to Entrepreneurial Success
of books are available on building a small business and
becoming a successful entrepreneur. If you are considering
your first entrepreneurial venture, you may feel overwhelmed
by all the information and resources, not to mention all
the self-described experts who are clamoring to give you
most business experts will agree on some basic
principles that apply to any successful venture.
These principles have proven invaluable to me
as a self-employed business owner and manager.
Whether you are already self-employed or still
in the planning stages, these tips can help
to increase your results.
of the most important aspects of being an entrepreneur is
maintaining the balance between flexibility and focus. Watch
market trends and continue to do research after you have
completed your business plan. Staying in tune with your
market and your clients will help you prepare for change
and anticipate economic and purchasing changes that may
affect your business.
ever-changing marketplace, be prepared to make significant
adjustments to your business plan and operations - while
maintaining your original goals. This is a difficult balance
to strike, but it will separate you from your competition.
When your clients need a new service or product you'll be
prepared to deliver!
your skill-set, and understand how those skills can transfer
to any job or opportunity. Do you excel in sales? Is your
ability to organize your best asset? Work to understand
your skills - especially those that apply to every job.
of your best assets may not seem business-worthy. For example,
someone with a lovely smile will win more contracts than
someone who is negative in their dealings with people.
dimension of knowing your skills is to understand what skills
you do not have. For example, if you are not good with numbers,
then you must include hiring accounting services in your
business plan. Invest some time in learning: when to ask
for help; where to get that help (use your network); when
to use a lawyer; when to make a contract; and where to go
must be organized if you want to be an entrepreneur. Consider
investing in a good database to keep track of clients and
contacts. Develop organized and clearly understood order
forms and define procedures for handling orders. Create
a good filing system for both paper and electronic documents
- then USE THEM! When opportunity knocks, you'll be ready
of the most important skills you will need - as a sheep
farmer, real estate agent or a graphic designer - is your
ability to sell. It's a myth that great products sell themselves.
Get to know your sales style and learn how to negotiate.
You will have happier clients and will close more sales
(which equals more money!). Some good books for learning
and developing sales skills include: Secrets of Power
Negotiating for Salespeople; Sales Dogs; 13 Secrets of Power
Performance (all of these books can be found on Amazon.com).
can never over-plan! Planning allows you to determine weaknesses
in your overall business approach and marketing plans. It
will clarify your financial requirements, help you learn
about your target market, and help you avoid over-spending.
Resources for business plans include: Business Plans
for Dummies; there are also several Coles Notes
booklets on writing business plans and planning small businesses.
are the backbone of any successful business; they will help
you to discover clients and resources you may not otherwise
find. When developing your business plan and approach, your
network will be an invaluable source of information and
experience. Contacts will increase word-of-mouth advertising
and bring you new opportunities for sales.
always watch what you say - you never know whom you are
talking to! The person at a supplier's BBQ might be a friend
of your biggest client. Never speak negatively of yourself,
your clients or your suppliers!
to thank people in your network for their help. Avoid e-mail
for this process - send a card or a hand-written note and
you will be remembered for your manners and your attitude.
Use your database to keep track of your network, including
the 'little things'
if you remember that the last
time you spoke with someone they had just had a baby, it
will make an impression if you ask how the baby is doing
the next time to you talk to that client.
documentation protects your interests and captures your
intentions. You will often hear people say 'get it in writing'.
They're not kidding! Research the specific document you
need and cover all aspects of the partnership, transaction
to know a good business lawyer and find out how they can
help you and when. Clearly state your ownership and the
restrictions and requirements of that ownership (always
clearly define any partnerships for your safety and theirs,
you may love them now, but in three years things could be
very different). Protect your products with patents and
trademarks - there are many people who will think your product
is great, they won't hesitate to steal your idea if you
give them the chance.
belief in your product is important, but
in yourself is monumental. Never underestimate the power
of attitude - if you believe you can do it, you will! Learn
the traits of successful salespeople and business people,
but stay true to yourself. Your personal beliefs and convictions
will stay with you through every business venture. Nurture
your beliefs and integrate them into your business approach
- they will provide the strength and determination you will
need for the tough times.
Jennifer Beaucage has a Bachelor's
Degree in Business Operations and works as
a self-employed new home builder. Successful
past business ventures include the start of
the Calgary & Edmonton Pet Expos, as well
as a website design business. Visit Jennifer
online at http://members.shaw.ca/jennifer.beaucage/