Saturday, November 9, 2013

Resolute Adventures, Ascending the Summit - How Mountaineering Prepares For Entrepreneurial Success

Many people try to start businesses. And there are those who try to climb mountains. There appears to be connections for the people who are passionate about both [see Ten Steps to the Top]. The ones who are good at both say that learning the skills to do one can help with the other.
Ascending the summit of entrepreneurial success doesn't necessarily happen in the classroom. Though huddling for studies at the Entrepreneurial Studies Program at UNC Kenan-Flagler provides a good base camp.
After a notable career, Randy Myer, Professor of the Practice of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, decided to return to the business school of his alma mater nine years ago to share his entrepreneurial experiences. His students give him high marks for his thoughtful teaching of Entrepreneurial Marketing and Business Plan Analysis. What they might not realize is his coaching in the classroom of key lessons learned have roots built on a very solid and rugged foundation through his passion for mountain climbing.
"Months of training in order to climb Mount McKinley and Aconcagua with a carefully selected team reinforced my desire for independence and to have control of my own destiny, " stated Randy Myer. "So I left partnership at Booz Allen Hamilton to start my own company."
Having reached the figurative summit of making partner at a leading consulting firm, he, like many driven business leaders, was already looking for the next summit to climb. "Going into high altitudes reinforced my desire to be an entrepreneur. Climbing required drive, motivation, individual energy, and quick decision making."
While at Harvard Business School, Myer caught the bug for climbing from his class mate from Banff Alberta, who eagerly taught him the ropes during visits to neighboring New Hampshire. Then, while at Booz Allen, Myer would catch a long weekend here and there to try new challenges such as ice climbing. While he found consulting to be very intellectually challenging, he viewed mountain ascension as a very strict physical challenge that required months of training with a single minded goal to get to the top often an entire year later.
Similarly, entrepreneurs are goal oriented and must have high energy to summit the journey. Unlike being a consultant or working at a large corporation, "in starting one's own company, it's more about the quality of ideas, operational effectiveness, building a team - networking. You don't have to be book smart to start your own business - or to be a successful mountaineer - you need to be goal oriented."
Myer ascended Mount McKinley, Aconcagua, Rainer, and Kilimanjaro, each requiring a full year of preparation, all while working at Booz Allen. He would book the tallest hotel while on business travel so that he could awake before sunrise to run the stairwells with whatever work materials and books from his hotel room, bible and magazines, could fit into his back pack to simulate his ninety pound mountain pack.
After leaving Booz and inspired from mountain climbing, Myer dug into his entrepreneurial adventure with vigor and founded Best Friends Pet Care, which he grew into a national chain of high-quality pet services facilities. Raising initial $3 million seed capital to launch his idea, he completed three additional rounds of successful financings and built it into a $30 million chain with over 55 U.S. locations. He sold his interest in the company in the mid-1990s to outside investors.
People who are passionate about climbing will be passionate about training and putting in as much effort as they can. This passion is very similar to entrepreneurs starting a business, poring in almost every non sleeping hour into their start up, while visioning future success. An entrepreneur feels pressure from investors, customers, employees, and family. Accountability in climbing is to your team, financial sponsors.
"Major climbs have three phases that are not unlike starting a new business. The first phase, planning, is quite similar in both," states Myer. "The second phase, the actual journey is much the same although the climb gets harder as you get higher which is probably the reverse for starting a business."
Finally, there is the third phase, reaching the summit, which has some of the same characteristics of a successful exit. For most climbers, the excitement is in the journey as it is for entrepreneurs. "But the outside world often measures you by the third level - did you reach the summit or have a successful exit," explains Myer, "We love the journey much more. But people that ask about climbing or my startup seem to focus mostly on the end result. "
Both the downhill ascension in mountain climbing and the integration post exit associated with a venture that has been acquired can be anti-climatic and surprisingly challenging. True mountaineers and entrepreneurs trudge through this post phase as quickly as possible in order to start the cycle over, earning the "serial" descriptor.
Are entrepreneurs risk takers or just highly driven folks? Those who do not climb probably think risk first and drive second. For Myer, "the risk does not really enter my mind - like bungee jumping there is thrill to it, but if you think risk first, you would probably never jump. I always assume the risk is one I understand or can manage."
When the group leader told the team that conditions would force them not to attain the summit, Myer reflected, "Did I want to turn back on McKinley? Absolutely not. But I did not argue with our leader. That is the hardest part for me - managing the drive to excel - to get to the top."
A recent inspiring guest speaker to Myer's students was Brenda Berg, founder of Scandinavian Child, exclusive North American distributor of unique children's products headquartered in Raleigh, and an avid 'rock jock' whose license plate reads "CLIMBING".
One student asked how Berg managed the fear of starting a business. She explained, "I am a rock climber. I like to scare myself. Fear is a way of life when you start and run your own business. If you can't handle fear, starting a business is not for you."
Reaching new levels in business is very much like climbing. Berg explained, "There are times when you have to put all of your focus on one giant leap - trusting yourself, your gear, and your partner to make sure that it happens, or that they catch you on the way down. Moreover, if it doesn't work, you have to get back on the rock and try it again, or the fear will take over and paralyze you."
She finished answering the fear question by explaining that as an entrepreneur, she "lives with fear every day. Fear is a good driver when channeled positively, especially as a leader."
Like Myer, Berg started climbing during school and planned her life around her studies and work with her passion for this adventure. "There was nothing practical about it - it was all all-encompassing - like having a second career." Similarly, starting and running a business is easily like working two jobs, in time, energy, and focus.
"For years I did nothing other than school, work, and climb all over the country, plus Mexico and New Zealand." Like Myer, she would often travel five days a week for work as a management consultant, then detour to rigorous climbing locations. She then climbed for the weekend before heading off on her next business trip.
Looking back, Berg states, "I can see that I succeeded in climbing for many of the same reasons that I am able to start and run a business - I enjoy the challenge!" Climbing gave her lessons in leadership. "In times of crisis, I learned that I can be calm and in charge. This gives me added confidence in my work."
"Climbing is a great way to learn your strengths and weaknesses. It is all about facing your fears head on," Berg concluded by giving climbing credit for having a positive impact on her starting and running a business. "If you really have a passion for climbing, it means that you are up for a challenge. Taking that challenge and applying it to starting a business is a great next step."
For some climbers, the quest is a family affair, with the goal of tackling the seven summits - the highest peaks of the seven continents. For John Spivey, founder of Gardens of the Carolinas, a full service design/build landscape firm, has ascended Mount Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and Aconcagua with his grown son and they are planning now for Denali in Spring, 2010. "Climbing the seven summits with my son has become a unifying aspect for us." While his son trains on the mountains in Boulder, CO Spivey regularly runs or treks, complete with weighted pack, at Umstead.
An entrepreneur at heart, Spivey registered for incorporation of his business the first work day after his graduation from NCSU, where he played on the soccer team, as Myer did also at UNC. He remains very active in the day to day activities of his design/build landscaping business which has benefited from his passion for mountaineering. "In climbing, I must plan for the unexpected. My approach to gear, food and route are crucial. This sort of planning has stimulated a more complete approach to my business planning."
Another local climber who has begun his quest to conquer the seven summits, is Zachary Maurides, who works as a product quality analyst at eprocurement leader SciQuest, and also continues to run the two thriving businesses he founded while at Duke. While on full scholarship to play football, Maurides was awarded the Markets and Management Entrepreneurship Award and was on both the Academic All ACC and ACC Honor Roll.
While a student at Duke, Maurides reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. In August of this year, he will attempt to summit Elbrus. Like Spivey, he and his father would like to ascend all seven summits and make it a family tradition. He is currently getting in at least one strenuous workout a day such as climbing the stairs of Duke stadium with a fully weighted pack as well as one light workout of a long walk of over 3 miles.
"Starting your own business involves a lot of risk," says Maurides, "and I think this appetite for risk is what allows me to think I can conquer these seven mountains." Stepping back, he reflects, "I also think that climbing a mountain, like any other difficult task, helps to give a person perspective on their life. It makes the day to day struggle of starting and growing a business seem small."
Maurides served last year as teaching assistant for a public speaking class in which many Duke student athletes were enrolled. "Zach is simply an amazing guy with a go and compete mindset," stated Kip Frey of Intersouth Partners and the professor of this course. "I often tell executives who work for me - you must own the problem - how are you going to solve? Zach gets this philosophy - he is no nonsense, no excuses."
"My advice would be to decide you are going to do it and make a promise to yourself, and other people if necessary. I find that from there my pride will push me to finish the task. The last thing I want is to tell all those people how I backed out," explains Maurides to those who are considering preparing for mountaineering. He adds, "It's the same thing with starting a business, decide you are going to do it, then find a way."
Spivey goes on to advise aspiring mountaineers, "Do your research, talk to people that have been on the mountain, train hard, and hold true to the motto 'the summit is an option, base camp is mandatory'."
Berg stated she was a planner and tended to take on that role with her climbing friends in organizing their weekend excursions. New entrepreneurs are often advised by those who have walked in their shoes, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." Being a successful entrepreneur takes planning and all the key ingredients laid out in the "Ten Steps to Reach the Top".
Spivey concludes by stating the positive impact climbing has had on running his business, "One learns perseverance and commitment to a well laid plan can be rewarding. However, sometimes things uncontrollably end differently and you must find solace, knowing you gave your best effort."
[Side Bar]
Ten Steps to reach the Top: Can leadership on the mountain translate into business success? How, when and why do mountaineers go on to be successful entrepreneurs? Is it important to have reached the literal summit or is it the preparation and the journey that give rise to proven leaders?
1. Visioning. Includes the recognition that a powerful vision is compelling. It energizes the visionary and enables them to excite others to participate. The group dream.
2. Choosing the right team mates. Ones that fill the team from a critical skill set and personality standpoint. A quality group that supports the common vision, provides needed feedback, and implicitly trusts one another.
3. Committing to the goals and strategies. Need to fully commit and understand what it's going to take. Decide if team wants to attempt a "first route" - to traverse where no one else has yet set foot. Akin to a breakthrough invention.
4. Understanding what constitutes truly reaching the summit. Agreement amongst key stakeholders - the team - each step along the way - when to turn back? What is the difference between a 'successful exit' and 'failure'? Successful serial entrepreneurs and mountaineers know to focus on enjoying journey.
5. Developing the action plans and understanding the rules of the road. Relates to knowing 'how things have been done'. Don't reinvent where it's not necessary. Must have explicit plan - route, camps, back up camps, how you will communicate, financing. Leverage best practices. Be able to be specific and tactical to reap resulting success.
6. Being correctly resourced. You need to have enough provisioning to weather the most treacherous and unexpected of wintry conditions. Have the right staff at base camp to keep foundation solid.
7. Getting sponsors/advocates. Relates to investors, supporters, and more.
8. Avoiding dangerous ideas, people or routes; but knowing when to take. Don't do unethical things. Avoid toxic people. Be flexible and respond to the right opportunities. Know when to innovate/take risk and when to follow.
9. Understanding the power of the press. Getting positive coverage will help you get support for your next summit, helps you develop a reputation, can help you bring attention to another cause you care about, can open up other doors of opportunity.
10. Knowing when the time is right to make the ascension. Season, weather, politically, personal life. Are all the stars aligned to maximize likelihood for success?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Entrepreneurialism: Seven Unnecessary Traits

