How to be an entrepreneur

By: Paul D Foster

Date: 30 April 2012

So you want to be an entrepreneur? Before we figure out the 'How' we need clarity on the 'Why'. One of the ingredients for entrepreneurial success is knowing the passion for what you do. When you have clarity on your 'Why' you can be passionate about 'How' you run your business.

How #1

Align your business plan with your 'Why' so you can be passionate. Make sure and communicate your 'Why' to the marketplace.

For example, my own 'Why' is to improve the quality of life of my business-owner clients and their families. Since I don't have children of my own, my contribution to the world is serving business-owners in a way that supports a stronger family so they can focus on raising their children in the best environment.

How #2

Become the 'conductor of the orchestra' for your business. This means you have to stop 'playing your favourite instrument' and train someone else to play it.

An entrepreneur typically starts out in a business they are technically proficient at. A hairdresser opens a salon or a chef opens a restaurant. Sorry, but if you want to make money as a hairdresser or chef you should work for an entrepreneur, not be one. An entrepreneur is a person who can become 'the conductor of the orchestra' as opposed to being someone who plays a particular instrument. The goal is to hire people to play the instruments, so you can conduct.

How #3

Embrace failures as a necessary path to success.

An entrepreneur is by definition a risk-taker. This means you would need to overcome any fears of failure or fears of success. Entrepreneurship requires a mindset of embracing and accepting failure. The key is not to avoid failing, but to fail in the most efficient, controlled and least expensive way! Jim Balsillie, co-founder of Research in Motion (Blackberry) calls this process 'failing forward'. With each controlled failure you learn and progress forward towards success.

How #4

Be properly capitalised – 'You need a tenner to make 50 quid'

A large majority of entrepreneurs are chronically undercapitalised. This is not an easy problem to fix, but having enough cash is critical. Without sufficient cash reserves, entrepreneurs cannot make the right long-term strategic decisions and actions. A lack of cash impairs your short-term thinking by keeping focused on the looming cash crunch. A decent cash reserve gives you confidence to make strategic decision and be in business long enough to collect the return on investment.

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