Ten Entrepreneurial Strategies for Success

This adapted entry was written by Renee & Don Martin,
 Authors of The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Who Built Great Businesses Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies For Success – a new book that you might want to check out.

America has always been a beacon of entrepreneurialism because it is so deeply rooted in our history. Our country was founded and then settled by innovators willing to sacrifice old certainties for new opportunities. The people who came to America a few hundred years ago looking for a better life were risk takers in every sense.

Do not mistake being a risk taker with being reckless. Risk takers must also become risk analyzers — evaluating the pros and cons, then trusting their instincts and recognizing and seizing an opportunity to create their own businesses.

Already an entrepreneur? Thinking about starting something? Check out this summary of qualities & strategies and get going.

1. Trust Your Gut

Successful, independent-minded entrepreneurs know when to trust their gut. An expanding body of research from a number of fields — including economics, neurology, and cognitive psychology — confirms that intuition is a real form of knowledge. It’s a skill you can develop and strengthen — one that’s particularly valuable in the most chaotic, fluid business environments, when you must make critical, high- pressure decisions at a moment’s notice. At such times, intuition usually beats rational analysis.

Trusting your instincts also emboldens you to carry out new, untested ideas and ventures, even when nobody else believes in them. It’s about seeing the need for a product or new service and just knowing you can make it happen.

2. Buck the Conventional Wisdom

Ignore those who say, “It won’t work” or “It’s never been done that way.” Our profiled entrepreneurs succeeded in large part because they veered away from established formulas and ways of thinking. Don’t just blindly accept the so-called best practices of your industry. Look at them with a hypercritical eye. Dissect them, slice and dice them, contemplate different what-if scenarios.

Challenging convention can open the door to competitive advantage.

3. Never Let Adversity or Failure Defeat You

Don’t accept the limits that others or circumstances place upon you. The ranks of successful entrepreneurs are filled with men and women who refused to stop believing in themselves, despite the derision of others or heartbreaking failures in their past.

As an entrepreneur you’ll undoubtedly experience stressful moments that will test your faith, especially in the beginning when you’re still trying to establish your brand and separate from the pack. Just remember, the antidotes are persistence and resiliency.

4. Go on a Treasure Hunt and Find an Undeserved Niche

In the business world, there’s nothing more exciting than finding an underserved niche representing a lucrative market that everyone else has failed to spot and target. That’s like finding gold bullion at a crowded beach — it was there for everyone else to see, but you were the one who took notice of the golden glint in the sand. Look for ways to fill a niche — a road even small start-ups can take.

5. Spot a new Trend and Pounce

Often, a shift in cultural or economic trends will create new entrepreneurial opportunities. Sometimes that shift arises from advances in technology. Many of our profiled entrepreneurs recognized emerging consumer needs and desires that signaled new market opportunities.

6. Hit ‘Em Where They Ain’t

Whenever possible, set your sights on areas that your competitors have neglected or ignored.

7. Just Start

If you have an idea for a business, truly believe it will succeed, and are willing to push yourself harder than you ever have before, then take the risk and just get started. If your gut is telling you this business idea is a winner, take action now.

The “perfect” time for a business launch will never present itself. More often than not, waiting just gives would-be competitors the opportunity to beat you to the punch.

8. Save Your Bucks and Get Noticed Without Expensive Advertising

If your start-up business is on a tight budget, there are plenty of ways to get customers’ attention without spending money on advertising. Get your creative juices percolating and try something different. And when an opportunity arises to expose your brand to the masses, don’t think twice — jump right in. Use your own creativity to make your company stand out in a crowd.

9. Exploit Your Competitor’s Weakness and Make It Your Strength

The sharpest entrepreneurs have a knack for viewing the world from the perspective of their customers. That quality can help identify your competitors’ vulnerabilities and shortcomings. If your number one competitor has a reputation for slow deliveries, for example, make certain your deliveries arrive in less time. Engage and listen to customers to identify such weaknesses.

10. Never Stop Reinventing Your Company

You know the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? The problem with that piece of advice is that it invites complacency — and complacency in business is like a slow leak in a tire. You may not notice the damage it’s causing until the thing is completely flat and you can’t move forward. Top-performing entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to take chances and keep expanding their product line. They’re not afraid to give their business a major overhaul now and then to keep pace with changes in the marketplace.

We hope that you will find these traits beneficial for your own entrepreneurial journey.

Believe that growth and opportunity for this nation’s economy are inevitable. Look at the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur. Believe in the power of your ideas and just start the pursuit of your own entrepreneurial dream.

It’s up to you to reclaim the American Dream.

The above is an adapted excerpt from the book The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Who Built Great Businesses Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies For Success by Renee & Don Martin.

Copyright © 2010 Renee & Don Martin, authors of The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Who Built Great Businesses Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies For Success


Career Topic of the Decade: Meaningful Work

I’ve made up my mind. I am selecting “Meaningful Work” as the Topic of the Decade.

I hear more clients express a longing for meaningful work than any other career desire (even more than money), and this has been reaching a crescendo for the past few years.  Yes, I said longing. The definition of longing, as quoted on the internet, is ‘a prolonged unfulfilled desire or need.’

On suite101.com, Jerrry Lopper talks about creating meaning in a job in his blogpost entitled A Path to Happiness Through Meaningful Work. It’s worth a quick read because Jerry puts meaningful work in the context of recent happiness research.

I predict that Meaningful Work will be the topic of the decade or perhaps longer. By then maybe, just maybe, leaders will understand the unprecedented importance of retaining quality employees by providing them with enriching experiences to grow, learn and change.

And by 2015, when the job market turns around and organizations are scrambling to lure seasoned, wise workers along with fresh new minds to help them remain competitive, the light bulb might go off in the minds of managers that most people are multi-dimensional and intelligent creatures who have the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Could this mean that there are aspects to their lives other than work? Oh my!

Golly, if managers allowed employees some flexibility in their schedules, is it possible that a certain amount of respect and loyalty could return to the workplace?

Even in this tough economy, while American families are struggling to pay their monthly rent or mortgage and put food on the table, many individuals are courageous and driven enough to pursue meaningful work. Why? Because it’s an urgent factor for a fulfilled life.

Take Lynette Benton, for example. The opening sentence in her More Magazine article entitled After Burnout, A New Career Helping Writers is

I loved what my work had been, but not what it had become. So, I decided to leave altogether.

In her highly stressful position, Lynette found that she was not only becoming psychologically exhausted, she was experiencing worrisome physical symptoms. Her mind and body were telling her it was time to move on.

In Lynette’s case, the stress of her job pushed her towards finding another path. Not necessarily a new path, but one that had been waiting within her for years. (You can read Lynette’s blog at lynettebentonwriting.com )

It’s not always stress that pushes one towards a more rewarding or meaningful career; sometimes it’s job boredom or the ignorance of a boss who isn’t paying attention.

Is this part of a manager’s job?  You bet it is. Understanding the people that work for you and taking time to find out what their career goals are is one of the most important parts of a manager’s job.  If one is a creative thinker, there are usually several ways to build development into a person’s job at any given time.

Sometimes, without any external provocation, a person just reaches a simple yet profound realization that there is something else they just have to pursue in regards to their career.

And they do it.

You can bet there will be more info on the Topic of the Decade – Meaningful Work –  on this blog.

Any ideas? Please email them to me at tdp@workstrategies.com.

Thanks for listening.