Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers. —Tony Robbins, author, professional speaker
Avoid closed-ended questions, which can be answered with a simple yes or no. In general, open-ended questions are much better than simple yes-or-no questions. For instance, instead of asking a potential customer if she is satisfied with a competitor’s product or service, ask specifically what she likes and dislikes about it. This information is highly valuable and helps you position your company to win her business.
Receive the Maximum Value for Your Products or Services
Novice entrepreneurs often make the mistake of devaluing the worth of their product or service. While lowering your price may be an effective way to enter a market or to gain customers, it eventually corrodes profitability in the long term. Companies that compete on price alone tend to go out of business quickly. Strive to stay in business for decades like Apple.
Apple has never compromised on demanding high prices for its products. At the same time, it has never compromised on delivering excellent products.
Don’t Patronize Customers
You may need an Undercover Boss reality check. Even if you are the CEO of your company, never make clients feel less than they are. There is no justification for it at all. Your job is to make your clients and your employees feel as if they are the most important people in the world.
Build Your Network Creatively
Networking should take on a different meaning to you as an entrepreneur. It should not only mean going to an event in hopes that you’ll meet someone there who can help you grow your business. Instead, it should mean following these four important steps:
- Being proactive
- Being creative
- Meeting the right people
- Finding the most environment
Networking this way gives you the best chance at actually closing a major deal, and that’s what it is all about.
Don’t Hold Grudges
As an entrepreneur, your ability to turn anger caused by rejection into motivation to persevere can take your company to soaring heights. Negative feelings can be your worst enemy, causing you to miss huge opportunities.
It doesn’t pay to hold grudges in business. If you do, you can only be angry with yourself.
Act in Spite of How You Feel
Winning entrepreneurs act in spite of how they feel. It’s not always easy to do so. In fact, overcoming what we feel like doing versus what we should be doing is a daily battle in all areas of life, but it is a battle you must win. As you move forward toward your business goals, don’t let your emotions cause you to miss a phenomenal, life-changing opportunity. If you do, you could be missing out on a lot of money.
Push beyond Your Fear
While you are excited for the journey ahead, you often must overcome your fears of failure and the unknown. The entrepreneurial path, just like a race track, has chicanes, undulating esses, tight hairpins, variations in elevation, and several twists and turns. All of these obstacles can cause fear.
But even if you are frightened
You grab the wheel and step on the gas pedal, pushing through your inhibitions. Your commitment to the goal overcomes your trepidation, and that’s what being an entrepreneur is all about
Be a Maverick
As mavericks grow older, their rebellious nature stays with them and is a significant contributor to their entrepreneurial success. What we know as teenage rebellion often becomes industry disruption, a new way of doing things that upsets those who support the status quo. These mavericks go on to change the world. If you ever needed a reason to tap into your desire to be a rebel, you have one now.
Make Your Dreams Come True
All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. —Walt Disney, founder, the Walt Disney Company
Make Difficult Sacrifices
Entrepreneurs have to sacrifice as they chase their dreams. However, rarely do we discuss just how hard these sacrifices will be to reach high levels of success. We joke about eating ramen noodles because it’s trivial. But would you leave a high-paying job? Would you drop out of college even if you had a full scholarship? Would you give up your health? Would you sacrifice your marriage and a relationship with your son? Extreme entrepreneurs say yes to difficult questions like these, and that’s what makes entrepreneurs a rare breed. As you embark on your journey to bring your big idea to the world, ask yourself the question, What am I willing to sacrifice to make this happen? Your answer can help you determine your likelihood of success.
You Have Unbelievable Endurance
More than any other characteristic of an entrepreneur, having superhuman endurance is by far the most vital. It’s even more important than being smart, well-funded, or charismatic. Entrepreneurs who have the fortitude to keep going despite being tired, to continue to educate themselves to be top performers, and to work through long-lasting pain are the most likely to find success. Many people say that running a business is like running a marathon. Having done both, I certainly agree.
