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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

The 7 Essential Principles Necessary for Business Success

Ever wish you had a cheat sheet for starting a great business? Icon Brian Tracy’s seven core principles are as close to it as you can get.

Brian Tracy

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There are seven essential principles that you must practice as an entrepreneur throughout your business life if you are to achieve maximum success. They have been taught and repeated in thousands of books and articles over the years, and here they are.

Absolute clarity

You must be absolutely clear on who you are and what you want. You need written goals and plans for every part of your life. As Zig Ziglar would say, you must become a “meaningful specific” rather than a “wandering generality”.

Begin with your values:

  • What do you believe in and stand for?
  • What is most important to you in life?
  • What would you pay for, fight for, suffer for and die for?
  • What do you really care about?

Someone once wrote, “Until you know exactly what you would do if you only had one hour left to live, you are not prepared to live.”

  • What is your vision for yourself and your future?
  • What is your vision for your family and your finances?
  • What is your vision for your career and your company?

Peter Drucker once wrote, “Even if you are starting your business on a kitchen table, you must have a vision of becoming a world leader in your field, or you will probably never be successful.”

  • What is your mission for your business?
  • What is it that you want to accomplish for your customers?
  • What is it that you want to do to improve the lives and work of the people you intend to serve with your products and services?

You need a clear vision and an inspiring mission to motivate yourself and others to do the hard work necessary to achieve business success.

  • What is your purpose for your life and your business?
  • Why do you get up in the morning?
  • What is your reason for being?
  • And here’s a great question: What do you really want to do with your life?

Finally, what are your goals:

  • What do you want to accomplish in your financial life?
  • What are your family goals?
  • What are your health goals?
  • What difference do you want to make in the lives of others?
  • And here is the best question: What would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?

The greater the clarity you have regarding each of these issues – values, vision, mission, purpose and goals – the greater the probability that you will accomplish something wonderful with your life.

Competence

To be truly successful and happy, you must be very good at what you do. You must resolve to join the top 10% in your field. You must make excellent performance of the business task your primary goal and then dedicate all your energies to doing quality work and offering quality products and services.

To be successful in business, according to Jim Collins, author of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, you must find a field that satisfies three requirements. First, it must be something for which you have a passion – something you really believe in and love to do. Second, it must be an area where you have the potential to be the best, to be better than 90% of the people in that field. Third, it must involve a product or service that can be profitable and enable you to achieve all your financial goals.

According to the Harvard Business School, the most valuable asset a company can develop is its reputation. Your reputation is defined as “how you are known to your customers.” And the most important reputation you can have revolves around the quality of the products and services you offer and the quality of the people who deliver those services and interact with those customers.

Related: Do You Have the Entrepreneur Gene?

Constraints

Between you and your goal, whatever it is, there will always be a constraint or limiting factor. Your ability to identify the most important factor that determines the speed at which you achieve your business goals is essential to your success.

The 80/20 rule applies to constraints in your business. Fully 80% of the reasons that you are not achieving your goals as quickly as you want will be within yourself. Only 20% will be contained in external circumstances or people. What are your constraints? What holds you back? What sets the speed at which you achieve your goals? And what one thing could you do immediately to begin alleviating your main constraint? This is often the key to rapid progress.

Creativity

The essence of successful business is innovation. This is the ability to find faster, better, cheaper, easier ways to produce and deliver your products and services.

Fortunately, almost everyone is a “potential genius.” You have more intelligence and ability than you could ever use. Your job is to unleash this creativity and focus it, like a laser beam, on removing obstacles, solving problems and achieving your goals. The essence of creativity is contained in your ability to solve the inevitable problems and difficulties of business life. Colin Powell said, “Leadership is the ability to solve problems.” Success is the ability to solve problems. And remember: A goal unachieved is merely a problem unsolved.

The way of the successful entrepreneur is to focus on the solution rather than the problem. Focus on what is to be done rather than what has happened or who is to blame. Concentrate all your attention on finding a solution to any obstacle that is holding you back from the sales and profitability you desire. And the more you think about solutions, the more solutions you will think of. You will actually feel yourself getting smarter by focusing all your energies on what you can do to continually improve your situation.

Concentration

Your ability to concentrate single-mindedly on the most important thing and stay at it until it is complete is an essential prerequisite for success. No success is possible without the ability to practice sustained concentration on a single goal or task, in a single direction.

