There are a few words that can be used to describe entrepreneurship: roller coaster, cliff dive, marathon, rewarding, challenging, scary, confusing, and much more. But it’s always nice to hear hard-hitting, no nonsense business advice to bring clarity to chaos.
Here’s a look at outrageously true business advice that every entrepreneur can benefit from:
Close the deal. Make money. Repeat.
I want to be very clear about one thing. I am not talking about the money you need to start your business; I am talking about the money your business will make (lots of it hopefully) and end up in your back pocket. You need to be thinking about turnover, profits, cash flow and exactly how money will be distributed to you. Are you going to get shares, salary, percentages, dividends, bonuses?
All too often I see young and old entrepreneurs alike, spending all of their time in too many meetings; frequently forgetting to close the deal and make money. Before you start your working day (and before entering into meetings) work out exactly how you are going to get paid, close the deal, and make money. Remember it’s all about the money, not just doing something you’re passionate about.
Be ridiculously creative.
Make sure you have put one hundred percent of your creativity into developing your product or service. Leave the competition standing with a built in “Wow! face” from day one. Try to incorporate longevity into your road map so you can milk your idea for years to come; not just an overnight flash in the pan.
My first book I wrote in 1977, some thirty five years ago, is still pulling in royalties every single month. Get the idea? Be your own severest critic. Get your team to pull it all apart before your buying public does. Make your product or service eminently fit for the marketplace.
Build that Dream Team!
Entrepreneurs are creative, idea people. Most entrepreneurs have big dreams and often start businesses whether they are ready or not. Many times they need a team of people around them who can do the sales, marketing, admin, finance and a host of other things necessary to get the piggy to the market place.
Many times entrepreneurs need team members with their feet on the ground to balance things out (i.e., get finance on board, talk to the bank manager, and consummate deals). Don’t try to be all things to all people. Play to your strengths and bridge all of your weakness by bringing other people on board who will love to do the things you hate doing.
It’s all about cost-effective marketing.
I love to talk about cost effective marketing. Over the years I have helped create many millionaires just by getting their marketing right. I like guerrilla marketing, such as classified adverts (often driving people to a very specific, more content-driven website), highly-targeted email campaigns, mailing out (one, ten or one hundred) very targeted letters.
Also, I love public relations and after thirty five years I still push stuff out on a weekly basis. I practice what I preach and I expect this one article alone may bring in five or ten inquires and drive a whole load more customers to read my book and use my audio programs. Get the idea? I teach clients to ‘think small marketing resources = massive returns’. I get my clients to use their imagination and not their pocket books.
Delegate the dirty details.
Bruce Snyder, my business partner of twenty five years (but now retired) taught me many valuable lessons, but the one I liked most is about finding people who love to do the things you hate.
Bruce never had any problems attracting people who actually loved to do admin. They could hardly ever come up with a creative idea, or make a sale, or enhance a product — not in a million years. But label papers, box them, collate them, organize and file them so that they were at your fingertips just when you needed them, they could do that all day long.
Make sure you fill all of the gaps … bridge the weaknesses in your business and delegate to people who love to do the things you hate. The last thing you want to do is shuffle papers all day long and get nowhere. Isn’t it funny how important papers have a frustrating habit of disappearing just when they are needed?
Put your capital to work.
Now I want to talk to you about finance. This has to do with getting enough cash to start your business and then control that cash flow as it comes in the door. As an entrepreneur it is your job alone to get the startup money and make it happen.
Take responsibility. Try the bank of Ma & Pa, family, friends, aunts and uncles you haven’t seen for years. Try crowd-funding sites like Indiegogo and Kickstarter — leave no rock unturned. Money is always in the last place you look for it. Always!
Have a yard sale and get rid of any old bicycles, fishing rods, skateboards, tools, spares, old clocks and stamp collections. Do whatever it takes to get the money in – it is the lifeblood of business. Once the working capital is in and you actually startup and cash comes in, you need to manipulate that cash flow, frequently robbing Peter to pay Paul and make sure that every single dollar does a hundred dollars worth of work – at the very least.
Mind power or action?
As a business and mind power guru I frequently get asked the following question; one that I have thought long and hard about: “Ron, what is more important when starting my own business: mind power or action?”
Mind power is crucial and so a daily dose of meditation, visualization, affirmations and goal setting are the order of the day. Having said all of that; I see too many people waiting for their “big idea” and they never get around to doing anything. Spring into action at every conceivable opportunity, whether you are ready or not and go for it! Action wins hands down every time – mind power comes in a close second. Very close!
This article has been edited and condensed.
Ron G. Holland is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 40 years experience in business mentoring, personal development and the self-help industry. Holland is the Chairman of Eureka Financial and has created wealth and growth strategies for small business owners to organizations with up to £50m turnover. Holland is an acclaimed author with more than 20 books published to-date. Connect with @Ron_Holland on Twitter.
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