Google recently conducted a survey to see what young people think about popular brands. It turns out that brands with an entrepreneurial story behind them are considered the coolest.
Companies with cachet among the younger generations included Tesla, Facebook, Apple and Airbnb. Millennials and Gen Zers (the cohort younger than millennials) admire enterprising technologists like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs for their success inventing tech that has reshaped the world around us.
Though youth imbues a sense of possibility but inexperience blinds youth to the realities of entrepreneurship. Below are seven misconceptions young people have about entrepreneurship. Being aware of these will help budding entrepreneurs to establish more successful companies.
1. Education and tech entrepreneurship are incompatible
Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates all dropped out of school to start wildly successful tech companies. According to their legends, these visionaries didn’t need a degree in order to create multibillion-dollar businesses. In fact, some might say that their education was a hindrance to their entrepreneurial spirit.
But Jobs, Zuckerberg and Gates are exceptions. In most cases, aspiring entrepreneurs will benefit from lessons learned in the classroom. Readers should also note that these dropouts were stellar, dedicated students (inside and outside of the classroom) until they left academia. Zuckerberg and Gates were such good students that they were able to attend Harvard University.
Related: 9 Top Tips For Young Entrepreneurs
2. Great products don’t need to be marketed
Some have a misconception that great products don’t need sophisticated marketing plans in order to catch on. Young people aren’t the only ones who embrace this misconception, but it seems particularly prevalent among young entrepreneurs, who tend to focus on products instead of marketing.
However, it’s important to recognse that “field of dreams marketing” is exactly that – a dream. If you build it, customers won’t automatically come. The market must be educated about new products, especially when they are disruptive.
Take the iPod as one example. The product itself had been done before. Sony had already produced MP3 players. But the iPod caught on because the product was particularly well executed, and because of a marketing strategy that captured people’s attention.
The slogan “1000 songs in your pocket” was a stroke of marketing genius that helped to propel Apple to new heights.
3. The most successful businesses are based on the best ideas
As entrepreneurs we often believe that the best businesses are based on the best ideas. But in reality, the best businesses are the ones that are able to successfully execute a good idea.
While these two notions are similar, they are not the same. Organisations based on a good idea have the ability to address a real pain point with an acceptable solution. Furthermore, they are able to deploy that solution efficiently.
Simply thinking of a great idea is invention, not entrepreneurship. To be a successful entrepreneur, you must learn the business skills required to bring an idea to market.
4. Smart employees don’t need to be managed
Some young entrepreneurs believe that successful businesses simply need to hire smart people, and the rest will work out somehow.
But even smart people need to be well managed. Take Google as an example. In 1998 Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin hired Eric Schmidt to become the company’s CEO. Page and Brin realised that the organisation would need experienced leaders in order to succeed.
Schmidt ensured that Google had a solid layer of management in place to keep Google’s smart employees on track.
5. The customers don’t know what they need
In some instances, entrepreneurs have been able to start successful businesses by ignoring customer feedback. When Apple was developing the iPhone, most consumers would likely have asked for a smartphone with a better keyboard or a bigger screen. But few could have conceived of the revolutionary device Apple created.
However, while some entrepreneurs are able to develop a product or service that transforms consumer expectations, in most cases, listening to the customer is essential when developing a new business.
6. Success will come quickly or not at all
Young people look at entrepreneurs like Brian Chesky, who was 26 when he co-founded Airbnb, and assume that success will either come early in life, or not at all. But the reality is, success often takes time to materialise.
As mentioned earlier, thinking of a great idea is just the first step in creating a successful business. Execution of that idea is often the most important component of success. But learning important business skills requires years of experience, which is why success often takes longer than expected.
7. Older people aren’t innovative
It’s a misconception as old as time: older people aren’t innovative. The reality is that every successful business relies on a combination of innovation and experience to succeed. In order for your business to move from a great idea to great execution, it will require all sorts of skills, and some of them can only be acquired with time.
Young entrepreneurs often look to a handful of hugely successful companies as evidence that entrepreneurship should take a certain form. In reality, entrepreneurship is more amorphous. Once young people set aside misconceptions about what it takes to launch a successful business, they will be more likely to develop a business that performs well.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
5 Fierce Ways To Become The Ultimate Entrepreneur
What does the ultimate entrepreneur look like? The truth is that although we aspire to many of our role models, success is personal. Here are five ways to find your own ‘ultimate’ success.
For some, the ultimate entrepreneur might be someone like Elon Musk — working non-stop, rich beyond measure, but with no balance in life.
For others it might simply be someone who has built a business that will sustain them; an entrepreneur who is successful but also prioritises other aspects of their life. Take a second. Think about it. What does it mean to you?
In my view the ultimate entrepreneur is focused, has copious amounts of positive energy, a supportive network, is mentally tough, has their priorities in order and has a steadfast idea towards which they are working.
Here are five ways to go about building yourself into the ultimate entrepreneur (or at least my version of one).