When you are working to establish your own business you may believe certain things to be true about entrepreneurialism. While some traits may have merit there are other traits that may not be as necessary as you might have imagined.
Leadership Skills vs. Personal Drive
Interestingly, leadership skills are less important than personal drive. In most entrepreneurial efforts the seeds of an idea are cultivated by ONE not MANY. In the end if you believe in the idea you do not need the ability to lead others to pursue your dream.
Money vs. Dream
Entrepreneurial efforts are often about achieving a goal and less about making 'money' the primary goal. Certainly if you do your job well the money is likely to follow, but your efforts should be based on your dream first.
Power Broker vs. Average Joe
An entrepreneur does not need to pursue power in their business pursuits because they already possess the power they need to step out and follow their dream. In effect, an entrepreneur answers to themselves so, seeking personal power makes little sense in entrepreneurial efforts.
Extrovert vs. Introvert
You may find it interesting to learn that many introverted or shy individuals actually do well in many entrepreneurial endeavors. If you are outgoing it can be helpful to your overall goals, but the Internet has made it possible for introverted dreamers to find a place to let those dreams thrive.
Gamblers vs. Methodical Planning
Becoming an entrepreneur is often thought of as a gamble, however many entrepreneurs are better served by making careful plans and exercising proven strategies to minimize the chance of failure. Entrepreneurialism is not so much about throwing caution to the wind as it is about taking a dream and finding ways to make that dream a reality.
Organization vs. Creative Thought
You may find it interesting to note that some of the best business owners are not especially organized - it takes away from their ability to create new ways to make their business better. This is why you usually find these individuals with a quality assistant as the business grows. The end result is a mind that can envision where the business needs to go and steps over the pile of paperwork to get there.
As you take a look at the list you find that leadership skills, money, power brokering, being an extrovert, being a gambler and having strong organizational skills may not be as necessary to the role of entrepreneur as you may have thought.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Can Entrepreneurialism Be the Saving Grace?

Everyone wants security and at one time, a person's job gave him or her that security -- but not anymore. When government jobs begin to lay people off or force days off without pay, some may view this as the writing on the wall. At one time having a government job meant security and that you could retire on that job. With the economy, the way it is today, entrepreneurialism may be the saving grace. There are people who aren't waiting to get that notice; instead, many are leaving the workforce to carve a piece of the entrepreneurial pie for themselves.
Owning your own business is risky and in fact, many people fail when starting an entrepreneur home based business. Nevertheless, what entrepreneurs have in common is that they don't view a failed business as a failure. They see it as an opportunity to get it right the next time. A failed business teaches them not to place all of their eggs in one basket. These people although few far and between, won't stop until they are successful and that is what puts them above the masses that quit after the first try. To jump in the pool of entrepreneurialism, you must develop a no quit attitude. Partnering with other entrepreneurs is also a good strategy for success.
At one time, it was unheard of to start a business with less than $100. Now, with the help of the Internet, you can do just that by starting a home based business. In fact, many small cleaning companies have been started for less and become empires in the cleaning industry. Content mills are another example of using the internet to provide a product that is in demand. These companies hire writers to provide web content to other internet entrepreneurs who need it to help build traffic to their website. At no better time could a person become a business owner with their hobby. The resources are available thanks to the internet and the small business administration. In addition, selling a product or someone else's product has pushed individuals into successful business ventures. It is a loop of entrepreneurialship that has been proven to work.
Trying to be the biggest company is no longer the focus of entrepreneurialism. Just being able to call your own shots and making ends meet without punching a time clock, is what it is all about for many people who take that leap of faith. The only characteristic that sets rich people apart from poor people is their stick-to-itiveness and possibly their refusal to work for someone else. Job security isn't what it once was and entrepreneurialism is a chance at creating your own job security. Your success greatly depends on how hard you are willing to work. You won't ever fire yourself and you will have yours and your family's best interest in mind at every decision-making meeting. If you view entrepreneurialism as your way of never being able to be fired than, you may have that entrepreneurial bug in you too.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Staying in the Entrepreneurial Mindset Online

