Being a Passionatepreneur is Never Enough

entrepreneurshipBeing passionate about becoming an Entrepreneur is only the beginning. It’s going to take a great deal more than just being passionate about your small business to be successful. Being passionate is a good start – It will get you out of the starting blocks but it won’t get you to the finish line. The majority of small businesses fail. A study conducted by Eileen Fisher, Schulich School of Business concluded that thirty percent of all new small businesses fail within the first two years, and only half make it to year five. Some of those failures are out of their control. It wasn’t because they weren’t passionate. They failed because they lacked the management or financial skills they needed to succeed.

#Worth Remembering … I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it. – Thomas Jefferson. 

Being an Entrepreneur and starting your own small business is not for the faint of heart. You have to be comfortable flying without a net. You have to be comfortable with not knowing where your next pay cheque is going to come from. You have to be comfortable with not having all the answers all of the time. You have to decide what you are willing to give up to succeed. Tom Brady, Wayne Gretzky or Tiger Woods didn’t succeed by being lucky. Luck had nothing to do with it. Did they catch a break now and again? Absolutely. However, the truth of the matter is, they became the best at their sport because they were willing to put in the time and effort needed to succeed.   How much time and effort are you willing to put in?

#Worth Remembering … Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can live the rest of your life like most people can’tUnknown 

You aren’t going to be great at everything but I believe you must be good at most things. If you study successful entrepreneurs you’ll discover they have some common characteristics. If you had to put a list together what would be your top five? Here are my top five.  I’ve listed them here in no particular order.

  1. Time Management: Be able to manage your time well. Learn to prioritize what needs to be done, so that you do the most important things first. Sometimes that will mean doing things that you don’t like to do. Don’t waste your valuable time on things that won’t help you succeed.
  2. Open-Mindedness: You only know what you know – you don’t know what you don’t know – and it’s what you don’t know that could sink you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice, and be smart enough to use it.
  3. Patience: However long you think it’s going to take you to accomplish a task, times that by two. Rarely does anything happen just the way you thought it would. Learn to take a deep breath and count to ten. All good things happen to those who wait.
  4. Communicate: You must be able to communicate in a way that others will understand. If you can’t communicate both verbally and by the written word, then you stand little chance of being understood.
  5. Goal Setting: Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then put a plan together to get there. However, you need to be flexible enough to change or adjust your plan if it’s not going to help you achieve your goal.

I taught Entrepreneurship for over a dozen years at Algonquin College’s School of Business. On the first day of class, I would give the students my “Dorothy doesn’t live here anymore” speech.  I’d tell them if I haven’t talked you out of being an Entrepreneur by the end of the semester than chances are you might succeed. If I have talked you out of being an Entrepreneur than I have saved you from yourself. Either way, it would be a win-win. I would have done my job and you would have learned a thing or two. Being a Passionpreneur is never enough.

Copyright (c) 2018. Brian Smith – PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. Are you looking for a keynote speaker or seminar leader who can deliver an entertaining and informative presentation on a variety of soft-skills topics? To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

 

Has The Pendulum Swung Too Far?

Choices

Has political correctness gone amuck? James Damore was fired by Google for posting a memo he’d written. Right or wrong, it was his opinion. Just because you don’t agree with it, does it make it a fireable offence? The courts will decide if his dismissal was for just cause. What are we teaching our young people if everyone makes the team – everyone plays the same amount of minutes regardless of skill level? Where’s the incentive to improve? Are we teaching transferable life skills if everyone gets a trophy for just showing up? Is it fair that everyone gets the same bonus, regardless of his or her contribution to the project?

Should we be lowering physical standards so women can perform the same task side by side with men?  When the building is on fire I want someone who is physically capable of carrying me down four flights of stairs. If a woman can do it – have at it. Trust me – I won’t complain. The truth of the matter is there are some tasks that only men can perform, just as there are some tasks that only women can perform. Mind you there aren’t many that men can do that woman can’t.  If someone is physically and mentally capable of performing a task, gender is a non-issue.

I remember singing the National Anthem and reciting the Lords Prayer in school. It didn’t seem to do me any harm. Why are we afraid of hurting someone’s feelings if we call it a Christmas tree and wish people Merry Christmas?  We may not agree with the message but surely we can agree that everyone has a right to freedom of expression – as long as it doesn’t take away those same rights for someone else and it’s done in a lawful and respectful way without causing physical harm to people or damaging property. Everyone has a right to be protected under the law regardless of race, gender, religious beliefs or message.

Just because you’ve worked there the longest doesn’t mean you are entitled to get the promotion. I believe promotions should be based on ability and not longevity. Has the pendulum swung too far the other way? Are we going out of our way so as not to offend anyone? Has political correctness gone amuck? You be the judge. Some people may think we haven’t gone far enough, I respectfully disagree. But that’s just my opinion. I could be wrong, but then again I could be right.