1. Seed your day with energy enhancers
Your energy is your secret weapon. You should protect and enhance it at all costs. When I talk about energy I am referring to both physical and mental energy. There is an esoteric component to this as well, but we will leave that discussion for another day.
How can you enhance your physical energy? The simplest way is to get enough sleep, drink enough water, and clean up your diet. It really is as simple as that. Just get the basics right.
How can you enhance your mental energy? Remove friends and influences that drain you and replace them with a network of people who support you and can appreciate the level at which you are playing. I also suggest to my clients that they carry small symbols with them that can remind them of the goals they are working towards and other things that are important to them.
2. Train for mental toughness
Mental toughness is the ability to pursue your goals with a positive attitude amidst the challenges and chaos of life. The most important thing I want you to know about mental toughness is that it is trained. This means that you must put in the effort and time to develop a stronger mentality.
The two important skills to train are:
- Self-awareness. In other words, becoming aware of the moment that you start latching on to negativity or succumbing to images of a future that might never come to pass.
- Creating a strong counter visualisation. This visualisation ideally contains emotionally-charged images of the big goal that you are working towards, the person that you are becoming, and the things that matter to you.
Mental toughness does not ignore the problem. It simply allows you to keep moving forward while you figure things out.
3. Create a support network
It’s a great feeling when you finally find people who get it. They get what you are trying to build and the pressures and challenges you face. I’d love to tell you that such people are all around you, but the truth is that they aren’t. You must go looking for them. At events, on social media, at business forums, really wherever entrepreneurs congregate.
As with most things you need to realise the importance of time in building such a network. So, start sooner than later. One day you will wake up and realise that the people you once admired are now peers and form part of your network. It’s a great feeling. But start now.
3. Zoom out
You are not your business. This is important and difficult for entrepreneurs to hear. Business is such a personal thing. Especially in the early days when you literally are your business. At some point however, you need to realise that you cannot let your business consume your life. It’s one component of your life, not its entirety.
So, make sure that you are looking after and making time for your health, your relationships, your energy levels, your creativity, and your hobbies.
4. Is it all about the money?
This ties in to the previous point but also to a greater purpose. I get why money is such an important metric early on. We need it to survive, and to that end, focusing on creating more money in your business is a great goal. However, money always seems like an important thing to chase, until we have enough but are still found wanting for something more.
I think there is purpose in you just being alive, but I also believe that we create purpose with our intentions and actions. You might not currently know what a crafted purpose looks like, and that’s okay. I would encourage you to consider what your life (and business) looks like in the bigger context of serving others.
The ultimate entrepreneur is an ideal that you must create for yourself. Don’t copy the greats. Build your own version 2.0 and make it damn good.
Awaken Your Entrepreneurial Spirit
Got a great business idea? Here’s how you can awaken your inner entrepreneur and turn that idea into income – by Dr John Demartini, human behaviourist and founder of The Demartini Institute.
Whether you’re keen to start a business in services or hospitality, food or retail, all entrepreneurial ventures have two things in common: you, and the people you want to serve. Together, you form a community bound together by values, and this is what determines your success. That’s because the more your venture allows you to live by your highest values or priorities, the more prepared you’ll be to weather the storms that are an inevitable part of entrepreneurialism and ultimately be able to thrive. On the other hand, the more you’re able to fulfil other people’s needs, the greater your chances of success.
1. Find your niche
A niche is a gap, a need that is currently not addressed by existing businesses. There are all kinds of niches; some are completely disruptive (like Uber, which revolutionised public transport), others simply improve upon an existing concept. But, just because you have identified a niche, doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. You need to make sure it’s a niche that speaks to your market’s needs, while also speaking to your individual needs or highest values.
To do this, you have to make sure that you are clear on your own highest values:
- What is important to you?
- What are your priorities?
- How can you use your business to fulfil these?
If you can’t answer these questions, you may find that you don’t have the energy or resilience to invest in what is an undeniably challenging career path. At the same time, you also need to make sure that you are in tune with the dominant buying motives or highest values of your market. If not, you are simply assuming that there is a need for your product or service, when there might not be. The more you are able to answer the market’s highest need or value, the greater your chances of making a sale.
2. Think innovation
The most successful entrepreneurs are those who improve life for others. Again, Uber stands out as a great example. That’s why it’s not enough simply to have a good head for business: If you’re set on an entrepreneurial career, you need to cultivate an inventive mindset. You need to be constantly on the lookout for the gaps in current offerings so that you can address them and, in so doing, offer people an improved product or service. It’s about creating efficiency and convenience. But, as I’ve previously mentioned, innovation isn’t always new; sometimes, it’s just better.
Richard Branson stands out as a prime example of an entrepreneur who finds dinosaur companies with big brand names that overcharge people because they are well known. He offers to do the same thing at a fraction of the price. He’s not offering anything new; but he is offering improvement and greater efficiency.
