Thrive as an Entrepreneur: Six core skills you need to succeed
Would you be a new investor in your business today? What would make you write a check?
Take control of your business by acquiring the skills (or people with the skills) needed to create equity and sustainable cash flow.
You’ll notice that I won’t say to get better at “what you do.” Being a better cook has nothing to do with building and operating a massively successful restaurant.
Richard Branson doesn’t fly the plane. Let that sink in.
The Six Skills
#1 Be Prepared to Handle Adversity
Let’s start out with a guarantee; as a business owner you are going to experience tough days and tough weeks. It’s not a question of if but when.
There will be periods that you are putting out fires every day and getting nowhere. While this can be exhausting, learning from your experience will be the most valuable investment you ever make.
Read that again. It takes time to learn from experience.
To handle adversity successfully, you need a belief system that will sustain you during these business lessons. Two of the best resources I have found are Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and Mindset by Carol Dweck.
Hill says “every adversity contains the seed of a greater benefit.” Embrace that concept and stress will become energy. After all, you have two choices; complain and feel sorry for yourself or recognize adversity as a lesson in what didn’t work.
Most adversity is the result of not knowing what you are going to do next, far too many business owners “wing it” every day.
#2 Plan for Success: Set goals, priorities and taking action
First you need to assess what your top priority as an entrepreneur is.
OK, so you devote 12 hours a day to your business, great! You’re a hard worker. Now ask yourself which roles that you do on a daily basis influences the growth of your company the most.
Many assume that it’s to become better at the line level skill; a chef can learn more recipes, a lawyer can get another law degree. Sure that helps, but the majority of new business ventures are opened in established markets, being good at what you do is simply table stakes.
Look at what activities will impact your bottom line the most.
Do you need more leads? Will a better system for converting prospects to customers help? Can you sell more to an existing customer? Is there a better process to fill orders?
In my experience cash flow is king, so look at what activity will increase cash flow. Map out an answer and take action immediately. Plan, action and adjust the plan as necessary.
Taking the right action is a skill; too many business owners get lost in the busy work. It becomes easy to say you are too busy. Avoid this nonsense and get started. Stop and think it through today, what priorities do you need to schedule?
Pick one big thing and get it done this week.
#3 Implement Entrepreneurial Marketing
How much is your ideal customer worth to you over the next 12 months?
Do you have a system in place to invest a dollar today and get back two as soon as possible?
Entrepreneurial marketing is a business model and direct response strategy created to attract qualified leads and maximize lifetime customer value. The goal of EM is for you to make the highest probability investments in your business so it grows steadily.
A good marketing message flags your target market and also repels who is not your target. Good marketing makes it clear how you provide value, the results you can help them achieve and the problems you can help them solve. It establishes you as an authority through multiple media channels; email, phone, text, direct mail, social etc. You want a marketing campaign that can be tracked and tested.
Marketing in today’s business environment educates your potential leads, prospects and existing customers about your expertise and how you can serve them.
Developing your message so that it resonates with your target is a skill that requires testing.
This is the three part structure to building an effective message:
• Who is my prospect, how can I help them achieve a goal or solve a problem
• How can I position my product or service as different in a meaningful way
• What is the message that will tie the two together
#4 Learn to Sell
Far too many business owners equate selling to sleazy say-anything tactics. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur you need to change this belief.
Selling is a service; it is not an evil underhanded scheme to separate people from their money. You believe in your product or service, right? Then you should be able to speak about it with conviction. If you can’t, you need to change your product or service.
As a business owner who has created a unique and valuable service it is your obligation to help as many people as you can. You have to believe it would be an absolute injustice if someone paid for an inferior product.
Selling is getting your amazing message in front of as many qualified prospects as possible.
The secret key here is you only want to speak to qualified prospects. Entrepreneurial Marketing will take care of this. Horrible images that most people have in their mind about selling is “cold calling,” making hundreds of calls and getting the phone slammed in your face. You want to speak to interested people, not everyone. This is what makes telling your story fun and exciting.
#5 Create Offers
Running your business solely based on price is perhaps the worst decision you can make. There will always be someone who can drop the price lower. You want to offer what makes you unique, different. Good marketing will have uncovered something unique and it should be the core of your message.
More importantly you must learn how to use different price points to qualify clients and higher price points to boost net profits. This is entrepreneurial marketing at its core. It takes roughly five times more capital to acquire a new qualified prospect than it does to up-sell an existing satisfied customer.
A skilled entrepreneur will have offers for both. You need a tool box of offers for leads, prospects and customers. Different stages of customer life-cycle require a different message.
#6 Do the Important Math
Keep track of the lifeblood of your business.
We all want to be wealthy. Other than the freedom of being our own boss, we desire the wealth we dream goes with it. This is also the problem for many, they go for the wealth first.
Wealth is the ultimate destination but financial freedom should be the first goal. In business terms this is your monthly break even number which includes salaries. This includes YOUR salary as well (too many business owners pay everyone but themselves each month).
When you implement Entrepreneurial Marketing you build a pipeline of qualified leads. The entry offer in your funnel should pay your bills and keep you open. As these new leads become qualified customers your business will start to earn money on the “back-end”, this is where the wealth comes from.
To get your business beyond the fabled year number three, you need to devise a business and marketing plan. You need to outline on how to pay the bills, while you innovate how to run your business most efficiently. This includes time to get leads deeper into your customer life-cycle.
I’m sure you are aware that the actual business you run is never the same one you mapped out. Too many variables change, so expect this and keep improving.
Applying these skills can take some time, pick the one or two and map out a 90 day plan to implement them.