In recent years, I’ve been fortunate enough to be one of the judges in a competition interviewing a host of entrepreneurs for a prestigious annual award. To say I found the experience humbling and inspirational sounds like a contradiction, but it was exactly that.
In a world inundated by technological advancements and science, it is often only the most original ideas that stand out in a crowd. This is why some entrepreneurs achieve far greater all-round success than others ever do. What some don’t realise is that the most challenging phase of all is the rest of their lives.
The entrepreneurial spirit
To succeed in any business you have to be an entrepreneur; the more entrepreneurial you are, the more you will be able to add value to your business. In my opinion, it is not only the start-up phase, or the second phase that should be the focus of your attention. You should draw on every ounce of your entrepreneurial skill to focus on value creation. By constantly working to make your business more and more valuable, you not only enjoy the benefits of watching it grow, but you are making it a desirable business – and we all know what that means. One day when you eventually decide that you have earned the right to ease off and enjoy the fruits of your labour, there will be plenty of bidders waiting to buy your successful venture.
Building equity in your business pays handsome dividends for everyone concerned, and not only in the long-term. By maximising equity you will be better off when you finally decide to sell your business. There are many interim benefits that will accrue to you personally, your family, and your employees, if you take good care of your business. For starters, you will enjoy a much-improved cash flow with far less stress. This all sounds very appealing, but what are the secret ingredients for success?
1. Your business is an asset. view it as such.
You have to see the business as a tangible asset, just as we see our home or our car. The asset has a lot more appeal and it brings considerably more pleasure when it is kept clean and is well-looked after.
2. Like-minded employees.
While we may all like to think we have the best people to do the job in our business, we have to ask, “Do we really?” Unless we have a team of likeminded employees (regardless of their positions), we simply won’t succeed.
3. Employees should buy in to your philosophy.
If they do, they will be able to lock your clients in to your products and services. After all, your primary objective is to provide such outstanding service to your clients that they will never even think of abandoning you for someone else. In this competitive world, you cannot allow that thought to cross their minds.
4. Target the consumers you want to keep as clients.
Never allow them out of your sight. Teach your employees to believe that to lose a client is an unforgivable offence. Treat them in the same way you would like to be dealt with if you were a client of your company.
5. In short, you have to instill a culture of ownership.
Your employees must believe that they too, own the business. Mistakes are acceptable. What is not acceptable is when a mistake, once realised, is not rectified immediately.
From thoughts to action
When interviewing these strong-willed and innovative entrepreneurs, it was quite amazing to hear how they put their ideas and thoughts into action and that they had the courage to do so. Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but it definitely has its just rewards, and not all of them are financial. In conclusion, I quote my good friend Robbie Brozin of Nando’s fame: “There are no extraordinary people, only ordinary people doing extraordinary things”.