Many of us grow up with the dream of being entrepreneurs. The thought of owning our own business, carving a new path, having freedom, and potentially having significant financial success is certainly an alluring one. At the same time, it is a difficult road and one which most dreamers never get to fully own.
As an entrepreneur for nearly a quarter of a century and having started 12 different businesses, I would like to share with you five keys to success that I believe every entrepreneur should know about.
Key #1: You Must Sell.
Regardless of your background, what you are interested in, or how you got into the business that you are in, as an entrepreneur, you must be willing to sell your product and service on a consistent basis. I know you thought you could hire your way out of this one, but you cannot.
The way to grow a new business or an entrepreneurial venture is to make sales.
Without significant effort in the sales process, your incredible product, life-changing service, the dreams you have created, and your hopes of a successful business will most likely be lost. Regardless of your background, sell.
Key #2: Operational Systems.
At the time when your entrepreneurial venture is still small, this is the time to create systems in the form of policies, procedures, and other documented systems for obtaining consistent results.
By documenting the steps in various processes, you will be able to build a company that is not centered around you and is instead centered around consistent systems that deliver results on a regular basis. Build standard operating procedures.
Key #3: Effort Over Talent.
In sports, business, and just about any other aspect of life, when I am building a team, I will take effort over talent any day. That means for you to build a successful company you must be willing to put in significant effort.
If you have been an entrepreneur for some time and have found success within your business, then you know what I am talking about. If you have yet to grow your business to profitability and start a successful company, you may be under the false pretense that you can do it working 40 hours a week or treating it like a job.
It is critical to understand that, as an entrepreneur, you are going to need to put in the effort of a dozen employees and maybe even more. This means you are going to have to be focused, consistent, and you cannot even think about giving up. Rely on your hard work, not just your talent.
Key #4: Exit Strategy.
From the very early stages of a business, it is critical that you develop an exit strategy. That means having an understanding of what the endgame is for your business, even if your “exit strategy” is not one that involves you exiting the business while you are still alive.
Regardless of what plans you have, it’s important to know how and when you plan on exiting the business, because it will drive many of the decisions you make as a business owner. While some are looking to quickly build a company that they can sell, others are looking to leave a legacy for themselves and their family, while others are interested in a lifestyle business that allows them to work hard to build something but then spend most of their time traveling the world and being with the ones they love, all while generating a sustainable income.
There are many more exit strategies but these are just a few samples. Determine your exit strategy even before you start your business.
Key #5: Balance is Power.
In every aspect of life, balance brings power and business is no different.
The most important asset your company will ever have is you, so take care of yourself. Make sure you understand that business is just one aspect of life.
While it is an important one that brings together many different facets and can help you provide for yourself and the ones you love, it is still only one aspect of life.
If you ignore your health, your family, skip out on having fun, and forget to grow in the process, you are leaving behind a big part of the puzzle. In the Titanium Wheel of Life, I talk about the fact that there are ten different areas we should all focus on balancing in life. One of those is our career and mission. Another is finances. But that leaves eight more areas to consider on a regular basis to have maximal success.
Being an entrepreneur is not easy but I can tell you firsthand it is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life.
I often tell people that entrepreneurship is like a virus and you should only pursue it if you have truly caught the bug, because it is not easy or rewarding unless you put your all into it.
I do not know where you are at in your business and what sort of success you are experiencing today, but I can tell you that in entrepreneurship, you will see significant failures and significant success. But the key is how you deal with your short-term failures and how quickly you get back up on your feet. Focus on applying these five keys every day and enjoy the success that most entrepreneurs only dream of.