Entrepreneurs who start out with a brick-and-mortar business are generally seen in the community as a new business owner who is striving to get ahead in the business world. The entrepreneurial mindset that is required to start that type of business may be easier for some to sustain because of the support given by friends, families and neighbors.
However, an online entrepreneurial mindset may be more difficult to sustain because it will not be immediately evident to other people what the business does or even that you have a business at all. To keep the right mindset when your business is online often requires a higher level of discipline than when the business is more physical.
Small Business Self-Discipline
Getting up every morning and going to a physical building to work for your own small business requires little discipline because the business simply won't run if the business owner isn't there. Going to work often feels like going to any other job. But, when working at home on a computer, the feeling is generally much different.
Staying disciplined enough to go to the computer each day amidst all of the distractions of home takes a much different type of discipline. The entrepreneurial mindset then has to push you to keep going each day, even if it seems like there is a lot of to do around the house or you just don't feel like getting started that day.
Being an Entrepreneur
One of the things that many online entrepreneurs find is that it is often difficult to explain to other people what they do and that it is a real business even if it is not housed in a physical retail space. Some people may consider it your hobby or even ask when you will be getting a real job.
This can make it harder to keep that entrepreneurial mindset for many new business owners. To keep from letting skepticism erode your self-confidence, simply treat your business like any physical business. Refer to it as a business, work in it each work day like any other business and continue to think of it that way in order to stay motivated.
The Results of a New Business
Perhaps the best way to keep the entrepreneurial mindset is to see the results of that business. When the business is making a profit and your lifestyle is better than it ever was before, you and those who may have doubted the business will see how serious it really is.
Even if a business is virtual, it is an entrepreneurial exercise that can create an entirely new lifestyle for you and your family. With hard work and an entrepreneurial mindset, it has every chance of being as successful as any other type of business.

Friday, September 20, 2013

What Does Entrepreneurial Leadership Really Mean For Your Children?

What does today's financial environment present for your child? In an advertising frenzy of iPods, iPhones, branded objects and label hopping examples of seemingly never ending desires financially expressed by your children, how does a parent convey the good measure of entrepreneurial leadership needed to set a course for financial freedom and overall success for your greatest asset, your child?
The primary goal and the key to successful entrepreneurial leadership for your children lies in the ability to purchase a lifestyle to sustain the highest level of well-being and transfer this knowledge to your children.
One of many groups concerned with children's financial literacy, The South Carolina Economic Council, which focuses on teaching children about finances, reports that "teaching children about money and finances has moved to the front of the educational agenda."
A considerate and careful approach is relative to desires for real life achievements. Parents who seriously consider the financial success of their children are reasonably prone to present their own money management acumen as a clear example. Parents develop their own standards of "parental marketing" geared towards their own children.
Primarily winning formulas that have worked for good'ole dad or mom will be valued by children who have been directed along those same paths set by practical examples. Clearly, parents must devote the same attention to financial education as applied to other areas in the life of healthy, emotionally sound and attune young minds.
While a motivated and well educated entrepreneurial parent should grasp the time tested concepts of balance sheet affluence vs. income affluence and actual wealth, these concepts will not translate to your child's individual success without the practice of entrepreneurial leadership extended by the parent. As with other areas of successful life skill sets, parents have no less obligation to teach money management, budgeting, and investing than they do to neglect to teach a child to walk.
The whole consideration of today's economics should not be entirely focused on mere cost. For example, times were different for grandad, but the valuation of the purchasing power of a dollar has changed in the course of any lifetime. Enduring entrepreneurial leadership in any lifetime encompasses winning formulas of economic care and the willingness to take financial risks only worth the reward.
So, as a parent of an intensely important child, the question today is, what will tomorrow's financial environment present for your child?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

5 Entrepreneurial Leadership Aspects of Innovative Executives

"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other." - Abraham Lincoln, US-President, 1861-1865
In order to become a fully functioning, successful individual in whichever endeavor you choose to undertake, you must first cultivate the right attitude and behavioral traits. No where else is this fact more true as than when we consider the dominant characteristics needed for entrepreneurial leadership.
There are effective executives and directors in many fields but most leadership development programs neither focus on increasing entrepreneurship nor do they employ innovative training methods. However, you can acquire, develop and robustly practice the requisite entrepreneurial leadership skills.
According to the late great management expert, Peter F. Drucker, "The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity. Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship. (It's the entrepreneurial) act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth."
Entrepreneur extraordinaire, Sir Richard Branson, explains why he changed his mind and became one because he originally "wanted to be an editor or a journalist, (and) I wasn't really interested in being an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become (one) in order to keep my magazine going. "
So in a very real sense, Sir Richard, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and others like them already had attributes of the leadership mind-set and they were behaving in similar ways as leaders do too. If you hope to successfully initiate any commercial, governmental or public service undertaking, you will have to learn, exhibit and embrace the characteristics of entrepreneurial leadership.
What types of character traits do entrepreneurs have? Are those behaviors really important? In a word, these characteristics are important because if you don't possess them, you will have lower chances in terms of business success. The characteristics are as follows
1. Risk Assessor - this very important aspect of entrepreneurship is probably the most misunderstood one of all. Many organizational executives are willing to take any risk which presents itself as a breakthrough or never-before-tried opportunity. But without taking the time and effort to thoroughly evaluate or explore the potential pitfalls of their new idea, they are not very likely to succeed in their venture. In the course of doing business, you will always encounter a number of challenges, problems and situations demanding your prompt attention, decision and resolution.
However, after careful evaluation there are many risks which are worth taking, especially if their variables can be examined and then worked out and if the majority of these uncertainties are determined to be good for the business. At those times, you must be willing to be a risk taker, otherwise you won't be acting in an effective entrepreneurial leadership capacity.
2. Wise, Smart and Accepting of New Ideas - Most people believe being smart is all there is to being a successful executive - but wisdom, a willingness to learn new things and an acceptance of new realities and viewpoints are also necessary traits for winning in your entrepreneurial enterprise.
Of course, your cleverness, keen insights, and witty interactions with others will carry you far throughout your business dealings. Regardless of your position, today's complex and pressure-packed situations compel you to demonstrate mental toughness, alertness of changing circumstances and intelligence about emerging trends. Those attributes will help you earn the respect and trust of your clients and all your associates or partners.
3. Executive Leadership Development - It still surprises me to hear someone say that leadership is just a talent some people are born with. Yes it is true that the raw ingredients and characteristics of leadership excellence can be hard to detect or find among any random or unorganized mass of individuals.
There are not many people who naturally have the kind of nerve it takes to lead. However, today's innovative training programs easily empower large groups of ordinary people to learn, understand and adopt the proven fundamentals of entrepreneurial leadership principles, practices and discipline.
Your executive leadership skills will serve your venture when your personal qualities and behaviors help you guide, influence, manage and direct people. These abilities will enable you to handle your business affairs with greater ease and positive emotions.
4. An Inner Passion for Your Enterprise - One essential characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is the amount and scope of their enthusiastic, passionate zeal they have for their business. We have seen high levels of this emotional trait in many public service, governmental and commercial leaders who were also founding members of their organizations.
No executive leadership development or innovative training programs can "teach" you how to have an intense yearning and desire for your venture. You alone must have, maintain and increase your enthusiasm for and uncompromising interest in your business pursuits. When your drive, determination and passion reaches a fever pitch, you will be well on your way towards successfully operating and growing your business.
5. Honesty, Integrity, Trustworthy - Every organization is built and depends upon positive relationships. Some management experts say entrepreneurial leadership means dedicating and investing eighty percent (80%) of one's time into developing, organizing and strengthening relations with associates, customers and other stakeholders.
As cinema director, Neil LaBute, observes, "In a relationship you have to open yourself up." Every manager knows this is true because without being forthright, dealing sincerely with and providing access to your clients, the business will not go very far. Your honesty, integrity and trustworthy nature will enable you to earn the loyalty, custom and good will of your community, buyers and sponsors and your colleagues.
Obviously, there are other characteristic and behavioral traits needed to ensure success in your entrepreneurial leadership activities. The five attributes listed above will help you handle most of your organizational responsibilities, duties and obligations.
These traits also form the basis for successful careers in any industry or profession. If, however, you can equip yourself with the means to improve your performance, some additional time spent in innovative training courses will put you over the top.
If you plan on using an executive leadership development program to sharpen your competence in these characteristics, all you'll need to do is study market trends carefully, think of a few strategic options for your venture, provide the capital and you'll be ready to take entrepreneurial leadership action.
"The real issue is not talent as an independent element, but talent in relationship to will, desire, and persistence. Talent without these things vanishes and even modest talent with those characteristics grows." - Milton Glaser
Copyright © 2008, Mustard Seed Investments, Inc. All rights reserved.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Benefits of Joining an Entrepreneurial Organization

