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Ways to Prepare for Entrepreneurship #1-20

publication date: Nov 5, 2010
author/source: Carol Roth Blog, submitted by Bill Todd
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118 of the Best Ways to Prepare for Entrepreneurship

With unemployment rates still in double digits, many individuals are thinking about becoming entrepreneurs. Over 6 million people in the US alone start businesses each year, yet up to 90% fail within five years. So how do you prepare for entrepreneurship? This is a key topic I deal with in my book, The Entrepreneur Equation (due out March 2011) and as a precursor, I thought it would be interesting to reach out to my respected network of entrepreneurs and business experts to find out their best tips and strategies that they would give to an aspiring entrepreneur so that they can better prepare to be a first time business owner (which are presented below in no particular order).

You may notice some similar themes, but I kept the insights separate, as something in the way one is framed may resonate differently with you.

1. Prepare and Expect Bumps

Do your research and talk to a lot of other entrepreneurs. They will have incredible advice and most are more than happy to share their successes and failures with other budding business owners. Also, create a business and marketing plan, but expect to revise it from time to time. You will encounter unexpected bumps along the way, but remember, you are not alone in this, and you can overcome them. Be flexible, be vigilant and be ready to succeed. Thanks to: Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk of BBR Marketing.

2. Know Who You Are & What You Do

The best piece of advice I can give to any new entrepreneur is to know who you are and what you do. Don't try to be everything to everyone, as you will end up being nothing to no one. Focus is the key. Have a clear idea of what your unique selling proposition is, your brand, your mission statement and the value that you bring to the table.

The better you understanding those things, the better you can develop marketing messages that can be understood & adopted by your early followers. Thanks to: Ben Baker of CMYK Solutions Inc..

3. What's In a Name?

The name of your company should be well-thought out and considered in everything you will be doing from website design, letterhead, business cards and marketing brochures. Consider the sound of the name when you say it, the thoughts and feelings the name evokes and what impression it will leave when it is spoken and written. Your company name can make or break your business. Decide carefully!Thanks to: Jane Schulte of PRISM Business Advisors.

4. Be a Giver

Don't let the fear of starting a business overwhelm you, and find a way to give to others rather than looking for what you can get in all of your dealings and interactions. It may seem like a cliché, but it does seem to be true that the more you give, the more you will receive. The only way to see if this is really true is to put it into practice and see if it is actually so. Our sense is that you will be amazed as to how your life will change and your business will grow if you do.Thanks to: Jeffrey Gitterman of Beyond Success Consulting.

5. Jump into the Deep End

Whatever business you start, make sure you spend years in the same category. Children's clothing isn't about kiddie togs. It's about retailing. The ad industry isn't about ads; it's about the service business. A restaurant isn't about hosting a party every night; it's about managing razor-thin margins seven days a week. Unless you've been there, do not go there.Thanks to: Stan DeVaughn of Turner DeVaughn Network.

6. Go to School on Yourself.

Twenty years in the luxury hospitality sector and the first thing I realized was how unprepared I was to be an entrepreneur. I enrolled in an MBA Program at The University of GA. The program was one of the most demanding things I've ever done; the end result was amazing and significantly reduced my risk. From Finance to Entrepreneurship, the program provided extraordinary tools. The result - an extraordinary level of value added to clients that exceeds anything from my marketing background.Thanks to: Robert Rippee of FORMO.

7. Knowledge, Best Ammunition

Accept the fact that everyone is not a prospect for you. Know who your customers or clients will be, understand what makes them spend money (needs, problems, etc.) and determine how your products/services apply. Thanks to: Janet Christy of Leverage & Development, LLC.

8. How to Find Down Payment Today

Banks aren't lending... especially on commercial. There is plenty of seller financing, but you still need that down payment.

Go to the suppliers of the business you want to purchase and ask them for a loan to make the purchase- seller finance the rest. Contract to continue using them as a supplier. Win- Win. And these days, companies hording cash have it for just such purposes. Thanks to: John Alexander of I.L. Products Inc..

9. Success = Sum of Small Efforts

Build your business every day, one step at a time and never give up. Remaining persistent, confident and diligent is the key to success. Beginnings are always difficult and there are many obstacles, but by taking every day's tasks one step at a time, you will succeed in your business adventure.

As Robert Collier said: "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."Thanks to: Josh Kotlar of Volusion Web Design.

