By Ozlem, Apr 13 2015 01:42PM
If I was to use a metaphor to depict the past few years of my life as an entrepreneur I would say it’s been a ‘mostly joyful crash course on personal and professional development’. Meeting and working with many people on the same boat, has taught me that each entrepreneur’s path is individual and unique- as every single one of us have our own experiences, circumstances, expertise, skills and approaches to challenges.
That said, we all unite in our desire to make our dreams happen, however varied our methods may be. And there are some striking commonalities in the basic principles of businesses that achieve great success.
During the last year, alongside my personal experiences and awareness, I've had the privilege of being a part of live audiences and tapping into the wisdom of some outstanding entrepreneurs- such as Kelly Hoppen, Guy Kawasaki, Josephine Fairley, Vernon Hill and Piers Linney…
So, here are the top 10 principles for business success:
1. Make a habit of taking risks.
“Take the plunge and go for what you want” is a strong message form successful entrepreneurs. There will always be thousands of reasons for not starting your business- fear being the number one reason.But there will also be worthwhile reasons why you should. We wouldn't be enjoying many wonderful inventions and comforts we have today if it wasn't for the people who decided to take risks. Take calculated risks so you have a plan for failure and a solution for every single problem you foresee can be in your way.
And of course there's never something for nothing. You've got to be prepared to pay the necessary price for making your dreams happen - whatever you decide this price should be. But in the end the journey, the learning and the success are worth it.
2. Don't do it alone! Find a partner or put together a team to execute your vision & ideas.
No one does it alone. And 'creativity' is an essence of being human- so entrepreneurs or not, all of us have fantastic ideas now and then. Remember all the times you thought of a brilliant idea, did nothing about it and within a year or two you noticed an established company or a startup executing it...So the key thing is whether we put our ideas into action! And for the best execution of ideas, teaming up with at least one other person is imperative. When ideas, collective energies and experiences are concerned 1+1 doesn't make 2, it makes 3,4,5... Human creativity and potential is vast. And unless you have a co-founder, partner or a small team, you are never really a business. Another key ingredient is for your partner to have the same vision and values as you, but ideally to possess a different set of skills and expertise. This way you complement each other and you both lead on different aspects of the business.
3. Make sure the problem you're solving for your customers is actually a 'real' problem that people want solutions for.
A very simple yet crucial point: An idea being interesting to you, doesn't make it an area of service that's meaningful and helpful to others. So before launching any product or service finding out that it's needed is extremely important. Research, surveys, interviews with your target market will help you find out if your product or service is or would be in demand. Look for a problem that needs to be solved and make sure you and your co-founders have the passion, desire, expertise and determination to solve it.
4. An absolute passion and a sound strategy are the non-negotiables of a successful business.
Without the passion for what you do, there is no sustainable future for your business because that is the source of your enthusiasm and the main reason why you serve your customers with such dedication. Passion creates faith and resilience and becomes the driver of persistence in the face of failure.
But there is also another very crucial element: a sound plan and strategy in order to execute your ideas. While the passion and the purpose should be at the heart of your business, the plan and the strategy can be adapted and changed according to the feedback you receive and your results.
5. Execute your ideas- fast!
Having momentum and moving fast is essential. Once you know the product or the service you offer does solve a necessary and meaningful problem, trial it out quickly. Find out if the product or service you provide is really working for you and your target market. This way if things don't work, you know it sooner than later which gives you the opportunity to change and adapt plans. Getting feedback from customers early on, helps you perfect your product and guides you to make those essential decisions and choices in the initial stages of your business.
6. Establish shared values very early on and hire the right people.
Be very clear about what your business stands for very early on. Decide on the values of your business and communicate them well. You, your co- founder, your team- anyone who works within your organisation must absolutely swear by those values. For instance if your business has the core values of positivity, accountability and creativity- everyone involved in it, regardless of their role must fully reflect and live by them! Be assured that when you radiate your values, you'll attract the customers who have those exact values too. And do not hire people just because they happen to be available at the time you need someone. You must hire the correct person who is right for your business, your team and the job.
7. Be guided by your intuition.
Listening to your higher self, acting according to your instincts, following your gut feeling or tuning into your 6th sense- however you define it, this is an important advice from many successful entrepreneurs. They all say if instinctively they sense something is not right about a deal, project, situation, opportunity or a person- no matter how good or logical something might appear, they do not go for it... They also add some of their best decisions were intuitive- a worthy advice to implement. Meditation and quiet time for reflection are some of the ways successful people use to tap into their intuition.
8. Build genuine relationships with the people you serve.
Managing to turn your customers into fans of your business is one of the keys to business success. You must love, understand and care for the people you serve which will only ignite your passion and faith further. Listen to your customers, work hard to connect with them, regularly ask for feedback and do more than they expect to bring them results.
9. Continue to learn and develop yourself to stay in the game.
Now that you are not a part of someone else’s organization but building your own and working hard to make your dream happen, you might overlook the importance of continuous personal and professional development. Personal reading, attending seminars, taking courses and networking should be an important part of your development and that of your team’s. To know your competition well and the need to be ahead of them is an additional factor for this investment. Successful entrepreneurs are the ones who are self- aware and who know their strengths but most importantly their weaknesses. They are leaders who dedicate time and effort to develop themselves and their teams.
10. Work with a mentor.
Having advice from a critical friend who has been where you are and has achieved what you’re trying to achieve can be essential for your success. Having a mentor helps you identify and close the gaps in your knowledge and pushes you further to create the right habits, attitudes and relationships for success. The right mentor can help you implement your ideas and run your business more effectively then you otherwise would. They also help you become a better leader and a more effective team player.