Copyright (c) 2017. Not to be reproduced. Brian Smith – Professional Speaker, Seminar Leader, and Author. Are you looking for someone who can entertain and inform your audience on a variety of soft-skills topics?  Visit https://briansmithpld.com

Do You Have What It Takes?

entrepreneurshipAre you thinking of taking the big plunge and going into business for yourself? Do you think you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? I was recently contacted by a first year business student who had to go out and interview three entrepreneurs as part of a class assignment. He had to ask them three questions. If you are looking to go into business for yourself I thought you might be interested in my answers. I have had the good fortune of being self-employed since 1998. Starting and running your own small business is not for the faint of heart. Matter of fact – in a recent Industry Canada study conducted by Eileen Fisher, Schulich School of Business, York University and Rebecca Reuber, Rothman School of Management, University of Toronto, concluded that thirty percent of all new small businesses won’t survive longer than two years, and only half make it to year five. Some of the reasons for those failures are out of your control, but most are because of the bad decisions you will make. Lack of management or financial skills are in the top five.

Here are my answers to his three questions. I hope it will give you some valuable insight into what it will take to be a successful entrepreneur.

1 – What made you decide to own your own small business? I had managed other people’s businesses for a number of years, with the idea that I wanted to own and operate my own small business some day. Being my own boss appealed to me. It proved to be a great training ground for me. I got to learn what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. The best part was I got to make those mistakes on someone else’s dime. I recommend that to anyone looking to start their own small business. Work for someone else until you’ve learned enough to start your own.

2 – What are five key characteristics that you feel are important to have to be a successful entrepreneur? I believe there are a number of key characteristics you need to be successful. Some you will do well, others you will need to learn. Here are my top five. I’ve listed them here in no particular order.

  • Time Management: Be able to manage your time well. Learn to prioritize what needs to be done so that you do the most important things first. Sometimes that will mean doing things you don’t like to do. We tend to spend our time on things that we enjoy doing or that we are good at. Be disciplined enough to complete your “A” item before you work on your “B” or “C”.
  • Open Mindedness: You only know what you know – you don’t know what you don’t know – and it’s what you don’t know that could hurt you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – and be smart enough to take it. That’s how we learn.
  • Empathetic: Be able to see things from another person’s point of view. People make mistakes. The important thing is how you react to them.
  • Communicate: You must be able to communicate in a way that others will understand. If you can’t communicate both by the written word and verbally, then you stand little chance of being understood.
  • Goal Setting: Being successful is a planned event. Put a plan together to accomplish your goals. Great plans start with the end in mind. Have a clear vision of what you want to achieve and then put a plan together to get there. However, you need to be flexible enough to change or adjust your plan, if it isn’t going to help you achieve your goal.

3 –  If you could start your business over again, what one thing would you do differently? That’s a tough question because struggles are part of the learning process. If you aren’t making mistakes you aren’t learning anything new. There are some valuable lessons to be learned from the mistakes you make. The one thing I would do over again is to be more disciplined in managing the money side of the business. That old saying “it takes money to make money” is true. But you have to make the money before you spend the money. I would put together a realistic budget and then stick to it. Projections are just that – projections. They are a best guess. However, projections don’t pay the bills or more importantly, they don’t pay you.

Copyright 2016 (c) Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian is a former Professor at Algonquin College’s School of Business, Top 100 Leadership Expert, Author and Speaker. To find out more about Brian and what you can do for you and your organization visit https://briansmithpld.com

Bigger is Bigger But Not Neccessarily Better

bigger 2Have you walked around a large department or food store lately? Too big to fail? I’m not so sure. I’m not convinced bigger is better. Bigger is bigger but not necessarily better. I spent 30 years in retail – managing and owning multi-million dollar businesses so I understand a bit about product selection and customer service. If I had to make a choice I’d spend my money on customer service every time. After all – how many different types of hammers do you need? At what point do customers give up looking at all the different models of toasters on the shelf and just pick one – any one? Too many choices of anything tends to numb the brain.

Who are you building your stores for? You or your target customer? The population is aging. They want to be able to get in – find what they want – and get out. They want to be able to walk around your store without having to walk endlessly in circles or guess where the exits are. They want to be able to find a sales person when they need help. They’d like to shop in a warm, friendly, inviting place – not a store that overwhelms, confuses and intimidates them. I may be dating myself but I remember a time when 25,000 square feet of retail space was the ideal size of store. Big enough to carry a large assortment of products with some breadth and depth. A store that you could manoeuver around in with ease.

The “Information Overload” epidemic continues. Here’s a case in point. I met up with some dear friends for lunch yesterday. My friend and I love hamburgers and fries so we decided to check out a popular burger place. Do you really need to list 12 different hamburgers on your menu? It’s a hamburger! – Enough already! What ever happened to the good, better, best selection process? Have we reached a tipping point yet? I certainly hope so. I think we are making life way more difficult than it needs to be. We need to go back to a simpler time.  Bigger is bigger but not necessarily better.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker or workshop facilitator who can deliver an entertaining and informative session on a variety of soft-skills topics? Contact Brian today. He will work with you one-on-one to insure your event is an overwhelming success. http://briansmithpld.com