Perks. We all love them. From getting a free soda from the store our older brother worked at when we were younger, to the discounts we receive from our suppliers for being a valued customer. It's what fuels our networking and what makes us reach out to organizations that bring value to forming a community. And in today's tough economy, we need all the benefits and perks we can obtain, if only to give us that extra edge over our competition.
So, that's what we can expect when joining an entrepreneurial organization. Perks. And some of the biggest perks come with the access granted to the biggest business opportunities around the world. This is due to the fact that many entrepreneurs form partnerships with organizations and companies in exchange for monetary support and other contributions of a similar nature. Sometimes these partners are large corporations, sometimes small businesses. Sometimes organizations form strategic alliances instead of partnerships. Either way, the benefits of such arrangements become clear and present when you become a member of a reputable entrepreneurial organization.
These partners will often offer discounts to members of entrepreneur networks as a way of saying "thank you" to its members. These help save both time and money, while lowering operational costs and increasing overall profit. And in this down-turn economy, that is no small advantage.
Keep this in mind when looking for an entrepreneurial organization. Make sure that the list of partners they are associated with are all reputable businesses and organizations with long, upstanding connections and reputations in the business world. You'll want to see that the entrepreneurial organization takes pride in its name and who it associates itself with. Remember, any organization you attach your own name with, you are also attaching the names of all those that they attach their name to. This can be a very good thing if you choose wisely, a possible detrimental situation if you don't.
But don't only look for those big name corporations that can help you globally. Look for entrepreneurs who are locally involved in an entrepreneurial organization's chapter. Small businesses are at the foundation of the free market and support from local entrepreneurs shows you that an organization has a strong community presence. Building a strong community of solidarity is tantamount towards keeping the local businesses striving and in sync with the hyper-local economy.
Finally, look for an entrepreneurial organization that has been offering exclusive partnerships for upwards of 15 years. This will ensure that their connections are rock solid and you will be offered a network that is both steady and influential. By having established themselves, the entrepreneurial organization will be able to provide you with growth and expansion opportunities into new sections of the world, increasing your revenue and range of productivity.
Well-established entrepreneur networks also carry more significant benefits and discounts, increasing both their value to you and in turn, your value to them. Don't forget, becoming a member of an entrepreneurial organization works both ways. It is not only you that is benefiting from the organization, but the entrepreneurial organization that is benefitting from you as well. By accepting to associate themselves with your good name, they are adding to the network of entrepreneurs world-wide.
And that's the way perks get started.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Key to Building a Successful Home-Based Business - Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

A successful home-based business is something that many people dream about. With it, they can establish their own work schedule, be their own boss, and save thousands of dollars a year on commuting and other work expenses - not to mention avoiding all that traffic! But the problem these people commonly run into is that they lack the entrepreneurial mindset required to move forward with their business in spite of challenges. They give up when things go sour and they become upset when they fail to generate the kind of income they expected to right away. That's a natural reaction, but the entrepreneurial mindset requires a reaction of a different sort - and it can significantly alter the outcome of your home-based business.
Entrepreneurs who are successful find that they don't see problems as insurmountable difficulties. Instead, they see problems as opportunities to be fleshed out and challenges to meet and conquer. They like to think outside the box and to devise new and creative ways to overcome adversity. A successful home-based business is operated by someone who can implement these strategies - someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. When an entrepreneur encounters something that is not going his or her way, giving up is never an option. Changing course is possible, but only out of necessity after considering all the alternatives. According to the entrepreneurial mindset, no decisions are made out of fear, anxiety, or misplaced passion. An entrepreneurial mindset is a positive mindset; it emanates success thinking, and thus it attracts success in the greater world.
If you want to run a successful home-based business, developing an entrepreneurial mindset is crucial. Fortunately, you can train yourself to do this; i.e., it doesn't have to be an innate characteristic of your personality. You simply need to commit to its development and promise yourself that you'll never give up, as it won't happen overnight. For any entrepreneur who is running a successful home-based business, you can be sure that it took time and patience to get there and that the journey was fraught with trial and error. The entrepreneurial mindset won't make you immune to challenges, but it will show you how to turn these challenges into short-cuts to success.
Generally speaking, the entrepreneurial spirit comes in two different flavors-DIY and KISS. DIY of course stands for Do-It-Yourself, and refers to the entrepreneurial mindset that would rather build everything from scratch. If you do this successfully-think Bill Gates or Steven Jobs here-you can make a massive fortune. The sad reality is however that not everyone has the same drive to succeed as Gates or Jobs. (We all have the same potential for greatness-some of us just don't use it as effectively as those guys did.)
The KISS approach (for Keep It Simple, Stupid) is generally much more appropriate for those of us who don't want to reinvent the wheel while trying to launch a successful home-based business. With the KISS approach anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset can look for and find a veritable business in a box that provides a turnkey solution for a successful home-based business startup. Either approach can work-the key is to find the one that works for you.
Former Scientist for 15 years, burnt out, changing career was a MUST. A great educational and fully integrated internet marketing system gave me the applied knowledge, trained me on the most efficient internet marketing strategies. Passionnate, I immediately started learning many different strategies, social networking, SEO, article marketing, video marketing, PPC. I managed at the same time international and local campaign for different projects with clients and team members. In a few months, with this very system I transformed my life dramatically. I have time for my family, money to enjoy life. Internet is an incredible world of opportunities, of leverage for everyone having entrepreneurial mindset. Now I share with others and help entrepreneurs to start or improve their own business using powerful internet marketing strategies.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

