Business

10 Real-life Lessons From an Entrepreneur

Building a successful business is every entrepreneur’s dream, but the path to glory is full of potholes and unexpected turns. It helps to know what to expect when starting up, what key strategies to employ early on, and how to grow your business quickly.

I started my own business completely from scratch. In fact, when I first started, I had nothing but a dream and my own determination. Now, I run a company that has diversified into several areas, providing personal and business development solutions. And everything that I do, I love with a passion.

When people say that you have to work hard to have a successful business, take what you imagine that might look like, and then triple the amount of work you envisaged. To get ahead as an entrepreneur, you have to put in an incredible amount of effort, especially early on.

Hard work and complete dedication to my clients allowed me to make my dreams a reality. There were also several key lessons I learned, which I’m going to share with you, to help you to be the most successful you can, too.

1. Be Everywhere

In order to get customers to buy your product or service, it must be at the forefront of their minds when they’re making a purchasing decision. You need to be all over the internet, and in the media, if you can. I started out by joining directories, writing articles and making YouTube videos to promote my business. I then graduated onto writing books and making comments in the media; now I even have my own Wikipedia page. Get as much exposure as you can, especially in places where your ideal customers hang out.

2. Be Genuine

Be genuine in all you say and do. Never compromise your integrity or your values, and always tell the truth. While it’s tempting to make yourself look like a bigger company than you are, you need consumer trust to make yourself a success. People buy from companies they know, trust and like, so don’t be afraid to reveal elements of your character when promoting your firm. Be true to yourself, and you’ll attract the right people to you.

3. Have a Vision

I was so convinced that there was a gap in the market for me, and what I could provide, that I started my own business without any other serious source of income. Although it’s not necessarily wise to quit your job before you make any money, it is essential to have no doubt in your mind that you are going to make a success of what you’re doing. Be clear about your vision; write a compelling mission statement that makes you so excited about achieving your vision that you can’t possibly fail. Break it down into all the practical steps you’ll need to achieve to get to your greatest goals.

4. Be Flexible

If you’re going to make your business work, be prepared to modify and improve your offerings along the way. Being flexible allows you to adjust in the direction of success. Early on, it was essential for me to grab opportunities that were open to me, and being stubborn wouldn’t have helped me move forward. Be open to suggestions, helpful to others, and find out how you can adjust your product or service to better meet your customers’ needs. Ask for feedback, and use it to improve what you provide.

5. Know What You’re Worth

If you’re providing a product or a service, you must not undervalue the brilliance of your offering nor the wonderful skills you have. If you work for less money than you’re worth, or sell your products short, you’ll be scrabbling around for cash, while also running low on time to recruit customers who will pay you properly. It is always better to have fewer customers, who know the true worth of what you provide, than to have more clients who don’t really value you.

6. Provide More Than You Promise

One of the keys to getting repeat customers is impressing the socks off them once they’ve committed to buying. Excellent customer service includes being reliable, being punctual, and delivering more than your buyer expects. Do what you say you will — and then do a bit more. Offering a stellar customer experience will keep clients coming back again and again.

7. Create Great Content

Create high quality content to market your startup, whether that’s videos, articles, or audio recordings. Give your ideal customers helpful advice for free, so they can get a taste of what you do best. You must deeply understand your customers’ needs before creating content. What pain do they want to avoid? What pleasure would they like to attain? Angle your content towards satisfying those needs.

8. Get Social

Even if you hate Facebook and Twitter, you should build social media profiles to spread the word about your business. Social media is an essential marketing tool in the age of the internet. I found several ‘fans’ on Twitter, for example, who now support everything I do. They not only buy my books and products, but they share the core message behind my services. Social media is also a good way to connect with journalists and joint venture partners

9. Gather Supporters

One of the reasons I was able to grow my business relatively quickly was that I had an army of people who were interested in what I did — and they rooted for me to succeed. Use every opportunity you can to network, and enthuse people about not only what you do, but why you do it. When you can get other people to realise how special what you are doing is, you’ll be offered opportunities, contacts, connections, and support to help your business grow.

10. Never Stop Learning

Never let your skills get stale or your product get dated. Even though I’m considered an expert and specialist in what I do, I still study all the time. I revisit old books and buy new ones. I get the latest news right into my inbox. I review what I offer and look at how I can improve it on an ongoing basis. The same is true of my marketing strategy. You must always keep learning to stay ahead of the curve, and to be able to offer your customers the very best.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Gail Gardner

    31/03/2014 at 6:02 am

    Thanks for sharing this big picture view of what your success looks like. It is big picture people like you who achieve success because they can see everything that needs doing and keep learning. It takes a lot of tiny seeds to generate business growth and that doesn’t happen overnight. So we must believe in what we’re doing and continually improve. Most give up before they get there.

    • Beth Burgess

      31/03/2014 at 11:16 am

      Thank you Gail. I think you’re right. It’s the ability to both see the bigger picture and get on with the tiny details that really breeds success. Business owners need to learn to switch focus appropriately to achieve their aims.

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