Eight Vital Tips for any Entrepreneur

Posted on May 26, 2010

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A recent article in the Wall Street Journal examined the gap between women-owned and men-owned firms. While the story focused on the gender dynamics at play in the business world, its advice for business growth and success translates to all companies, entrepreneurs and start-up firms.

1. Think Big

The most successful businesses are those that think and dream big from the beginning. They set high goals and standards for themselves and do everything they can to meet them. According to the Journal, “The value of setting high goals for growth is not just a motivational myth. Research shows that the only statistically significant predictor of business growth is not the industry, size of business or length of time in business. It is the entrepreneur’s goal for growth.”

2. Expand Your Training

When starting a business, it’s important to think beyond the here and now. While start-up costs and getting off the ground present huge challenges, it’s equally important that a business owner always keep an eye on the future and look ahead to the next five, ten years. The Journal says that much training “too often tends to ignore planning for future growth, focusing instead on start-up planning, marketing advice and personal-budget planning to ensure the new entrepreneur has enough cash to carry her [or him] until the business gets going.”

3. Have Access to Capital

Relationships with bankers and other sources of financing and credit are vital to any entrepreneur. Small business owners intimidated by the banking world limit themselves by not seeking out the monetary resources that could allow them to grow and expand.

It is also important to realize that debt isn’t always a bad thing. “For expansion capital, most [small business owners] turn to business earnings, which usually limits growth potential.” Credit invested in the growth of the business, while sometimes scary, can lead to much bigger pay-offs in the future than waiting for one’s business to turn a significant profit before looking ahead.

4. Gain Access to Markets

The Wall Street Journal states that, “The greatest potential for growth is in the business-to-business and business-to-government sectors.” If entrepreneurs are not actively seeking contracts and sub-contracts in these areas, they are missing out on huge opportunities to grow and profit.

5. Network

Any business leader needs also needs access to “industry associations, chambers of commerce, venture-capital groups and other networks.” Entrepreneurs should seek out as many opportunities as they can to meet and interact with other successful business owners, sources of capital and even potential clients.

6. Consider an Advisory Council

Advisory boards of leaders in the field and other established business owners can offer invaluable insight and advice to entrepreneurs and fledgling businesses. By seeking out an advisory board or council of one’s own, any business can greatly increase its odd of success.

7. Measure Your Development and Success

Keeping track of your business’ growth and success is key to demonstrating what you and your company are capable of. “…Business owners need to develop the metrics that document their capabilities. The women [and men] who have been most successful in the corporate and government markets have adopted recognized, standardized quality-measurement processes. These are available for both product and service businesses,” says the Journal.

8. Then Think Even Bigger

This is the point we started our tips with, but it bears repeating. Those who are most successful in business are the ones that never fail to think big, look ahead and always see potential for new markets, products and growth. They tend “…to embrace change; to be trend-setters rather than simply react; to innovate beyond expectations; to develop global integration; and to practice social responsibility…and to build teams of talented people for where the enterprise should be in five years, not just today.”

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