The simplest way to learn to concentrate is to make a list for each day before you begin. Then prioritise the list by putting the numbers 1 through 10 next to each item. Once you have determined your most important task, immediately begin to work on that task. Discipline yourself to continue working until that top task is 100% complete. When you make a habit of doing this – starting and completing your most important tasks each day – you will double or triple your productivity and put yourself solidly on the way to wealth.

Related: Do You Have the Right Kind of Confidence?

Courage

Winston Churchill once wrote, “Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend.” It takes tremendous courage to take the entrepreneurial risks necessary to become wealthy. In study after study, experts have concluded it is the courage to take the “first step” that makes all the difference. This is the courage to launch in the direction of your goals, with no guarantee of success. Most people lack this.

Once you have begun your entrepreneurial journey, you also need the courage to persist. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “All great successes are the triumph of persistence.”

The word entrepreneur means “one who undertakes the risks of a new venture in pursuit of profit.” Fully 90% of the population will never have sufficient courage to launch a new venture, to start a new business, to boldly go where no one has gone before. You need, first of all, the courage to begin, to move out of your comfort zone in the direction of your goals and dreams, even though you know you will experience many problems, difficulties and temporary failures along the way.

Second, you need the courage to endure, to hang in there, to persist in the face of all adversity until you finally win. When you develop these twin qualities – the ability to step out in faith and then to persist resolutely in the face of all difficulties – your success is guaranteed.

Continuous action

Perhaps the most outwardly identifiable quality of a successful person is that he or she is in continuous motion. The entrepreneur is always trying new things and, if they don’t work, trying something else. It turns out that most entrepreneurs achieve their success in an area completely different from what they had initially expected. But because they continually reacted and responded constructively to change, trying new methods, abandoning activities that didn’t work, picking themselves up after every defeat and trying once more, they eventually won out.

Top people, especially entrepreneurs, seem to have these three qualities. First, they learn more things. Second, they try more things. Third, they persist longer than anyone else. The good news is that, because of the law of probabilities, if you learn more things, try more things and persist longer, you dramatically increase the probability that you will succeed greatly. If you launch toward your goal and resolve in advance to never give up, your success is virtually guaranteed.

The ultimate reward

My friend Jim Rohn once said, “the greatest reward in becoming a millionaire is not the amount of money that you earn. it is the kind of person that you have to become to become a millionaire in the first place.”

To have more, you must first be more. For you to set out on the way to wealth and become a self-made entrepreneurial millionaire, you will have to develop many qualities at a higher level than you ever have before. You will have to become an exceptional person. You will have to become more than you ever imagined possible for you.

To realise your full potential and achieve all your financial goals in your own business, you must develop the virtues of integrity, courage and persistence to a much higher level than you have up to now. You will have to practice the qualities of clarity, competence, creativity, concentration and continuous action until they are as natural to you as breathing. You will have to accept complete responsibility for your life and everything that happens to you, and especially for the way you think in every area.

When you develop these qualities and become a completely different person, you will eventually achieve all your goals in life, including financial success. The best part of becoming an extraordinary person is that, if something happens and you lose it all, it won’t really matter. Because you have become a different person, you will be able to make it all back again and more, far faster than the first time.

Welcome to The Way to Wealth

You are about to embark on a grand adventure that may last for the rest of your working lifetime. But if you have the courage to begin and the persistence to endure, nothing can hold you back from achieving all your goals and dreams. If you decide that, no matter what, you will never give up, you will eventually become unstoppable.

Action plan

Take these steps to get going on your business goals.

  • Decide exactly what you want in life in each area, and write it down. Make your goals clear, specific and measurable.
  • Specify the most important skill you could develop to move you into the top 10% of people in your field. Then do something immediately to begin developing that skill.
  • Identify the major constraint or limiting factor inside yourself or in your world that is setting the speed at which you achieve your most important goal, and begin working on removing that constraint today.
  • Determine the single biggest problem or obstacle in your business or personal life. Then focus all your time and attention on the possible solutions.
  • Make a list of what you would want to be, do and have if you had no limitations and you were absolutely guaranteed success.
  • Accept complete responsibility for your life. From this day forward, refuse to make excuses or blame anyone for anything. Instead, take action to make your goals a reality.
  • Reaffirm and visualise your goals of financial success, excellent health and personal happiness as a reality. Remember, the person you see is the person you will be.

