Do you have what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur? Of course you do! You'll need a mix of characteristics and skills to make your business a flaming success. Check out the list and make sure you're every bit as successful as you can possibly be!
Sometimes chasing your dreams requires a little more than luck. Becoming successful will take more than being innovative, it is about having the right combination of skills, discipline, duties and responsibilities. Read on to ensure your business success is here to stay in 2015.
1. Plan and keep a tight schedule
Before you can capitalise on great time management skills you need to be able to plan your time effectively. Successful Entrepreneurs know what they need to do, and then they get on and do it! If you fail to meet your own deadlines and targets you've no-one else to blame...
There is no doubt that planning and strict time management is imperative for productivity and efficiency.
2. Look after the pennies
A successful entrepreneur knows where their money is and how it is being used. You may well be naturally money-minded - you want to make money and lots of it, right? The management of money will be crucially important to acheive your goals. Entrepreneurs will undoubtedly have a cash flow forecast system in place (the easier-to-use the better, but it's got to give you a clear view of the important performance indicators like margins and cash flow).
A forecast can be done using a simple spreadsheet but for a more reliable method entrepreneurs use special forecasting software. This is often favoured by companies that realise just how vulerable spreadsheets are to errors, don’t have the time to spend hours looking at formulae and/or whose time could be better spent doing something more productive.
If you want your success to stay then it is important to visualize the future of your business. Having a realistic cash flow forecast in place is imperative and fundamental to the success of any business.
3. Work the room
Like most things in life: it isn’t what you know, it is who you know - and it's not about old school ties or a Gentleman's Club! Connections made at meetings, conferences and even in the queue for a coffee could prove to be invaluable.
Networking in business is 100% necessary if you want to learn from others, bag new clients or spread the word about your brilliant products. Don't let it worry you though - just talk to people as you would anywhere else (no sales-speak!) and a world of opportunities will open-up (think joint ventures, partnerships, suppliers and sales, the list goes on!).
One thing is certain: Success can't happen if you're isolated from the big wide world.
4. Keep up with the latest trends
The world is always changing. It often seems impossible to keep up - constantly updating software and learning new techniques. But if you're going to be ahead in the game, it's necessary. Keeping up to date could give a business a major online advantage against the crowd of their competitors. This could be priceless for any e-business, and if you've a website (and you simply must have a website...), that means you.
All business must keep up to date with trends in technology, process and customer-attitude in order to stay competitive and keep their edge.
5. Keep the future in mind
A successful entrepreneur is always thinking of the next project they can involve themselves in. You must embrace change and understand the fact that business won't wait for you to catch up.
Thinking to the future with a creative mind will ensure that your love for innovation will never die - and keeping yourself motivated to push your business forward is crucial.
6. Educate yourself
It's not just technology that marches-on, the business world itself is forever changing. But let's be honest - there's already a "Gold Mine" of material out there that you haven't read, or aren't even aware-of. The best business owners are humble enough to acknowledge this, and then they take action to develop themselves and their skills.
Don't forget that self-education is also about learning from your own mistakes, and as a successful entrepreneur you will no doubt have made many. If you take a moment to reflect and think how you could have done better, the education you will have given yourself will transform your business in the years to come.
It's easy to spot the people who have most to learn - they're those that believe they know it all already.
No matter how successful you are your time is scarce. You simply can't do everything yourself. Learning how to delegate important tasks to your work force (employees, contractors, suppliers or associates) will help you scale-up your impact and success well beyond a single person.
Learning to trust others with vital tasks is one way to keep your sanity and let's be reallistic - you will find that there are people who are better than you at some things!
8. Listen to others
Entrepreneurs don't have to be loners. Successful entrepreneurs make sure there are always people beside them along the way. As a business owner you’re flying solo and it can be lonely at the top if you let it - so make sure that you talk to and listen to others.
Find yourself a mentor that has ‘been there, done that’, learn from their mistakes and celebrate their successes. This doesn't have to be a formal relationship, just a regular chat is enough.
If no-one springs to mind, go back to point 3 and make it your business to bump into someone in a similar situation to you (or with a background you can learn from). Oh and don't forget, there will be people out there that can learn a massive amount from you too. Be open and approachable, and be aware that you'll learn as much from mentoring someone as they do from you.
Two heads are better than one - and a fresh, independent set of eyes will help you to see your challenges and successes from a whole new perspective.
9. Respect your staff and customers
A good entrepreneur must be a good listener. Get feedback from your customers and really listen to what they have to say (regardless of whether it is good or bad!). Respecting your employees is extremely important, employees want to feel valued and a motivated, positive, channeled employee is worth their weight in gold.
Never take your employees or customers for granted – that's a short-cut to a dying business.
10. Get Involved
Okay, so you don’t have to attend every fun-run that you get invited to, but you should always support your community as they support your business. Attend community events, join local clubs, perhaps even offer your services to help educate others about your industry.
This isn't a cynical ploy either - do it sincerely because it's the right thing to do, and you'll benefits you and your business in ways you hadn't even thought-of.
And you've already started...
Just reading this article is helping you implement item 6. So keep going, stick with it. There's no reason why you can't be just as successful as the next entrepreneur if you keep focussed and learn from them!
You can start to tackle items 2 and 5 in a single step tooclick here for the short-cut to visualising the numbers in your business future. Then you'll be moving on item 8 too - you'll be listening-to and acting-on our suggestion!