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6 Questions to Get Yourself Ready to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

6 Questions to Get Yourself Ready to Be a Successful Entrepreneur

Initially, it may seem to the inexperienced that running your own business would afford you plenty of financial freedom and clear out your schedule so you can focus more on other things. This idea of being “the boss” and relaxing while others work for you and the money just roles in is what causes most entrepreneurs to fail really quickly. Entire books can be written about the psychology behind this phenomenon, but let’s just say that being greedy, delusional and lazy is the worst combination of traits for an aspiring businessman to have. You’ll need to sit down and ask yourself a few very important questions if you want to avoid grossly overestimating your capabilities and coming up with an unsustainable business model that will leave you buried in debt.

1. Do you have a somewhat original and marketable idea?

The precursor for any sort of business venture is an idea. Good ideas are born out of understanding the principles of supply and demand, knowledge of the latest market trends, a desire to stand out from the crowd and plenty of ambition. An entrepreneur’s vision may not be entirely novel, but it should be somewhat unique.

If your plan looks something like this:

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  • Step One – Open clothing store
  • Step Two – Make a ton of money
  • Step Three – Live out the rest of my days without any worries

Then it is safe to say that you don’t have what it takes to survive your first year, let alone earn enough money to live comfortably and grow your business. A good plan would look more like this:

  • Step One – Research the local market to check if clothing store is a valid option
  • Step Two – Market research shows that there is a lack of elegant and stylish plus-sized clothing options in town, even though there are plenty of plus-sized shoppers, which means a shop catering to these needs would be well-received
  • Step Three – Look for creators, designers and skilled labor that could help you produce your own clothing
  • Step Three – There is enough demand for the product that you can manufacture at a reasonable cost with the right tools, and the skilled labor would be willing to work for a reasonable salary, it’s time to determine a budget
  • Step Four – With the available budget we can hire a small, but skilled and dedicated team, buy the necessary equipment, secure a location and have enough to cover the costs for the first six months even if we make no money
  • Step Five – Find a good location that fits the planned budget
  • Step Six – Find the right vendors and try to negotiate a good deal
  • Step Seven – Fix up the place and set up shop
  • Step Six – Evaluate the time it will take to break even and formulate a coherent and realistic business plan

Make sure that you can bring something new to the table, putting a unique spin on tried and true ideas and basing your decisions on supply and demand in your local area.

2. How good are you at what you do?

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Employee of the month

    Want to open a restaurant or coffee shop? Then you better have some experience in those industries and make sure you are able to cook up a tasty meal or at least partner up with people who can. Want to open a clothing store? You’ll need at least some working knowledge of how things work and plenty of people skills. You may be more of a thinker and organizer than a doer, but you’ll need to make sure that you are one hell of a negotiator. There are many avenues and a huge variety of niche markets that a successful entrepreneur can focus on—as long as he or she possess the right skill sets and is confident in his or her abilities, they can go on to create a great career. However, you’ll want to be objective when judging your own skill level and capabilities if you want to avoid becoming overambitious and burning through your budget.

    3. Do you have enough courage, motivation, determination and focus?

    Courage, focus and determination

      There are plenty of characteristics in common among successful entrepreneurs and it is clear that it takes a certain kind of person to succeed in the business world. Now, you may have some of these qualities without being aware of it, simply because you were never in a position that required you to use them—you won’t know how you handle a situation until you find yourself right in the middle of it. That being said, you’ll need to dig deep within yourself and try to find enough courage, determination, discipline and a laser-like focus on the goals you set. If you don’t have at least some of these traits in spades, you will be better off looking for a different career.

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      4. Can you stay level-headed under stress?