3. Focus on problem-solving
You need to be clear on the fact that entrepreneurialism isn’t solely about making money. It’s also about upgrading people’s quality of life. In this way, entrepreneurialism has an inextricably humanitarian component. Once you start focusing on how you can solve the problems that dog our society, you’ll have found a truly rewarding niche – one that’s not only financially rewarding, but one which allows you to service the largest number of people.
4. Keep looking for opportunities
The ability to identify and pursue opportunities is hardwired in most entrepreneurs; it’s part of their DNA. It must be, because this is the only way you will be able to keep refining, building and expanding your business.
4 Entry-Level Jobs That Will Prep You For Entrepreneurial Success
Success is a journey, not a destination, so think hard about where to start.
Entrepreneurship might look like an unruly beast, especially when larger corporations are involved. However, those in the daily grind of entry-level positions are already developing the necessary skills to bring this wayward creature to heel.
“One of the first truths you’ll learn about entrepreneurship is that you’re 100 percent responsible for your success or failure,” says fellow Entrepreneur columnist Mike Monroe.
Entry-level positions in many different areas – including sales, marketing, development, project management and customer service – provide the perfect environment for future entrepreneurs to learn that truth and hone their skills.
Learning to fly from the ground up
While the average entrepreneur is 40 years old, younger people eager to make their own way have plenty of developmental opportunities that can help them hit the ground running. According to a 2017 survey from Heidrick & Struggles, nearly 15 percent of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies started in the sales department. These high-powered executives didn’t waltz into the C-suite on day one; they learned the tricks of the trade on the front lines with everyone else.
If you crave the life of an entrepreneur, don’t let the barriers to entry get you down. Take one of the following entry-level jobs and use your time in the workforce to get the experience you need to launch your own business.
Inbound or outbound, sales experience can give any would-be entrepreneur a leg up. Not only do you learn how to communicate effectively in a sales position; you must also understand the products you sell (and the brand behind them).
A job in sales will teach you to stop trying to convince people that they need what you have and start listening to what they want. Once you recognise that the market dictates what you sell, and not the other way around, you’ll be prepared to run a successful start-up.
2. Human resources
HR pros keep businesses running. If you work as one, you will quickly learn how much things like timely payment, accurate sick-day counts and health insurance matter to workers. To keep your team happy, you’ll need to know what employees consider to be important. What better way to learn that than to take a job where they let you know?
Jobs in HR also provide crash courses in communication skills and legal compliance. For example, it’s much better to learn that a manager can’t force an employee with folliculitis to shave his beard before the decision affects your pocketbook.
3. Customer service
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in: If you deal directly with customers, you learn how to handle tasks quickly while keeping a friendly face.
Customers range from the kindest people you will ever meet to those who become enraged when they can’t double their coupons. As an entrepreneur, you and your team will deal with all of them. Learn how to respond to customer complaints on someone else’s dime, so that when it’s your turn to do so, your learning experiences won’t have a negative impact on your bottom line.
To be a truly successful entrepreneur, you must learn how to lead a team. Leaders invariably learn some tough lessons at the helm, but if you wait until you are running the whole operation, those lessons could cost you some of your best workers.
This may seem like an odd suggestion for an article on entry-level positions, but note that you don’t need to be in a leadership position to learn leadership skills. From your first day on a job, your supervisors will be sizing up your initiative-taking ability and your critical-thinking and time-management skills to determine whether you have the capabilities necessary to take on more complicated projects. Look for opportunities to listen effectively and motivate those around you – this will help you hone your leadership craft until you get the opportunity to take on the role for yourself.
These positions and skill sets provide invaluable lessons for entrepreneurs, but they’re hardly the only ones. Reporters, insurance adjusters, accountants, teachers and consultants – these jobs and many others are full of learning opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs.
If you have to work for someone else before you found your own company, don’t treat the opportunity with disdain. Learn everything you can on the job, so that when your time comes you can use those lessons to lead your company to success.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Business Ideas Directory1 week ago
20 Innovative Business Ideas Doing Well Overseas (That Could Make You Money In SA)
Business Advice for Women Entrepreneurs2 weeks ago
How I Run An International Business From A Remote Beach Town In The Eastern Cape
Entrepreneur Profiles2 weeks ago
30 Top Influential SA Business Leaders
Women Entrepreneur Successes1 day ago
Alphabet Soup Founder Nikki Lewin Discusses How They Compete With The Big Boys
Entrepreneur Profiles2 weeks ago
Kid Entrepreneurs Who Have Already Built Successful Businesses (And How You Can Too)
Women Entrepreneur Successes1 day ago
Erna Basson Of Erabella Hair Extensions On Acting The Part And Finding The Gap
Entrepreneur Today1 week ago
Nedbank Brings Silicon Valley’s Plug And Play To Africa In Disruption First For The Continent
Lessons Learnt2 weeks ago
6 Habits Long-Time Millionaires Rely On To Stay Rich