Contrary to popular belief, being an entrepreneur is not just about having that one big idea. It’s about understanding the complex relationships between established social structures and finding ways to influence them. If you are a new business owner, you need to be able to think like an entrepreneur in order to take advantage of all the opportunities that you will come across. Here, we’ve identified 6 activities that will become a critical part of your life as a member of the business elite.
1. Define Your Vision
Your vision is defined not by what you want to do, but what you want to accomplish. How are you going to impact the lives of your customers? Instead of telling yourself “I want to build the next Facebook,” try saying “I want to change the way we access information.” Notice how broad and simple it seems? Just as there are many ways to travel from one destination to the other, there will be many ways for you to work towards your vision. By having this in place, running into roadblocks won’t mean failure. It will simply be an opportunity for you to change direction and identify new ways for you to work towards your goal.
2. Be Dynamic
From the day you establish your company to the day you retire, the business environment will be constantly changing. It is vital that you assess your clients, your competitors, and your industry on a daily basis. Are you still positioned to best meet the needs of your clients? Are there opportunities you haven’t acted on? Being able to adapt to rapidly changing priorities will keep you competitive within your industry, even when things shift. Just as you wanted to change the industry when you began to take an entrepreneurial initiative, there will be others who are looking to shake things up. Constantly assessing your competitive environment and adapting your strategy appropriately will help get you to the top and keep you there.
3. Build Relationships
Ever notice how entrepreneurs always seem to be in the know? They always seem have an insider connection with people from this company or that startup. This isn’t because there is some sort of secret entrepreneurial club you weren’t invited to, it’s because business owners are excellent at leveraging relationships.
Building a network of likeminded people who understand both what you offer and what you need is an important resource. These are people who are able to identify and act on opportunities. People who want to make things better. People who are able to understand the way that things work. Spending the time to interact with them is an excellent opportunity to pick their brains and get yourself comfortable with the way that they think. Sometimes, all you need to do is discuss an idea with somebody who understands where you are coming from and you’ll think of a new way to approach it.
4. Establish Self-Direction
You already have the destination in mind, now it’s time to select the path. Whenever you get an opportunity to work on building your business, think back to your vision. Ask yourself what you can accomplish today that will act as a tangible step toward your goal. As an entrepreneur, it is your job to decide what to do and when to do it. Being able to make the best use of your time and finding the proper motivation to do so is an essential skill that will directly impact your success.
5. Find Problems
When business is steady and profit margins are improving, it can be easy to get complacent. Remember that as long as you are in the driver’s seat, you should never allow yourself to go on auto-pilot. The times where everything is running smoothly are the best opportunities to dig deeper and find flaws in your business model. Problems shouldn’t be viewed as nuisances; they should be viewed as opportunities to build something better. Don’t give your competitors the chance to knock you off the top rung. While they are scrambling to play catch-up, use the time you have been gifted as a resource to optimize your business.
6. Take Risks
While the thought of implementing a tried and true business model can be comforting, these will never offer you the growth opportunity to become one of the business elite. If you are aware of the unique skills you possess, put those skills to use and take chances. Go out into uncharted territory and see what you can discover. The riskiest business ventures reap the largest rewards. While failure is an option, failing at something nobody has ever tried before can teach you things that your competitors don’t know. Failure shouldn’t be viewed as an obstacle to be avoided. It should be viewed as a segue to developing exclusive knowledge of your industry. It’s that very knowledge that will give you the competitive edge you need to succeed.
Featured photo credit: Brian Solis via flickr.com