Be Prepared to Lose It All
If I didn’t make it in this world, I would probably be homeless. I gave myself that little to fall back on. —Shawn Wayans, actor, producer
Entrepreneurship is not for the weak. If you aren’t prepared to lose it all, then you should definitely do something else.
Being Successful Is Not the Goal
Success is not a person. It’s an event.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be successful, but it is the wrong reason to start a business. Starting a business to be successful is like getting married to have sex. People too often focus on the benefits of the undertaking rather than the true purpose. If you remember to focus on your purpose—unadulterated by any ulterior motives—you stay headed in the right direction to accomplish your goal, and the benefits of your efforts are more likely to accrue to you.
You Are Excited When Monday Morning Arrives
An entrepreneur who dreads Mondays is probably not an entrepreneur for the right reasons. If you need a litmus test to see if your motivation is where it needs to be, this is it. Put another way, if you are an entrepreneur and you don’t like Mondays, it’s probably time to do something else. How you feel on this critical day is so important. After all, it could be a matter of life or death—literally
You’re Disappointed When Friday Arrives
Friday might as well be “Cryday ” And there is no happy hour, just “unhappy hour.” Such are the lives of entrepreneurs, full of strange dichotomies: We like Mondays while everyone else likes Fridays; we like to work while everyone else plays; we write checks while everyone else gets paid
A 9-to-5 Is Worse Than Death
Entrepreneurs are often touted for being fearless. This perception is not reality, though. Entrepreneurs are human and have fears like everyone else. Most likely, having a job is one of those fears, but we just channel that fear into something constructive like motivation or the courage to excel. When healthy fear is combined with a greater desire to succeed, nothing can stop you.
Your Parents Want You to Get a Real Job with Benefits
My son is now an “entrepreneur.” That’s what you’re called when you don’t have a job. —Ted Turner, founder, CNN; businessman; philanthropist
You Sometimes Get More Resentment Than Respect
Jealousy is perhaps the most common reason that entrepreneurs do not get the respect they deserve, especially from people close to them.
An upside is that entrepreneurs who encounter such resentment often turn it into a powerful motivator. In the same way that a superhero may be motivated to disprove a naysayer, an entrepreneur is inspired to silence resentment toward entrepreneurship, and even personal attacks. Superheroes and entrepreneurs do what must be done regardless. Ultimately, they know that resentment and respect are not mutually exclusive
It’s Not about Being Your Own Boss
Being your own boss is not the right reason to pursue entrepreneurship for two reasons.
- The phrase “being your own boss ” appeals to those who believe that a domineering boss is a bad thing
- The misguided “be your own boss ” pitch appeals to a false idea of what being an entrepreneur means
People who subscribe to the be-your-own-boss fallacy cripple their entrepreneurial potential and are in it for the wrong reason. Are you a boss or an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship Is in Your Blood, Literally
Oprah Winfrey is known for making guests on her show cry. However, this time, she was the one who would shed tears, overcome by the significance and serendipity of the moment. Choosing to be an entrepreneur can be a lonely endeavor and experience, especially if no one in your family is one.
Just like Oprah Winfrey you will find that one brave family member who gives you extra inspiration and makes you proud. As the character Charlotte Phelan said in the Academy Award–winning movie The Help, “Courage sometimes skips a generation.
You Know Your Worth
Mark Zuckerberg’s company had several opportunities to be acquired once it really began to grow. For example, Viacom offered $75 million to buy the entire company in 2005. It wanted to combine The facebook, as it was called then, with MTV.com. As chronicled in David Kirkpatrick’s book The Facebook Effect, “If Zuckerberg accepted such an offer, he would have put about $35 million in his pocket for a year’s work. But that didn’t matter to him.” Most of us would have taken the offer. Zuckerberg thought his company would be a billion-dollar company someday. Seven years later, Facebook’ s valuation was estimated to be $75 billion right before it went public. Yes, that’s billion with a “b ”.
