Our life and business coach partner Rasheed Ogunlaru has shared his five top tips to making it as an entrepreneur. All of his points below ring true for me with my experiences with aspiring and successful entrepreneurs.
Each year I meet thousands of entrepreneurs, sole traders and business owners – including many at my workshop Making it as an Entrepreneur. Their challenges are usually the same and so are the success factors:
1. Clarity & focus: Who are you? What do you want to achieve personally and in business? What is you business about and can you communicate this in a way that anyone can understand? What are your values? Why are you in business?
Passion, flair & courage: Without these you are unlikely to stay the course, or survive the ups and downs. It is these qualities that will often attract customers and supporters and these strengths will also give you the creativity and flexibility to find your own space in the market place and stand out.
2. Knowing your business and your market: Who are you customers exactly? What are all their different needs, problems, desires and fears? What exactly do they want and how do they want it? If we do not understand and incorporate this then you won’t have a business – merely a wish list. This is an ongoing process of listening to your, your customers and others. The more you listen the more you’ll learn and be in the loop.
3. Support: No entrepreneur is an Island. You can not achieve it alone. The quality of your real or virtual team will be a huge factor in your success. What skills and support do you have and do you need? Who can help you? You’re unlikely to win the Premiership with a third division team. And if you are to rise from the third division to the premiership you’ll need the right leadership, team and support.
4. Being organised, effective and motivated: I meet and coach many business owners who struggle with this. Simplicity and clarity are the key. Simple systems, priorities and messages. Do you have the right tools, systems and support in place to help you achieve your goals? Using the right technology and psychology is important. What are you spending your time and your energy on and what would be the most effective use of it? You also need time out for yourself, your health and to keep your business and life on track.
5. Excellent product & customer service: Ultimately if you don’t have a good product / service nobody’s likely to buy it – or keep buying it. Having a good product is not enough. You need to really care about your customers – not just their cash. I’m amazed at how many businesses actually do not care enough about their customers. if you don’t sooner or later it will be you, not they who pay the price.
One more thing: ultimately business – like all things – is about relationships. If you have a rich relationship with you, what you do, your customers, your suppliers, your peers and your prospects… then you, your business and those you meet will blossom. This is what I call the heart of business. Many people overlook it and many experts do not speak of it, but it is what will make people fall in love and stay in love with you and what you do. Business is after all about our inter-connectedness… if you remember this you will enjoy the journey.