      Businesswoman frustrated at work

        As an entrepreneur, you will need to take certain risks, and you’ll find yourself far out of your comfort zone a lot of the time. A big part of running your own business is being constantly under pressure and dealing with tons of problems as they present themselves. You will need to prioritize and deal with the most pressing matters first, and in the beginning, it can be like a barrage of things going wrong and situations not playing out quite according to plan. The ability to keep your head cool under stress and think clearly is incredibly important, as you will need to improvise on the spot, make quick decisions and choose between the lesser of two evils. If you lose your temper too often and make impulsive decisions, you won’t last very long. Luckily, this is one aspect you can work on and improve through exercises like yoga. A quick boxing session on the heavy bag or going for a swim can be a good way to manage stress and blow of some steam, so keeping in shape can be beneficial.

        5. Are you prepared to stay focused and work every single day?

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        Working on vacation

          There are no sick days, weekends or quiet afternoons when you are an aspiring entrepreneur. Many people complain about the soul-crushing monotony and lack of career options of their nine-to-five jobs, but once you are on your own, you’ll come to miss the simplicity of such jobs. You work during the morning, then you come home and kick back, and you have your weekends free to do whatever you want—even if you bring your work home occasionally, it really isn’t that big of a deal. Running your own business means that you will be on vacation with your family and instead of going swimming, you end up setting up shop in a corner and staring at your laptop the entire afternoon. That’s if you have enough time for a vacation in the first place. Countless hours will be spent working on different ideas and projects, sometimes up to 12–14 hours a day. You need to be passionate and dedicated if you are to survive the sheer workload on top of the stress and sleep deprivation.

          6. Do you have a good level of leadership and management skills?

          When you are your own boss, there is no one to look to for leadership and advice, and no one to help you manage your employees. For a small business, it can be beneficial to look for freelancers and outsource some of the work instead of permanently employing a large team. Outsourcing can have different effects on your business as well as the local economy, but it is generally a fairly safe bet that if you find the right people, it can save you a lot of money. It’s here that your management, negotiation and people skills need to kick in. Managing a small and dedicated team plus a few freelancers, all while keeping your finances in check and handling any unforeseen setbacks takes a lot of concentration and the ability to jump from one task to another quickly and efficiently. Make sure you work on these crucial skills before making any serious plans for the future.

           

          It is said that the path to success is covered in the sweat and tears of those who weren’t afraid to give it their all and make the necessary sacrifices. Although the business playing field is wide and open, there are some fairly strict guidelines for developing winning strategies, so it is best to take plenty of time to think about your plans for the future before committing to a serious, life-changing project.

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          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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          Last Updated on November 19, 2019

          Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

          Work Smarter, Not Harder: 12 Ways to Work Smart

          I imagine that like me, you say that you never have enough time and that you just cannot cope with 60 dozen things all at once.

          How on earth do you get out of that spiral?

          Many people never sit down and look at how to work smarter, rather than harder and even longer hours. But not you, you’re smart enough to try to learn effective ways to work.

          So how to work smarter not harder? Here are 12 smart ways you should be following:

          1. Improve Your Time Management Skills

          Easier said than done? Well, no actually, because there are a few simple rules that can really help you to manage time better.

          For example, when setting up a top priority task, you need to switch off the phone and ignore your email first. Then you need to abandon any ideas of multitasking as that will slow you down and ruin your focus.

          Finally, set a reasonable deadline and do everything in your power to meet it.

          “When you’re born, you’re born with 30,000 days. That’s it. The best strategic planning I can give to you is to think about that.” — Sir Ray Avery

          2. Speed up Your Typing and Use Shortcuts

          These days we’re all keyboard slaves. So why not speed up your typing and try to get rid of the two finger syndrome. In fact, when you save 21 days per year just by typing fast!

          This is exactly what I am doing now, so I cannot honestly say I am practicing what I preach!

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          But help is at hand. Try some of these apps and games to help you type fast: 8 Most Effective Games and Apps to Learn to Type Fast

          Using shortcuts on the keyboard is another time saver and can speed up your work.

          For example, press F2 to rename a selected file, while CTRL + I will put selected text in italics.

          There are so many of these. If you make the effort to learn them, they really can be helpful.

          3. Learn How to Use Productivity Tools

          It is well worth downloading all the useful tools and apps that can highly boost your productivity. Take a look at these 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools and install whatever fits your needs.