Brian Tracy is the most-listened-to audio author on personal and business success in the world. His talks and seminars on leadership, sales, managerial effectiveness and business strategy provide people with proven ideas and strategies that they can implement immediately for improved results.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

12 Entrepreneurial Traits That Will Tempt You To Quit Your Job Immediately

Unhappy in your job? It’s possible you’re an entrepreneur.

John Rampton

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You’re sitting at your desk one day, and a light bulb goes off for a business idea. After a couple of days spent contemplating the idea, you decide it’s not worth pursuing.

While the idea might not have been as great as you initially thought, the reality might be that you’re uncertain if  you are cut out to be your own boss. After all, starting and running a business isn’t for the faint of heart.

You may actually have what it takes to be an entrepreneur but you have been focused on providing for your family or just need a little spark to ignite that fire. If you’ve been on the fence about entrepreneurship, see if you have the following traits.

1. Your “business mind” began spinning at a young age

Think back to when you were young. Were you the type of kid who was making money with a side gig? That’s one of the most common denominators linking successful entrepreneurs.

For example, Daymond John created customised pencils for girls in his first-grade class. Mark Cuban sold trash bags in his neighbourhood as a 12-year-old. Richard Branson bred and sold parakeets. Juliette Brindak designed a website at age 16 that went on to be worth $30 million.

Simply put, the gears of an entrepreneur’s “business mind” start spinning at an early age. If you’ve always been looking for ways to make money, you’ve probably been an entrepreneur your whole life – you just didn’t realise it.

2. You’re a self-starter

Entrepreneurs are known for carving their own paths. They don’t follow others, wait for permission or let distractions get in their way.

Reflect on your life. Did you start an organisation in college? Have you volunteered for a local charity? When there’s a project to complete at work, have you been the person to take the reins and rally the troops?

These are signs that you have a get-it-done personality, which is essential to making your vision a reality. This is a very good sign you’re an entrepreneur.

Related: 10 Things You Must Do Before Quitting Your Job To Start Your Company

3. You think like MacGyver

Back in the ’80s, there was an amazing TV show called “MacGyver – there’s a reimagined version currently on-air. The series was about Angus “Mac” MacGyver, who was a troubleshooter with unconventional problem-solving skills. One time, he made a hot-air balloon out of a soccer ball, kerosene, newspapers and cotton.

Entrepreneurs are also troubleshooters who develop innovative and out-of-the-box ideas to solve problems. They are resourceful and think quickly on their feet.

4. Losing gets you fired up

No one likes to lose. But there’s a big difference between entrepreneurs and everyone else – they’re motivated by setbacks.

They don’t make excuses, complain or give up. Instead, they use setbacks as motivation. Take Gary Vaynerchuk, for example. He loves losing. It sounds a bit out there. But, as he explains, “I’m obsessed with losing.” The reason? “I love losing, because I know what you’re thinking about my loss, and I can’t wait to stick it in your face when I come back.”

5. You’re driven by passion

Passion: It drives us to take risks and pursue our dreams. For entrepreneurs, this also means focusing only on the goals they’re passionate about. It encourages them to see those goals through – regardless of distractions or hurdles.

If you’re the type of person who works out when you’re in pain or completes a project at your current gig before the deadline, you’re driven by passion.

Related: 9 Reasons To Quit Your Job As Soon As You Can

6. You are easily bored

Do you find yourself easily bored? Some people might think that’s a problem. There’s nothing wrong with being bored with activities that don’t use your abilities or aren’t challenging.

That’s why throughout school, you couldn’t stand most of the classes you attended. They either weren’t difficult enough or you just couldn’t sustain any interest – you knew you wouldn’t be using the information presented to you.

7. You’re able to delay gratification

Few successful entrepreneurs experienced overnight success. The reality is that it may take years, if not decades, for entrepreneurs to develop and launch a business. Even after they start their business, it takes a decent amount of time to start turning a profit. It takes many around three years, but this can vary.

Because of this, entrepreneurs must be patient and willing to delay gratification. At the same time, they can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

8. At work, you’re a super connector; at home, you’re a loner

When you’re at work, are you a rock star? This means you excel at your job, and people flock to you. When you get home, are you more of a loner?

That’s not exactly shocking. Entrepreneurs place a huge emphasis on their work. Even bigger on having productive habits at work. It’s their priority – even at the expense of close personal relationships.

