Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Advice for Entrepreneurs

People make assumptions about being an entrepreneur or your own boss. They don't realize that it's sometimes a 24-hour job that when you're not working you're thinking about what you need to do. If you want to own your own business, you will enjoy the ups and downs. Don't assume independence = play time. That is the biggest assumption people make about business ownership -- that your freedom equates to a lot of free time. Business owners who do mistake ownership for play time quickly discover that business isn't going to sell well, because as I just said, when an owner isn't working he/she is thinking about the business. I've seen numerous people attempt to launch their own businesses only to fail. What happened? I can tell you the most obvious mistakes, and these are as follows:

Business will come to me -- some people absolutely hate networking. They would rather get their teeth cleaned (actually my BFF for real would always rather get her teeth cleaned). They try to find people to handle deliver business direct to their desktops. Reality check: Most business leaders have to network and make connections. Few businesses exist where you can sit and the business will come. If you hate networking either get over it or forget it.

You better develop a real appetite and charge after your next meal. The other common mistake is not being hungry enough to charge after your business. I'm not suggesting you become an aggressive sales person -- no one likes that. But the most common mistake I see is a lack of initiative and desire. You're literally not motivated enough to go hard charging after new business. When you're an entrepreneur you're always thinking of how to find new work. You're assertive and aggressive. You are motivated and take initiative. You don't say I need money, you go make money. If you say, I need money (and need is a strong word) then pull out those horns and starting working it. Think of ways you can make money. Network, connect, make proposals, take meetings, marketing, promote and do what you need to do. Because if you need something then you should be motivated to go get it.

Attitude and positive outlook count. Keep your chin up, stay positive and never say never. Yeah, sometimes you'll get down and frustrated, but don't wallow in it. Move on and keep your eye on the ball. Tell yourself you can do it, you can do it -- and like the little train you can. Winners don't look in the mirror and cry and say, "I suck." Winners look in the mirror and say, "I am awesome and great -- and I can do it!"

Smart business overrules emotion. The greatest mistake women business owners make (and more new businesses are being opened and managed by women than ever before). Don't let your right or left brain for that matter overrun the other. Use critical thinking and apply reason, logic and most importantly math to the situation. If the math goes into the negative, it's not a sound decision. How you feel about that decision should be measured on ethics and the greater good. Always error on the side of the greater good, because an error on the side of the least good can equate to a disaster in wait. Be smart, careful and judicious.

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