          Now that is really a great way of working smarter, not harder.

          4. Use Your Phone Wisely

          Instead of writing emails, sometimes it’s better to pick up the phone and talk to the person responsible. It saves time, especially for important or urgent discussions.

          If that colleague works in the same office, it is even better to go and talk to him or her. It gives you a break, you get some exercise and you actually make human contact which is becoming quite rare in this electronic world.

          5. Keep a Tab on Your Tabs

          If you are like me, you might well find that you have a ton of tabs open at the top of your browser.

          In order to find the one you want, you have to search for them as they are off screen. Having all these tabs open slows down your browser too.

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          One solution is to use OneTab which can keep a neat list on the screen of all these tabs when you want to quickly get to one of them or you want to remind yourself which ones you have open.

          6. Use a “To Don’t” List

          We all know about to do lists and I find that they are generally great. They give me a great sense of achievement as I cross off the tasks done.

          But often, I find that we are doing non-essential tasks or ones that can easily be postponed. That is why many people recommend the to don’t list.[1]

          Some people prefer to savagely prune the to do list while others prefer to have two separate lists, to do and to don’t. You just have to work out what works best for you when you are trying to save precious time to become more productive.

          7. Expect Failure and Fight Paranoia

          When failure rears its ugly head, some people get a bit paranoid and fear that this may become a trend.

          Projects will go wrong and failure should be expected rather than feared. Learning lessons from failure and analyzing what went wrong is the best way forward.

          “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” — Richard Branson

          And here you can find 10 Great Lessons Highly Successful People Have Learned From Failure.

          8. Be Concise

          Rambling on at meetings, in emails and even when introducing yourself to new clients can waste a lot of people’s time.

          One way is to practice and sharpen your “elevator speech,”[2] which tells people in 30 seconds or less why they need your skills and how they can benefit from doing business with you.

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          Just think of the many situations where this could be useful:

          • Making new contacts
          • Talking about yourself at a job interview
          • Meeting people at conferences or parties
          • Phone calls to new clients

          9. Ask the Right Questions

          “You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” — Naguib Mahfouz

          How do you get feedback? The secret is to ask the right questions at the right time.

          When you do this, you are gathering the information you need to help in decision making. This will save you time and you will be able to cut meetings to a minimum.

          Forbes magazine reports on research that they carried out on asking the right questions.[3] When that happens, the positive effects are increased by 400%. There are also other benefits in staff motivation and a positive impact on the company’s bottom line.

          Lifehack’s CEO Leon has shared about how to ask for feedback to learn faster: How to Learn Quickly And Master Any Skill You Want

          10. Learn as Much as You Can

          You should always be on a steep learning curve. Look at your skills profile and determine where you need to fill a gap. Talk to important connections and network in your niche.

          Keep up to date on trends and developments. It is a fact-changing world. When an opportunity arises, you will be the best equipped to seize it because you have never stopped learning. Just another way of working smarter.

          “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” — Mahatma Gandhi

          11. Look After Your Greatest Resource

          No, your greatest resource is not time. It is YOU.

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          If you do not get enough sleep, exercise and relaxation, you find that you become less and less productive. You begin to work longer and longer hours, which is the exact opposite of what you want.

          What you should be doing is making sure you are in the best shape. It is useful to remember that you need a break of 15 minutes after every one and a half hours of work.[4]

          Taking breaks and getting fresh air and exercise is one of the best ways of working smarter, not harder.

          12. Don’t Fall into the Trap of Working Smarter and Harder

          As a society, we are obsessed with doing everything smarter so we are more efficient and we save time all around.[5]

          But the most important thing to remember is to accept when we are ready to switch off that computer and not fill up the time with even more work!

          The Bottom Line

          The key to greater productivity is to work smarter, not harder. Working smarter saves precious time and energy for the things that really matter — your life goals, your personal growth, your health and your relationships.

          Stop working for more hours and start working smarter!

          More About Working Smart

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

          Reference

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