10. New Startup? Do Not Miss This!

Starting a business is exciting! Nothing is more noble than providing a living while bringing your unique gifts and talents to the market. There is ONE vital thing. Get this and your chance for success skyrockets, miss it and you will fail. What is it? Most businesses fail for lack of resources... estimate it will take 2x as long to get things done and your money will last 1/2 as long as you thought. This will create urgency and action. Nothing like a searing flame under you to get you in gear!Thanks to: Chris Goegan of Engineered Marketing Solutions.

11. GPS Planning for Business

People always ask me what is the best way to start a business. It is full of lots of ifs, coulds and shoulds. The answer I give them is to think strategically, as in a strategic plan. What is a strategic plan? It is basically a map, much like a GPS device that lets you know where you are today and where you want to go. It lets you predict your cash flow and many other important items regarding starting a business. Don't be caught short, Plan!
Thanks to: Alan Ginsberg of The Entrepreneurs Source.

12. Hardest Thing You'll Ever Love

Many people go into business thinking that they'll have complete control over their time, and as the famous book says, work a four hour week.

I'm here to tell you that you'll be out of business real quick if this is what you expect.

Starting a business means hard work and long hours. You need to commit to both if you want to make it.

My best advice -- choose something you really love doing if you want to create a successful business. You won't mind the long hours and hard work.
Thanks to: Bud Bilanich of The Common Sense Guy.

13. Team Work

The best tip I can provide is TEAM WORK. If you are in a relationship (i.e. married, partner, etc.) make sure your nucleus is on board. Being an entrepreneur can provide amazing benefits, however, not without a great investment of commitment. If you have a flat tire, your car will not go very far without further break down. Make sure everyone involved is as committed as you are and has enough air in their tires. This will assist in making the more difficult obstacles seem less strenuous.
Thanks to: Evan Shorten, CFP® of Paragon Financial Partners.

14. Rally Some Advisors!!

You will most certainly need some help from others who have built successful businesses in the past, or others who are really good at what they do who can support you as you grow as an entrepreneur. Advisors to give you advice and guidance will be invaluable to growing your business because they have perspective that you otherwise wouldn't have until you've finally made the mistakes yourself. Learn from others and get great wisdom and guidance.
Thanks to: Danny Wong of Men's Custom Dress Shirts | BL.

15. Sales is Everything

Sales is everything. My ONE best tip to any aspiring entrepreneur or business owner is to be prepared to sell. No Sales, No business! It's as simple as that. Never stop marketing for sales. Business is all about marketing. Don't get distracted with administration and production to the point of neglecting your sales because you will go backwards. Focus on marketing and sales. Focus, Focus, Focus- everything else will be added on to this.
Thanks to: Diane M. Hoffmann of Hoffmann-Rondeau Communications.

16. Listen to YOU

There will be people who will tell you what to do or what not to do with your business. Listen to them, and if YOU think they make sense, do what they say. If it doesn't ring true in your gut, don't listen to them. Always listen to you. You have a stake in the business--so it will be YOU.
Thanks to: Leslie Jacobs of Les is MoreLLC.

17. Be an Understudy

The ideal way to prepare yourself for being a business owner is to work for a successful entrepreneur and learn hands-on. I spent 10 years learning from such a mentor, which prepared me for all the challenges that come with starting and growing a business. I have subsequently started several businesses, and there hasn't been a day that goes by that I don't draw upon my previous experience. If you don't have that kind of time, at least work briefly for a company that you plan to compete with!
Thanks to: David Sears of YouFloral.com.

18. Define "Success"

My advice: establish your own definition for success. Know before you begin what you hope to accomplish and how owning and running a business will fit into your lifestyle. Are you starting a business out of passion, because you want to make money, or because you want to make a difference in your community? Understand very clearly what your goals are--after all, it's your company--and then build a company (and lifestyle) that helps achieve those goals. Do that, and you'll always be successful.
Thanks to: Scott Harris of Mustang Marketing.

19. Be Prepared to Never Give Up

Every business owner will encounter problems and setbacks. History proves over and over that the main difference between a successful business owner and a non-successful one is that the successful one never gave up; so neither can you.
Thanks to: Sara Morgan of Custom Solutions.

20. Plan for Success!

Too many entrepreneurs know what they will do when they fail, but few plan for success. Think of the new restaurant. The food is great, the service is wonderful and the prices are reasonable. The crowds come and the service gets slower. The food lacks its original zest and the prices zoom. Soon, the new restaurant with such great promise is another casualty of the failure to plan. You must consider what you can do with the time, resources and abilities that you have available to you.
Thanks to: Mitch Carnell of SPWC.

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