5 Entrepreneurial Skills That Will Make You More Influential and Successful

The Myth of Having Inborn Entrepreneurial Skills
Most people are under the impression that to be successful, the mentality, attitude and the entrepreneurial skills are things that someone is born with, but nothing could be further from the truth.
How would your world change if you were able to influence those around you to do whatever you wanted? How different would your life be if you reached levels of success that you never thought possible just by tweaking your mindset and actions?
You may not believe this, but did you know that there is no such thing as a natural born leader?
Know what this means? This means that you are able to learn the mindset, attitude and the entrepreneurial skills that successful people seem to "magically" possess.
What separate's a leader from a follower is that they made the decision to choose their own path, walk it, making and sticking to their own decisions, and having an end goal in mind.
Sure it takes a lot of practice, emotional growth, a few stumbles here and there, but wouldn't living a life where you are in complete control trounce the one where you are spent following a road someone else laid out for you?
Now this may contradict what I just said, but for every leader to be made, they first have to follow the right person (a peer or role model if you will), learn to be an action taker, and have a positive, enthusiastic outlook on things.
Once the person has been conditioned well enough to possess confidence and strength of character will they finally burst forth from their cocoon and venture out into the world as a unique... butterfly (hmm that sounds a bit too girly and cliché for my liking LOL).
Now from what I've seen from the self made millionaires and entrepreneurs, they all have these 5 entrepreneurial skills in common that have helped them get to where they are today.
The 5 Entrepreneurial Skills that Will Change Your Life... If you Let Them
#1/ Self confidence:
This should be no surprise. Building your own enterprise is a risky business, and those who believe in their own capabilities, and abilities to get them out of the little (or sometimes not so little) snags are the ones who flourish compared to the ones who doubt themselves constantly.
So believing that you are smart enough, capable, diligent, deserving and destined for greater things will no doubt take you to exactly where you want to go, and beyond.
Once you have this skill down, the other entrepreneurial skills will follow suit more easily.
#2/ Being an action taker:
For things to progress, you must do something.
From something as small as buying a relevant ebook, to something as big as going all in financially for a business campaign.
Now I'm not saying to spend money recklessly. Far from it.
I'm trying to say that you must be willing to invest in yourself, your education, your marketing, and your business in general to succeed.
Being stingy will only take you so far. So if you really want the lifestyle and money that the top earners have, then you must get to work and be willing to pay for the tools and systems required to get you there.
As Rob Fore puts it, "Being cheap will keep you broke!"
#3/ Accepting responsibility for yourself:
It's all too easy to play the blame game nowadays, so if you've heard of the saying, "If you want to be rich, just do the opposite of what everyone else is doing", then you're going to want to pay attention.
Out of all the entrepreneurial skills that I am listing here, this is the one that most people have a hard time swallowing.
The difference between rich people and everyone else is that they take complete responsibility for all the happenings in their life. This is not to say that every bad thing that has happened in your life is your fault, but it is your responsibility in how you react and handle the situations that come your way.
Quite a kick in the spleen since I resisted this one for awhile, but it's certainly made me open up my eyes as to why I was unhappy for such a long time. If you blame others, that means you believe you are not in control of your life.
Notice how all the people who are broke like to complain and not do anything about it? Be the opposite and stop complaining and get your butt into gear.
So if you find yourself going nowhere with your business, look at what you are doing first before you go blaming the marketing program, system or company that you are with. More often than not, it's you either doing the wrong things, or not being productive enough that is making you go around in circles.
#4 / Having the ability to care for others:
This is one of the most crucial entrepreneurial skills that I am outlining in this post so pay extra attention because there are so many selfish marketers out there who only care about making money, and not enough about their team.
You wonder why 97% of network marketers fail?
This is why.
Too many selfish people caring about making a quick buck off of someone and then vanishing into thin air... forever. Never to be heard from again.
I happen to be friends with marketers in other people's teams who have been left to fend for themselves in the overwhelming world that is internet marketing. And even though they are not in my MLM company, or any other business ventures of mine, I still help them as best as I can when they need it.
Too often do people pitch endlessly about their opportunity and too little about offering value and helping people.
When you take the time to help someone else, and actually show that you care, you may be surprised that that person could become one of your closest friends, or the star player in your team that will make you hundreds and thousands of dollars.
I've talked to a few business partners of mine who have had this happen to them (recruiting someone who no one cared about and that person made them $100K+). So it could happen to you too if you take the time to care.
#5/ An annoyingly, intense stubbornness to never give up:
Before you roll your eyes and exclaim, "Oh man not this again. So cliche", there is a reason why I saved this for last.
All the entrepreneurial skills I listed will mean next to nothing if you leave this one out.
It's the defining entrepreneurial skill that carries someone all the way across the voyage from dead broke to financially independent.
I'm not sure if it's society nowadays or not, but people are more lazy than ever. Could be due to the increase in technology and how it's super convenient (ironic how I'm leveraging technology to make me money xD) that is making people forget what it really means to stick your neck out and do some hard work.
And to prove my point, I'm going to bring up the 97% failure rate statistic again.
I've heard a lot of, "Man this is so hard... I'm going back to my job 'cause it's easier", that if I earned 5c for every time I've heard it, I'd be quite well off.
Just because something is hard, does not mean that you give up, act like a complete wussy and settle for something less!
There are so many successful network marketers like Mike Dillard, Ray Higdon, David Wood, Jonathan Budd and more who have struggled for months, even years to be able to make that insane residual income of $200K+ per month living in multi-million dollar houses because they never gave up even when failure slapped them in the face countless times.
If these guys can nurture these entrepreneurial skills so can you.
So if you are thinking of giving up, do you really want to go back to the 9-5 life? Or having to ask for someone's permission to take your wife/husband or kids to a holiday?
How Can These Entrepreneurial Skills Help Me?
Success comes to the people who have worked for it, deserve it, and who have paid their dues to earn it.
By building these 5 entrepreneurial skills within yourself, you will find that results will come easier, quicker and that people will be flocking to you when you focus on helping and providing value.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Entrepreneurial Ideas - The Most Powerful Precise Way to Double Your Salary in 12 Months Or Less

