Advertising
Advertising

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:

Advertising

  • 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?

Advertising

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.

      Advertising

      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?

        Advertising

        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.

          More by this author

          Ivan Dimitrijevic

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

          50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas And How To Achieve Each Of Them 8 Fun and Unique Birthday Party Ideas for People in Their 20s 50 Cleaning Hacks for Your Home That Will Make Your Life Easier 40 Amazing Date Ideas for Valentine’s Day 9 Unexpected Benefits Of Foot Massage That Make You Want To Have One Now

          Trending in Work

          1 How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business 2 20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated) 3 How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career 4 8 Critical Skills for Workplace Success and Career Advancement 5 How to Find Work Motivation When You’re Unfulfilled at Work

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Published on March 20, 2019

          How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

          How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

          Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

          As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

          While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

          What is a Mission Statement?

          Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

          In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

          “Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

          In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

          Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

          While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

          First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

          While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

          While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

          “To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

          This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

          What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

          When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

          Advertising

          Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

          When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

          • What we do?
          • How we do it?
          • Whom do we do it for?
          • What value are we bringing?

          Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

          After all, that did check off all the boxes:

          What we do? Provide widgets.

          How we do it? Online.

          Who do we do it for? The consumer.

          What value we bring? The best widgets.

          The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

          Compare that mission statement to this one:

          “We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

          What’s the difference?

          Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

          Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

          Advertising

          You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

          A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

          Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

          1. Keep It Brief

          Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

          You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

          2. Have a Purpose

          A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

          Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

          3. Include a “How”

          Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

          How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

          4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

          This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

          Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

          5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

          It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

          Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

          6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

          Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

          7. Think Long Term

          A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

          Advertising

          8. Get Feedback

          This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

          Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

          9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

          You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

          First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

          And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

          For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

          The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

          It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

          First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

          If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

          Strategic Planning

          A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

          Measuring Performance

          By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

          Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

          Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

          Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

          As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

          Advertising

          Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

          To Hold Management Accountable

          By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

          So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

          If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

          To Serve as an Example

          This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

          After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

          Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

          Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

          Final Thoughts

          Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

          Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

          That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

          By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

          More Resources About Achieving Business Success

          Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

          Reference

          [1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
          [2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

          Read Next