Entrepreneurship – Look Before You Leap 23

Have you alentrepreneurship[1].jpgways dreamed of being the one that makes all the decisions – the one that calls all the shots? Are you tired of working for someone else? Before you take the plunge and jump into the deep end of the pool have you done the market research – put a business plan together – and really thought it through? Have you thought about the impact it will have on your family and your personal life?

Before you quit your job and strike out on your own you might be interested in my answers to a series of questions I was asked by a former business student of mine. I hope my answers provide you with some valuable insight into what it takes to be successful.

What made you decide to get into business for yourself? Timing – it really boiled down to timing. I knew I wanted to make a career change. I was beginning to feel stuck and unfulfilled. For me – it’s never been about how much money I made. Now don’t get me wrong – money is important – but if it’s your only reason for getting into business for yourself – then you’re going to be disappointed – especially in your first few years. Make sure you have enough money saved up to pay your bills, put food on the table and keep a roof over your head for at least a year.

What are some of the challenges you faced in starting your own small business? I faced – and continue to face some of the same challenges everyone entrepreneur faces. Self-employed persons don’t have the luxury of a steady pay-cheque coming in. That puts a great deal of strain on your personal and family life. Everyone must give up something to get something. You need to decide what you and your family are willing to give up so that you can live your dream. Everybody needs to be on board. You need to be committed to doing whatever you need to do to be successful. If you and or your family aren’t willing to pay that price – then it’s best you stay where you are.

Any lessons learned that you can pass on to anyone wanting to start their own business? You need to be really passionate about what you are doing. You need to be prepared to work 80 hours a week for very little money. Have a budget and stick to it. Don’t spend money you haven’t generated yet. Find your niche Become an expert in something not a generalist in everything. What do you know or what product are you selling that someone else will pay you money to learn or have?

Food for thought: The two major reasons businesses fail are (1) Lack of management skills – and (2) Lack of financing. Most businesses fail within the first three years of start-up. (When I say most I mean over 90% fail) We have a tendency to overestimate revenue so divide your sales projections by half and run it by those numbers. You need to live and die by the numbers. Make business decisions – keep your emotions out of it. Always think worst-case scenario. That will help keep you grounded.

If I haven’t talked you out of getting into business for yourself after reading this article – then maybe – just maybe you have what it takes. Maybe you’ll make it to year five. I’ve been self-employed since 1998 and I’m still having fun. I wish you all the best.

Copyright (c) 2019. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you visit: https://briansmithpld.com

Confessions of a Reformed Control Freak – Part II 1

This is the second part of a two-part posting taken from excerpts of my soon-to-be-published book, “Confessions of a Reformed Control Freak – The Top Ten Sins Most Managers Make & How to Avoid Them”. I wrote this book with the hope that first-time managers would gain some valuable insights into what it takes to be an effective manager managing in the 21st. Century. Daniel Goleman, in his ground breaking book, “Working with Emotional Intelligence” said it best:training and e“We are being judged by a new yardstick: Not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other“. You aren’t born knowing how to manage people effectively. We all start out making certain assumptions based on our own perceptions of what a manager should be. But our perceptions can be wrong. I hope you are able to learn from my sins. And trust me – in my 40 + year career as an award winning entrepreneur and general manager for one of Canada’s best run and most profitable companies I’ve made my fair share.

Confession Six: “Park your ego at the door, it’s not about being right”. If you need to prove that you’re always right, and they’re wrong – then you need to pick a different career. You and I both know that there is more then one way to accomplish the same thing. The more you allow other people to be involved in the process the more likely they will “buy-in” to the end result. Remember – Together – Everyone – Accomplishes – More.

Confession Seven: “You can’t control everything all of the time”. You must give up control to get control. (Delegate, delegate, delegate) You can’t control everything all of the time because it’s bigger then you are. Your role as a manager is to give your people the tools they’ll need to be successful and then get out of their way and let them do it. You need to trust your people that they can do the job that you’ve hired them to do. Resist the urge to micro-manage.

Confession Eight: “You can’t demand respect. Respect is reciprocal”. If you study Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” theory you’ll discover that one of the basic needs all humans have – is the need to be acknowledged – the need to be recognized. By treating people respectfully, you are saying you value them as a person. Remember, you get what you give. If you show respect – you’ll get respect in return. But, you have to give it first if you ever expect to get it back.

Confession Nine: “People hear what they see, not what you say”. Your people play follow-their-leader. You must lead by setting the right example. You communicate 97% of the time, not by what you say, but by how you go about it. People believe the non-verbal communication as being more accurate. Your thoughts and actions must appear as one – they must be congruent. Do and say what you mean.

Confession Ten: “There aren’t any negatives – everything is positive”. How you react to any given situation is a choice that only you get to make 100% of the time. Your attitude isn’t just something – it’s everything! Your staff will take their direction from you. You must react in a way that is going to get you what you want. A positive attitude is contagious.

About The Author: Brian Smith, professional speaker, corporate trainer and management consultant is considered by many to be a leading authority on soft-skills training and leadership development. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit http://www.pldynamics.com. To receive a free poster of “Confessions of a Reformed Control Freak – The Top Ten Sins Most Managers Make & How to Avoid Them” send an email to bsmith@pldynamics.com – be sure to put “Poster” in the subject line. Remember – Training doesn’t have to be expensive to be good – it just has to be the right kind of training.