The small business advice that wives give their husbands:
Did you know that today and everyday over 200,000 people are online right now as we speak looking for entrepreneurial resources or a way to start a new business from home?
Everybody is seeking entrepreneurial ideas from Holly the housewife to Frank the CEO no one's exempt.
And with the cancer that's sickening our economy leaving 2.6 million people without jobs and anticipating 50 million more world wide, even Joe the plumber could end up in the soup line if he don't join the entrepreneur club.
When was the last time our country has seen a time like this ...the great depression?
Many people are hanging on by a thread to their cars, houses, and what's left of their skimpy 401 k's.
Business owners don't know what to do so they just close their doors forcing thousands more out of jobs almost weekly.
If million dollar businesses are closing what makes me think a small business start up is possible in a time of crisis... Is this the question you're asking yourself?
Entrepreneurial Ideas: That Special Something that Inspires Every Successful Professional to start a new Business venture
Step away from the problem for a minute. Everyone is thinking the Recession is the problem. Let's examine some entrepreneurial ideas that require some innovation and creative thinking skills. Could the Recession be the solution to our economic problems?
Could this potentially be the perfect time for a low-cost start up business?
How long could the average family afford costly houses some doubling after 60 days of ownership, $5.00 gas prices, the average car price $35,000, and inflation rising into the hemisphere?
The Recession saves the day for those that understand (and many do)... the trends and cycles of economics which will set new records with ground-breaking entrepreneurial ideas.
Learn 3 ways to out produce big business in a low-cost start up business
These same 3 discoveries are what assist entrepreneurial success and small businesses to thrive:
1. Big business has lost control: we all know people that work for large corporations or have witnessed first hand the slackers on their jobs... their main objective is to come up with entrepreneurial ideas to try to creatively manipulate "father time-clock".
Their sole purpose is to see how innovative they can become to not work eight hours a day... Then you have those human walkie talkie's... yep.... they don't do squat all-day but talk ...I'm pretty sure those lost hours weren't calculated into the business start-up cost. Can you believe the average employee actually works less than 4 hours a day?
2. Big business many times isn't fair: Why does it seem that the most qualified persons with the best entrepreneurial ideas are NOT leading the team.
Many time the most egotistical, narcissistic co-worker ends-up with the magical position as the manager which kills entrepreneurial spirit, originality and inspiration. Wouldn't it seem like any successful entrepreneur could see that "John" is messing up big time so why is he still the manager?
"Why not chose another manager"? Some big Businesses just don't get it...encouraging entrepreneurial ideas will be critical in the new economy because competition will force businesses to cut loose the dead weight even if it's their best buddy.
3. Big Business comes with big-risk: and the biggest risk is balancing between doing what's best for the company or what's best for the stockholders. What most people don't realize is that companies don't always do what's in the best interest of their employees (shocking I know) but rather what's in the interest of the stock holders.
And some of the greedy money sucking, stock holders and CEO's have one goal and one goal only... WIIFM (what's in it for me) to make as much money as humanly or inhumanly possible, many times at the expense of thousands of others.
With the aid of CNN news and the internet we don't have to elaborate on that issue much ... E.g. $35,000.00 Toilets, private or corporate jets, cooking the books, (accounting errors) Etc...
An old song is playing in my head... "God bless a child that has his Own." And for those that are metaphorically challenged that's simply means" God bless the child that has her own home based small business'
Well I've done my part. The statistics splattered all over the nightly news and in the Local Newspaper don't scare Me. "Are you goanna let 'em intimidate you"?
Will you put on your entrepreneurial thinking helmet and get in the game.
100,000 people (mostly traditional business owners and other professionals) are thrilled about exercising their new found entrepreneurial ideas since most big businesses are sinking faster than the titanic...
Imagine not worrying or caring about the economy or about where your next meal is coming from, who's going to watch the kids while you work 2 jobs or will you even be employed next week, month or year.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Ten Attributes Of An Entrepreneurial Titan