Whether you are contemplating leaving your job or entertaining offers for the purchase of your company, it takes guts to hold your ground to get what you believe you or your company is worth. You have to understand that things do not always work in your favor, but when they do, it’s all worth it.
You Can’t Keep a Job
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me…. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. —Steve Jobs
There are many signs that you are an entrepreneur, but not being able to keep a job for long is perhaps the biggest sign. If you can’t hold down a job, the cosmos may be trying to tell you something. Instead of running from job to job, run full force into your entrepreneurial destiny. I did, and I have had a “job” for over twelve years straight.
You Cry When Things Don’t Go Your Way
Everyone talks about how entrepreneurs should be passionate. However, they rarely talk about being passionate in the most comprehensive sense. Passion manifests itself in different forms, from working long hours to yelling at members of your team, from having youthful enthusiasm to even crying when something doesn’t go your way. If you feel the urge to cry every now and then about an issue related to your business, go ahead and cry. It’s quite alright. Many entrepreneurs in the world have cried about their businesses. They just aren’t honest enough to admit it
It’s Never Too Late to Be an Entrepreneur
You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. —C. S. Lewis, author, theologian
Interestingly, research shows that older people are more likely to be successful when they start businesses. Older entrepreneurs have the experience needed to better navigate the rough waters of entrepreneurship. During years of work, they have developed a treasure chest of skills that makes them highly valuable. For instance, if they go into business in the same industry in which they worked for many years, their understanding of the business is a tremendous competitive advantage.
Don’t let your age deter you from pursuing your dream. Ultimately, a solid business idea paired with flawless execution, not a fresh face, is what leads to success in business
You Feel Unequaled Joy When Your Idea Becomes Reality
Entrepreneurs take immense pride and joy in transforming their idea into reality. Knowing that your idea actually works and has impacted the world in some way is a feeling like no other. For many, it’s even a greater feeling than making the first sale or receiving the first payment.
Following Your Passion Is Bogus
Entrepreneurs shouldn’t necessarily be encouraging people to follow their passion to attain success in business. This advice is more applicable to a lofty self-help goal in life. Business is about solving problems, improving the quality of life, creating new solutions, and yes, making money. These things involve a great deal of pain and drudgery, not endless euphoria. If you are able to align building a solid business with doing what you love, that’s great, but it certainly isn’t a requirement. Likewise, it’s a bad idea to try to monetize your passion without extensive consideration. Finally, whether your business has anything to do with your passion shouldn’t be the determining factor in why you want to start a business.
You Have the Right Motivation
PayPal was not necessarily created to make global payments and money transfers via the Internet easier. Instead, it stemmed from cofounder Peter Thiel’s libertarian beliefs fortified while a college student. PayPal was a solution to the problem of countries, dictators in particular, manipulating currencies and thereby destroying free-market systems. Similarly, Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has been driven by a desire to create a great product that makes the world more transparent and connected. The goal of entrepreneurs should be to align their motivation with their business’s objective. Once you achieve this level, your company has the highest potential for greatness.
You Love Your Life
Entrepreneurs love their lives not necessarily because of the benefits of success but because we love the game of entrepreneurship, which can bring joy and pain. An indescribable feeling of joy comes from knowing that you are in control of your destiny, and this joy is present through the good and the bad times. This is what makes entrepreneurs one of a kind.
You’re an Entrepreneur Forever
“You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” — Morpheus, in The Matrix
Muhammad Yunus, microfinance pioneer and Nobel Peace Prize winner, argues that entrepreneurship is as natural to our humanity as is our need to eat.
All human beings are entrepreneurs. When we were in the caves, we were all self-employed …. finding our food, feeding ourselves. That’s where human history began…. As civilization came, we suppressed it. We became labor because they stamped us, “You are labor.” We forgot that we are entrepreneurs.
Perhaps Yunus is on to something. He seems to have figured out the most primal reason to explain why once you are an entrepreneur you are always an entrepreneur. Or as Yunus might say, “Once you realize your natural state of being as an entrepreneur, you’ll never return to viewing yourself as labor.”