7 Steps to Succeed as an Entrepreneur
If you can’t cope with the stress, worry, and overwhelming feelings that come with being an entrepreneur, chances are you won’t succeed. Not something you want to hear – however it is a brutal fact. Unless you do something about it, you will fail in business, burnout, or not sustain the momentum you need to get the results you want.
Biting the bullet, starting a business, and learning from experience as you go along is way too painful, and it can be very costly.
To succeed as an entrepreneur in this changing world, you don’t need the right conditions; you need the right platform to build enough momentum to get started and keep you on track.
Here are the 7 steps successful entrepreneurs use to gain the momentum they need to get amazing results.
1. They Create a Powerful Vision for the Future
You would think the best place to start when starting as an entrepreneur is to write a business plan and set some pretty hairy goals and objectives. Whoa! Stop right there. Two other things come before setting goals and objectives.
Imagine you are sitting in the passenger seat of a steam train, and in front, there’s a wagon filled with coal. Coal is the fuel the train needs to turn water into steam to pull the train out of the station. Except in this analogy, there is no engine and no furnace to burn the coal.
Obviously, the train is going nowhere, for, without an engine, it will remain motionless.
Your business plan is like that wagon filled with coal. Yes, the plan outlines all your goals and objectives, but something is missing – your strategic plan—your business’s visionary future. Without a vision mapped out for where you see your business in five-to-ten years, like the train analogy, you are missing the engine to drive your business forward.
The headlights in front of this imaginary train represent the future of a successful entrepreneur. They visualize success. They can see exactly what their business looks like five-to-ten years in the future as if it has already happened. This is what drives them and keeps them motivated – their dream. Their why. Their inspiration. Without that, they would have become another failed business person.
Their vision is the single overriding factor that keeps them motivated when faced with seemingly unbeatable challenges when times get tough. Their vision is their WHY they keep moving forward, not their goals and objectives.
It’s easy for those new to entrepreneurship to become disillusioned and frustrated during challenging times because of a lack of business momentum. Without a clear picture of what the future looks like, it is tempting to lose hope and give up on your dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur.
2. Entrepreneurs Live by Their Values
This imaginary train needs an engine to pull out of the station.
The engine represents the entrepreneur’s values and determines everything they do from making financial decisions, obeying the law, and hiring employees to the way they conduct themselves in business when no one is looking. Being true to their values allows successful entrepreneurs to ensure consistency in all they say and do in business. Their values strengthen the courage of their convictions and increase their levels of self-confidence and self-efficacy.
Successful entrepreneurs build trust in their suppliers, employees, and customers, for without trust, they wouldn’t have a successful business. Living and breathing their values is what builds trust and confidence, leading the way to success.
If you are an entrepreneur without values to guide you and your people in your everyday business activities, chances are you leave yourself and your people to take shortcuts. This dilutes the business’s very effectiveness as clients and prospects learn not to trust you and take their business elsewhere.
3. Their Goals are Aligned to Their Vision Values and Goals
Now the entrepreneur’s goals take on more relevance. Just as coal is needed to fuel a steam train, goals and objectives are the fuel that drives the entrepreneur’s business. Their vision is the inspiration behind their why – their goals and objectives are how they will achieve their vision.
Many new to entrepreneurship get confused with the why and the how. They spend too much focused on goals and objectives and not enough time focused on the why.
Goals set in isolation don’t work. It is like a steam train trying to pull out of a station with no engine. For goals to have relevance and drive momentum, they must be aligned to the entrepreneur’s vision for the future.
Perhaps a business goal for a start-up is to expand the business overseas without any oversight on how this might tie into a five-year strategic plan to become a market leader at home. They spend so much money penetrating new markets abroad; they run out of money to keep operating domestically and end up failing.