"Conviction is a belief you hold... and it holds you."
Bobby Allison
Entrepreneurial titans envision dominating an industry. Walt Disney, Howard Schultz, Bill Gates, both Watsons, Coco Channel, Bill France, Sam Walton, and Henry Ford didn't just rise to dominate their industry - they created or unalterably changed their industries. Each suffered disappointment as fellow pioneers couldn't or wouldn't share their vision. Each struggled for years against enormous financial odds. Each remained steadfast, carefully putting in place one block after another until everyone could finally see their castle in the sky. Each endeavor eventually reached critical mass, exploding onto the world scene with all the appearance of an overnight success christened by luck. Each industrialist achieved their vision through audacity, perseverance, and uncommon skill. None understood the enmity or envy of those who declined to take the trip with them.
What each of these entrepreneurs had in mind was something larger and grander than anyone had previously imagined. They didn't want to merely win; they wanted to elevate the game to a whole new level. The world is filled with dreamers, but these people had a quality that went beyond dreaming: They had the ego, skill, and determination to make their dreams a reality for the rest of us.
Entrepreneurial Titans, independent of their business, display a surprising consistency in character. We call these characteristics the Ten Traits of Entrepreneurial Titans. As you examine these extraordinary people, the similarities become striking. The titans love what they do, constantly imagine taking their empires to a higher elevation, communicate clearly, approach their business with a marketing perspective, continuously improve their products and services, stay in constant contact with every aspect of their business, think strategically and act opportunistically, relentlessly pursue their goals, take whatever risks are necessary, and surround themselves with exceptionally talented people.
Since few of us will ever try to reach their level of accomplishment, how valuable is it to study these traits? Success in any endeavor requires the same attributes. It is not a difference in kind, only in hue. The titans single-handedly change our lives, but our economy is moved along more by the cumulative effect of thousands of smaller successes. Understanding-and emulating-the traits of the titans will help you dominate your small corner of the world.
The Ten Traits of Entrepreneurial Titans
1. Love of Aspiration
2. Uncommon and Unwavering Vision
3. Skilled Communicators
4. Market Focused
5. Product Obsessed
6. Always Engaged
7. Strategic, Tactical, Opportunistic
8. Driven and Tenacious
9. Risks Takers
10. Collectors of Bright and Talented People
Bill France Sr. (NASCAR) started racing in high school, Steven Spielberg operated a film camera for years before he was eligible to apply for a drivers license, Bill Gates wrote his first program prior to the invention of personal computers, Charles Barkley practiced jumping over a backyard fence in junior high school, Walt Disney doodled as a doughboy in World War I, and Warren Buffet bought his first stock at age eleven. These examples became icons in stock car racing, film, computers, basketball, family entertainment, and investing.
We could list many more examples of people who started honing their skills extremely young. An early start, however, has less to do with their success than you might expect. The real secret is that they stayed with a profession that claimed their heart, mind, and spirit. Entrepreneurial titans get people excited about their vision. This is hard to accomplish if you're not excited yourself. Think about it-all these people got rich doing what they liked best in the world. They didn't go to work in the morning; they went to play at their favorite pastime.
Jealous people like to portray entrepreneurial titans as unhappy and obsessed. This may be only half true. Obsessed people are happy only when they're engaged in their obsession. By this measure, entrepreneurial titans are a happy lot. The breed may be happy, but they are never satisfied despite their accumulated accomplishments. Titans always feel compelled to climb the next peak-one shrouded to everyone else by a misty haze.
Now look at your own professional life. Are you excited when you wake and disappointed when the day is done. If not, then ask yourself why you originally chose your profession. Most of us found our jobs exciting when everything was fresh. If you've gone stale, you need to find a way to rekindle your enthusiasm. On the other hand, if you became trapped by expediency, you may need to consider starting over. If you want to emulate the titans, you must enjoy your work. We all have a secret aspiration. If you have to drag yourself into work, then take your secret aspiration out of the recesses of your mind and find a way to make money doing what you love. No matter what it is-if you get creative-you can have more fun and make more money.
Entrepreneurial titans see things differently than the rest of us. Bill France and Walt Disney believed that if they respectively built Daytona Speedway and Disneyland, people would storm into their parks. Henry Ford saw the automobile as a ordinary family appliance, not as a toy for the well-to-do. When computers were the size of a small house, Bill Gates foresaw a computer on every desktop. Coco Channel visualized simplicity as elegance and style. Ted Turner perceived a ready audience for 24 hour a day news. Entrepreneurial titans possess vision beyond the commonplace and never waver from their view of the possible.
Their vision tends to remain constant, but they continually elevate their sights to a higher plane. Despite all his accomplishments, Walt Disney never finished making his dreams come true. He pushed sound into cartoons, made the first full-length animated movie against everyone's advice, and built an amusement park that defied every convention of the entertainment industry. Toward the end of his life, he left the confines of fantasy with Epcot Center, intent on showing people how to build an entire city. If Disney had lived long enough, perhaps he would have reengineered the world.
Everyone has a passion. The trick is to visualize how to take your passion to a new or enlarged market. Despite the internet being around for decades, it took web browsers to make it easy for everyone to traverse the information superhighway. The human body always needed fuel, but Ray Kroc made fast food part of our culture. Automotive tires remained static for years until the radial came along to reenergize the industry. Thomas Jefferson, and the other founding fathers, even visualized redesigning government for the new world.
Entrepreneurial titans are not smarter than other people; they merely spend more time thinking about how to change the dynamics of their passion. They're individuals who consciously look at things from different angles until they get a unique perspective. Although some people seem to have a natural knack for visualization, this skill can be further developed in anyone. It just takes practice. Take your passion and question everything about it. Sooner-but probably later-you'll come up with a twist or completely new concept that can propel your passion into a livelihood.
Unless you're an artist or writer, it's unlikely you can single-handedly make your vision come to life. When you need resources or skills beyond your personal capability, you must convincingly communicate your vision to others. People can't follow you unless they know where you're going. Entrepreneurs communicate their vision and sell all the time. They sell their vision, their ideas, their organizations, their products, and themselves.
Characteristics of Good Communication
1) Clear and simple,
2) repetitive,
3) illustrative.
Entrepreneurial titans explain their ideas and concepts until the uninitiated understand, they repeat their message at every opportunity, and they use illustrative examples. Their intent is to paint a picture in people's minds-a picture that people can see and strive toward. The description is generally short, always clear, and frequently presented as an allegory or metaphor. When Bill Gates first started running around talking to everyone about a computer on every desktop, computers for individuals were the province of introverted hobbyists. Entrepreneurial titans may not hit on the best description immediately, but they keep experimenting until they find the right words and expressions to get the world to endorse their ideas-or at least enough of the world to build their dream.
Entrepreneurial titans don't build edifices merely to massage their egos- they also want the public to come in droves. These are not private dreams. To attract customers, they think about their business from a marketing perspective. They target a specific market segment, brand their product, ceaselessly promote their wares, and use value pricing that baffles their competitors.
Market Focused Titans
1. Target a Specific Market Segment
2. Brand Products
3. Promote Relentlessly
4. Price for Value
Market Segmentation
Entrepreneurial titans study the marketplace until they find a segment they can dominate-then they focus on this segment until they own it. Walt Disney stridently kept his enterprise focused on family entertainment. Howard Schultz restricted the amount of food sold in Starbucks. Bill France never ventured away from racing stockcars. McDonalds never branched into fine dining. Coco Channel never endorsed a Sears line of clothing. Penske stayed focused on transportation.
You seldom see a scatter-gun approach from one of the entrepreneurial titans. They constantly enlarge their customer base, but generally they accomplish this objective by extending the boundaries of their existing market.
Penske does not own race teams and blaze his name all over his products just because he wants people to see his name. He understands the value of branding a product. IBM, in its heyday, became so closely associated with computers that the computer in the movie 2001 was named HAL, which is IBM lowered by one letter in the alphabet. The Golden Arches are synonymous with McDonalds. Ted Turner made CNN into a worldwide recognized brand. Despite lots of other entries, Steve Jobs got the world to view IPod as the only branded entry in the personal music market.
Branding requires more than advertising and promotion. An irrevocable law of the marketplace is that products must always be consistent with the branded image. Imagine if Apple introduced a new product with a clunky design. The product would not only flop, it would shock and disappoint Apple enthusiasts-so much that it would probably erode the market share of other Apple products. Imagine if Gucci came out with products priced for the middle class. Oh wait, they did, and Gucci is still struggling to regain the brand cachet.
Coco Channel insisted that her designs could be identified on sight. When you went to a Disney movie-at least when Walt was alive-you knew exactly what to expect. Ray Kroc dictated that every McDonalds restaurant anywhere in the world serve food to the exact same specifications. Auto Zone operates over 1500 stores that look identical. Entrepreneurial titans find a formula, brand it into the consciousness of the world, and then strive to never harm their brand by misusing it.
Promote Products and Organization
Walt Disney insisted that every part of his entertainment enterprise promote every other part. The park promoted the movies, the films were used to leverage the television program, and television promoted everything in Walt's kingdom. You can see the same philosophy demonstrated in Penske Enterprises, France's multiple endeavors, and Bill Gates software strategy. Once momentum is established in one area, it is used to launch product extensions or to support weaker areas. Entrepreneurial titans sell and promote relentlessly.
Walmart and Nordstrom use different pricing models which correspond with their chosen market. They both leverage their size, local market conditions, and customer preferences to stock merchandise that represent a value to their customers. Each department store appeals to a different economic segment, but both chains have established pricing policies to insure that customers feel like they got more for their money than if they drove down the street to another store. Rendering value in exchange for the customer's hard earned cash generates ever-increasing sales.
Entrepreneurial titans exhibit an ever-present concern over pricing and value. Despite the expense of Coco Channel's fashions, she made sure her customers felt like they received a timeless design for their patronage. Henry Ford's entire business was predicated on a new pricing model. Microsoft consistently uses pricing as a competitive weapon. NASCAR allows each track to independently negotiate their own television contract so pricing stays consistent with the market appeal of a specific race. If you aspire to emulate the entrepreneurial titans, you need to personally involve yourself in pricing decisions so you can insure that you maintain your customer base and they are so pleased with your value equation that they help you lure new customers into the fold.
Entrepreneurial titans are distinguished by an obsession with their products or services. Beyond enthusiastically extolling their products to everyone within earshot, they involve themselves in every aspect of the product life cycle. They love what they do and they love the products that come from their passion. Entrepreneurial titans crave growth, and growth requires producing something people want to buy. People who build empires shun cost cutting, cash cow strategies because they find running in place boring-and unacceptable. They don't chase after money, they chase after empire, and money just follows.
Entrepreneurial titans are characteristically innovators, not inventors. Inventors tend to be inwardly focused with analytical minds, while the titans' vision comes from being hyper-alert to the peopled world around them. Although titans may not be inventive, they see markets for new technology that the inventor never anticipated. They view products from the consumer's perspective, constantly thinking up new ways to increase buyer appeal. They change the scale of their products, innovate around the edges, force new market segmentation, discover new applications for existing technology, and rejuvenate mature products with new designs and packaging.
Entrepreneurial titans constantly search for ever-improving products. Disney's clean and tidy park, McDonalds' exacting specifications for fries, Microsoft's relentless product improvement, Walmart's use of computers, CNN's compulsion to be first in news worldwide, and NASCAR's fan-friendly image all represent examples of the titan's pursuit of exemplary products and services. The customer is never to be disappointed.
Entrepreneurial titans stay engaged in every aspect of their business. Genuine titans never put their companies on cruise control. In return, the titans receive unflagging loyalty from their customer. From product development, pricing, packaging, staffing, brick and mortar, strategy, publicity, financing, and myriad other details, the titans tend to hold tight reins. This doesn't mean they don't delegate, but they tend to restrict subordinates' freedom until they demonstrate a consistent application of the titan's vision.
Today, most people speak reverently of Walt Disney, but a few ol' timers criticize his omnipresent enforcement of his personal vision. Bill Gates is notorious for digging into the intricate details of Microsoft's products. Henry Ford intimately involved himself in both product design and production processes. Bill France Sr. shared a fetish with Walt Disney for a neat and tidy park.
Many titans invent shortcuts to keep a watchful eye on everything. Disney required his animators to post their work outside their offices. Then in the evening, after they went home, he would wander around sticking colored-coded pins in work he either liked or felt needed further development.
Entrepreneurial titans possess a vision that is larger than they can deliver on their own. They must employ people, so the titans spend the majority of their time tuning other people's work so it stays consistent with their vision. Walt Disney described his management style as being like a bee, flitting from point to point pollinating ideas. People with a vision of their own tend to learn the ropes from the titans, then move on to a venue where they have more personal freedom of expression. Entrepreneurial titans run entrepreneurial schools, where graduates frequently build related businesses in close proximity to their mentors. In the long run, however, entrepreneurs do not work for entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurial titans think strategically. Their strategy tends to remain consistent over a long period-frequently for their entire life. They know exactly where they want to go and chart a course to get there. Because their vision doesn't waver, their strategy can remain relatively constant. No annual strategic planning exercises for them, the vision and strategy are so imbued within their entire organization that they concentrate on tactical plans.
The titans adjust their tactics depending on competition, finances, the economy, and industry trends. Bill Gates originally underestimated the importance of Internet technology, but quickly redirected resources when his mistake became obvious. Despite the reallocation of resources, his strategy of desktop dominance never wavered. In fact, his strategic imperative of controlling the desktop accelerated his awareness that a threat existed from another technology. Once refocused, Microsoft used the same business strategy to vanquish competitors in the browser wars. That is the advantage of a consistent, well-thought-out strategy, the whole organization can change directions in lock-step without detailed instructions.
The titans are uniformly strategic and tactical, but their real secret is an ingrained ability to seize opportunity. A strategic consistency educates everyone in the organization so that when an unexpected opportunity arises, people recognize and leverage it immediately. Entrepreneurial titans understand that a clear vision and consistent strategy enable opportunism.
Titans approach life with a single-mindedness that scares mere mortals. These highly goal-oriented people feel compelled to take their dream to the next level and make it a reality. To accomplish any huge undertaking requires endurance, tenacity and a strong force of will and will to achieve far outweighs any other talent or asset. These are driven people.
We may not share the strength of their compulsion, but we all understand that our smaller dreams also require a concerted and sustained effort. The lesson here is that if you don't really want it bad enough, luck will seldom present it as a gift. You need to get out there and earn it the ol' fashioned way. Henry Ford once said, "Nobody is proud of what they intend to do."
What separates dreamers from doers is a willingness to take enormous risks. The titans always retain supreme confidence in their vision, so even when they're unsure about their abilities, this faith gives them the confidence to repeatedly risk their accomplishments-to-date to reach for the next plateau. Once you become content to ride your previous accomplishments, growth stops, and entrepreneurial titans never stop. Nothing comes free, and continued success requires assuming ever-increasing risk.
In 1988, General Motors wanted to rid itself of moribund Detroit Diesel. Solomon Brothers couldn't find a buyer for an engine supplier that could claim only a 3% market share. Desperate, GM finally cut a deal with Roger Penske for $35 million. Penske quickly reversed the downward spiral, cut costs, introduced new products, and established strategic relationships with his other operations. By 1991, market share had increased to 26%, sales doubled, and the number of hours-per-engine dropped from 72 to 13. Penske sold 25% of Detroit Diesel to the public in 1993 for $95 million, $60 million more than he paid for the entire company. How did he do it? Penske says, "We took more risks."
An ability to realistically appraise the potential reward against the required risk separates the foolish from the astute businessperson. Bill Gates worked in partnership with IBM until he calculated that the potential rewards of going on alone compensated for the risk. Disney felt comfortable with his repeated bet-your-company ventures because he had a longer time horizon than his bankers. The titans take risks-but their multi-dimensional thinking finds an edge that the more conventional overlook.
Talent does not intimidate true leaders. They know they need highly capable people with many different skills to build their dream. The entrepreneurial titans recognize talent in an eye blink and immediately pull these people into their organization. Smarter, more capable, and experienced people give the titans a distinct advantage over their average competitors.
NASCAR racing is a pure meritocracy. Competition weeds out mediocre drivers, crew chiefs, pit and garage mechanics, spotters, and general managers. People in racing carry this competitive, merit philosophy into their business ventures-it's the biggest single reason why so many racers succeed in business. Talk to a racer about business and you'll soon discover that they employ the best talent they can find, whether it's their own staff or professional services. Racing has conditioned them to search for the best in any field and pay commensurate with ability and dedication.
Microsoft has been criticized for its policy of annually dismissing people whose performance puts them in the bottom ten percent. Since Microsoft's average skill level exceeds the industry, a low performing Microsoftie probably would be a high performer in another company. Gates objective is not to punish the bottom ten percent, but to make sure that Microsoft doesn't get complacent and allow performance to drop closer to their competition.
As you examine your staff, continuously work to raise the average performance level. You can do this by making sure every new hire exceeds the capability of your average performer. If you want to build something great, you need a continuous upward spiral in organizational performance.
Detractors of the enormously successful often portray these same ten traits as obsessive, dogmatic, glib, monopolistic, hypercritical, tyrannical, lucky, stubborn, foolish, and as weak players who exploit the skills of others. Taken to an extreme, this characterization might hold some validity. But we are not talking about Al Capone or Adolf Hitler. Entrepreneurial titans play by the rules. True, they continuously test the perimeter, and may even venture a little over the line to probe the limits, but the people we discussed in this chapter are competitive creatures who want to win accolades as victors in a hard fought, honest game. If you want to do something monumental, you cannot go about it the same way as everyone else.
Review these ten traits and ask yourself which ones you need to practice to hone your own skills. To emulate the giants of industry, you need to break from the herd, commit yourself to bringing your best to work every morning, and think creatively. Dream big, challenge existing norms, investigate new methods, leverage technology, and use existing channels to deliver something fresh and useful. But stay in bounds.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