Richard Branson has said that “Business is all about personal contact. No matter how heavy your workload is, do not allow yourself to work in your cubicle or office all day, every day – for your own well-being and the health of your business, you need to get out and about, meeting people and developing relationships.”

Related: Why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Job To Start A Business

9. You can spot trends

When entrepreneurs are out and about, they’re taking stock of what’s going on around them. It’s not some strange safety precaution. It’s because they’re looking for trends and analysing what customers are demanding.

Take Beanie Babies, for example. The craze started when a community in the Chicago suburbs started trading the stuffed animals. After it went national, Peggy Gallagher noticed it hadn’t reached Germany. Gallagher contacted a distributor in Germany and placed an order for $2 000. She brought the box of hard-to-find stuffed animals back to the States and made an impressive $300 000.

10. You go big or go home

“We’re often told not to ‘bet the house’ on anything,” writes Lauren Elmore, president of Firmatek. “It’s generally good advice. But the best business advice I’ve received is actually the opposite: Bet the house on it.”

“Betting the house is the best piece of advice I’ve received because it’s not a singular thing to do,” explains Elmore. “It’s a way of life and a mentality that promotes taking risks and giving everything you have to make it work.”

Of course, just because you go all-in doesn’t mean you do so carelessly. Entrepreneurs minimise risks by surrounding themselves with the right people, being resilient and addressing their fears to let them go.

11. You’ve had a history of losing jobs

Have you bounced from job to job because you got fired? Don’t be embarrassed. You’re just too creative, driven and self-motivated to work for someone else.

I’d even say you may be a bit selfish – why should someone else reap the benefits of your hard work and talent?

Related: 20 Signs That You Should Quit Your Job (Infographic)

12. You’re never satisfied

In school, did you best your classmates in academics or sports, but still feel disappointed? Do you have more sales than your colleagues, but it’s still not enough?

You’re constantly striving for more because you realise victories are short-lived. That’s why you see a lot of entrepreneurs start a thriving business and move on to another – they want to tackle new challenges and setbacks.

You may not have made the entrepreneurial leap yet, but if these 12 traits sound familiar, it’s more likely a matter of “when,” not “if.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

Want To Get That Side Hustle You’ve Been Dreaming Of Off The Ground This Year?

Stop dreaming. Carve out 30 minutes a night after the kids are in bed, and start putting together something tangible.

Syed Balkhi

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Want to make extra income? Who doesn’t? That’s why so many people in recent years have been taking their talents and skills and turning them into a side hustle. In fact, according to a recent survey from Bankrate, nearly four in 10 Americans polled (37 percent) said they have a side hustle.

Unfortunately, though, a lot of people get stuck in the “dreaming” stage. They sit around brainstorming ideas and dreaming of the day they have a successful side hustle that brings them joy and money but never actually get started. Well, scratch that: This is the year to turn it all around.

And to do that, and get one step (or multiple steps) closer to turning your side gig idea into an actual money-maker, check out these five tips for how to get your side hustle off the ground this year.

1. Change your mindset

A lot of people never get their side hustle off the ground because they have the wrong mindset. I know it seems simple, but believing in yourself and thinking of yourself as a business owner and not just a hobbyist will make all of the difference when it comes to starting a successful side hustle.

Even if you’re nowhere near to being a successful business owner yet, act like one. In fact, the “fake it until you make it” strategy actually works. According to a study in Psychology Today, people gain influence by acting dominant and confident. This strategy has the ability to convince people you’re serious about your side hustle and can win you customers, too.

Related: 20 South African Side-Hustles You Can Start This Weekend

2. Create an agenda

You can’t expect your side hustle to take flight on its own; you’ve got to put in the hours to get it off the ground. I know it’s hard to feel motivated to do that when you’ve already got a full-time job and a ton of other responsibilities, but you’ve got to set time aside.

Luckily though, you don’t have to fear burning out to get it done: Chris Guillebeau, founder of the Side Hustle School and author of Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, says that you can develop a successful side hustle by carving out just 20 to 30 minutes of your day. If you’re a parent, you might choose 30 minutes each evening after the kids are in bed; or you could even use your lunch break at work.

Whatever time you choose, put it in your calendar, set an alarm for it, stick to it and don’t let anyone drag you away from it.