When business leaders set goals and objectives that aren’t tied to a greater vision or strategic plan, they might win the battle but lose the war. Consider the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. They may have won that battle but ultimately lost the war. The Japanese didn’t visualize how this attack would anger a powerful nation that went on to defeat them. This is an example of a goal set in isolation.
Goals that are aligned to vision and values have more power beyond the immediate achievement of a goal.
Successful entrepreneurs are inspired by a vision greater than themselves, and when their goals are aligned with their vision, this creates unstoppable momentum.
4. They Believe in Themselves
“It doesn’t matter how many millions of people believe in you; it means nothing if you don’t believe in yourself.”
Successful entrepreneurs have this unwavering belief in themselves and their vision. Their vision drives them when faced with insurmountable challenges. Most people have heard of Mickey Mouse and Disneyland. Walt Disney didn’t have it easy; in fact, he was fired by the editor of a newspaper he worked for because he “had no good ideas and lacked imagination.” What he didn’t lack was self-belief, and the rest is history. There are many examples of entrepreneurs who kept their vision alive by believing in themselves.
Self-reflection will help you as an entrepreneur by understanding your triggers and what is holding you back. If you can’t uncover the barriers to success yourself, you may need the help of a business coach or life coach.
5. They Make Good Choices
Successful entrepreneurs make good choices. This may seem obvious, but it isn’t as easy as you think. When successful entrepreneurs wake up each day, they know exactly what they need to do that day to drive their business into the future. With their vision clearly in sight, they make choices aligned to their values and goals. They don’t make excuses for not making that prospecting phone call, putting off a meeting, or failing to address performance issues, or not pay bills on time. They own their mistakes and share their successes.
Unsuccessful entrepreneurs wake up each day full of excuses as to why their business isn’t succeeding. It’s the market! It’s the employees not doing their job! If only this or only that! Worse still, they know what they should be doing and procrastinate instead – leading to their demise. They haven’t learned, yet, successful entrepreneurs make choices based on their values and are aligned to the vision and goals.
6. Entrepreneurs Take Action
As obvious as this may seem, it’s confusing to many. It’s one thing to make a choice and decide what to do; it’s quite another to act upon that decision. Consider this:
There are three birds sitting on a wire, and one decides to fly away. How many birds are left?
Most people will answer three. The correct answer is two. Just because one bird made a decision o fly away, it doesn’t mean it actually took action and flew away. How many people make statements like:
- I decided to go on a diet.
- I decided to start exercising.
- I decided to start going to networking meetings.
- I decided to go back to school and study more.
And……. they don’t!
Successful entrepreneurs don’t just make a decision, they choose to take action, and the result is, they build the momentum a little each day to get the results they want. Every action or inaction produces a result.
What makes entrepreneurs very successful is that their decisions, choices, and actions are all aligned to their vision, values, and goals.
7. They Get The Results They Want
The final step that highly successful entrepreneurs take after achieving the results they want and realizing their vision is they go back to the drawing board to create a new vision for the future to keep up the momentum they have already built.
There’s something else they do well; they know when and where they need help. They understand they can’t do it all themselves; therefore, they will invest in an advisor, business coach, and even a life coach because it is impossible to see all your strengths and weaknesses yourself.
It takes an impartial outsider to see things as they really are, not as you want them to be.
Learning to lead, learning to run a business is no easy task. It takes time and education to transform yourself into the leader you want to be. It all starts with learning how to hire and manage people. It is your communication and people skills that separate the wheat from the chaff.
To find out how you stack up as a leader. You never know what others see that you don’t see yourself. This kind of feedback is not always negative, perhaps you have great attributes and talents you weren’t even aware of.
Learn to Thrive Not Just Survive
80% of business owners do little more than just survive. They often make less than in full paid employment. They can’t take sick leave, they usually work longer hours and take less vacations.
Are you wasting money on marketing campaigns that don’t work? Are you tired of working long hours and feel like you are getting nowhere? Are you fed up with not making the profits you want to make? Perhaps you want to scale up and grow your business?
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