Lots of people wonder what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Is it a matter of charisma? Great public speaking skills? Relentless innovation? Luck?
You don’t need unmatched brilliance or a sudden strike of inspiration to come up with your next great idea. Here are fifteen ways you can achieve success.
1. Be passionate
Pursue an idea because you love it, not because it’s the next big thing.
Entrepreneurship requires a great deal of sacrifice and hard work.
Your company will be the focal point of your life, so make sure it’s something you enjoy doing.
2. Learn to be a leader
Be confident in yourself and in your business idea.
Follow through on your commitments, and guide and inspire those who feel helpless or lost.
Show your leadership skills by listening to your employees and business partners, getting to know them, and gaining their commitment and trust.
3. Listen to others
Listen more than you speak.
Listen to the opinions of others, whether good or bad.
Complaints and constructive criticism are far more valuable than praise.
Take that criticism seriously, so that you can make changes to your product or business model and give customers what they want.
4. Develop a plan
Harness your dreams and ideas and turn them into a concrete business plan.
Analyze your market and your audience, determine a funding strategy, and create a task list of action items so you know how to move forward each day.
5. Focus on value
Don’t sell your customers short. Show them you believe in your product by giving them value.
Your products should be better than your competitors’, and your business model should be built to last.
6. Create a brand
Figure out how you’ll present yourself to the outside world.
Determine the images, colors, language, and tone that you want people to associate with your company.
Use your brand to make your company likeable and build a strong public image.
7. Learn from Other Entrepreneurs
Success breeds success. Follow the lives of other entrepreneurs that you admire and read books that they have published.
You will find that those that have achieved success have common traits.
Also listen to Ted Talks, they are a great for gaining insights into the entrepreneur mindset and what it takes to be successful.
8. Engage your customers
Show gratitude for your customers’ patronage and support.
Make customer interaction a priority, and make it easy to respond to their questions, comments, and concerns.
Engage with them on social media and feature customer stories on your site.
9. Focus on customer retention
A single loyal customer is worth more than several new ones.
Develop meaningful relationships with your customers so that they trust your product and your brand.
Happy customers are your biggest advocate.
10. Think outside the box
Don’t stick to industry norms.
Look around you at other industries for inspiration; maybe there’s a great idea you can borrow from one industry and implement in your own.
11. Hire wisely
Your team will determine whether your company makes or breaks it in the initial phases.
Find people who are not only knowledgeable but also trustworthy and enthusiastic.
Most importantly, find people who work well together and mesh with your company culture.
12. Energize your team
There will be times when the work is hard and the luck is down. Inspire and motivate your team so that they’re excited to be there, even in the face of obstacles.
Help team members when they are stuck, be transparent, and stay positive.
13. Monitor your finances
Too many startups fail because of overspending.
Don’t be one of them!
Create a spreadsheet with your initial and recurring costs, match each cost with a funding strategy, and use an accountant or accounting software to manage your finances.
14. Collaborate with others
True leadership lies in collaboration.
Listen to your employees’ ideas and welcome their input, regardless of hierarchy.
Know how to hold team meetings and delegate tasks.
15. Leave assumptions behind
Don’t make assumptions about what your customers want.
Get out into the field and talk to them.
Keep an open mind and leave your assumptions at the door, even when you disagree with your customers.
16. Innovate constantly
Keep your employees motivated and your customers engaged with constant innovation.
Update and refine your products and ideas based on customer and team feedback, and make it your goal to always be better.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll need more than hard work and persistence; you’ll also need to think beyond yourself and focus on your customers and your team.
By creating a great team, focusing on genuine product value, and making your customers the priority, you will turn your idea into a long-lasting brand.