3. Join a community

Sometimes we all need a little bit of inspiration to give us the push we need and some good solid advice to help us improve. That’s why you should join an online community for side hustlers. Joining with like-minded people can help you build a support system of buddies who have been where you are now and can provide a wealth of information to get your side hustle going.

There are tons of such groups onlines. Simply search for them on Facebook and LinkedIn and you’ll discover numerous groups for every niche. Ask questions, bounce ideas off other members, learn from others’ mistakes and get inspired by stories of success. All of this community interaction will push you in the right direction.

4. Build a tangible brand

Branding is the personality that identifies a company to its customers. Even if your business is only part-time, you still need to build a brand in order to attract customers and present yourself as a professional business. This means creating a logo, coming up with a tagline and developing a theme for your website, including a colour scheme and personality. All of this will work together to show your target audience who you are as a business.

If you’re thinking that all of that sounds expensive, don’t worry. For side hustlers who are strapped for cash, there are a number of ways to create a stunning brand while still saving your pennies. If you set up your website with WordPress, for example, you’ll find many free and affordable website themes to help you build a brand with just the click of a button. You can also use a free tool like Canva to create a gorgeous logo, business cards, flyers and more for your side hustle venture.

Related: 50 Jobs, Gigs And Side Hustles You Can Do From Home

5. Start marketing your side hustle

The final step to getting your side hustle off the ground is to start putting yourself out there. So, whatever you do, don’t keep your side hustle a secret! Start telling all your friends, family and neighbours about your side hustle. One of them could become your first client or customer or could recommend you to someone he or she knows.

Next, get online and start marketing your side hustle on social media. Social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are particularly great for marketing product-based side hustles. Other free ways to market your side hustle online include joining forums like Quora, blogging and building an email list and cold-emailing potential clients to offer your services.

Over to you

Don’t sit around again this year wondering if your side hustle has what it takes to make money. Get out there and make it happen. With the new tips you’ve learned, this year will finally be the year you hit the ground running.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Are You Suited to Entrepreneurship

7 Skills Every Entrepreneur Should Adopt Today

There are certain skills that any entrepreneur can adopt to help build a business and shape their future.

Nicholas Bell

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entrepreneurial-skills

The road taken by the entrepreneur used to be the one least travelled. The one where only the bold dared to tread and few understood the risk or benefitted from the reward. Today, the road may be one travelled by many but it still comes with challenges and obstacles that can trip up the unwary. The best way to thrive, is to learn from other entrepreneurs, using their learnings and mistakes to sidestep the challenges and embrace the opportunities.

Here are seven skills that any entrepreneur can apply to their journey today:

1. A vision

Know exactly what you want. Have a clear idea of your end goal. Write it down, verbalise it, embrace it. This is how you know exactly where your steps will take you. Your vision is what defines the strategic goals of your company and what helps you create a business plan that will get you where you want to go.

2. Ask questions

Question yourself, your plans, your strategy, your business plans and your decisions. This is a critical skill that will ensure that you are constantly driving yourself to be better tomorrow than you are today. By challenging yourself at every turn you will refine your vision and ensure you are always on the right path.

3. Passion and energy

Nobody else is going to be passionate about your business. Nobody else has the energy to take it where it has to go. It is entirely up to you. This may sound extreme, but without these two key qualities you will battle to take your business through the complexities that lie ahead and onwards into long-term success.

4. A work ethic

Like passion and energy, a work ethic is critical. This is your business and your vision so you need to put in the hours. And there are a lot of hours.

If you’re not prepared for the weekends, late nights and unexpected holiday disruptions, then you may not be ready for the demands of being an entrepreneur.

5. Create opportunity

While you may be the vision, the passion and the workhorse of your business, it is important to remember that your company can only go so far with only one person behind the wheel. Learn how to build a team and focus your energy on building something bigger than yourself. Your drive should not be just about building a successful business, but creating opportunities for others.

6. Communication

Throughout your journey you will need to share your vision, ideals and business plans with your employees and your executives. They have to buy into what you are planning, to be fully engaged with the work that they do. This means you have to learn how to communicate clearly and create a transparent culture so people feel part of something and committed to what it represents.

7. Sales

Ultimately, you want your business to grow and this means mastering the art of selling. Regardless of your business proposition, it is likely you need customers to buy into your product or service. So, learn how to sell. A large part of this magic formula is made up of the passion, energy and work ethic you’ve already mastered, the rest is all about relationships, communication and hooking the clients.

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