How To Define Entrepreneurial Spirit

The entrepreneurial spirit is often difficult to define let alone examine in detail because of its perception as a highly creative and dynamic entity and it is with this caveat that this article is written.
Whilst the entrepreneurial spirit can be applied to a wide range of disciplines and professionals it is perhaps most closely associated with the world of business and incorrectly used to describe many successful business people, when in fact very few individuals can truly demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit.
Historical Context of the meaning of entrepreneur
The word itself is French in origin and if interpreted in its literal context means "between jobs". It is interesting that a word that has come to project the very pinnacle of success should have such mundane roots as a means of describing being unemployed.
This article examines a number of concepts that appear intrinsic to what constitutes entrepreneurial spirit
1. Uniqueness
In a highly developed global business community where new ideas and business models are increasingly in short supply the importance of uniqueness cannot be under estimated and those exhibiting an entrepreneurial spirit are often associated with concepts that encapsulate originality and ingenuity. Take for example, Steve Jobs bringing the Apple IPOD to the market,
2. Creativity
Creativity is heavily connected to uniqueness but the two are not identical. Individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit are experienced at harnessing the creative process to help them produce a unique product /service or advantage. So where as uniqueness describes the end outcome, creativity describes the process of how one achieves it. For this reason those with an entrepreneurial spirit are often creative individuals who are ready, willing and able to actively adopt new techniques to get ahead even at the expense of being ridiculed by others.
3. Risk Taking
In a western society that is so often risk averse, those with entrepreneurial spirit embrace risk taking and it is impossible for such a concept not to be associated with entrepreneurs and the often high risk potential involved in following a new cutting edge approach. It must be observed however that risk is not the same as recklessness and those demonstrating an entrepreneurial spirit are likely to be adept at assessing the risks involved in any undertaking.
4. Business Savy
As highlighted previously those with entrepreneurial spirit should not be considered as reckless mavericks indeed quite the opposite, good entrepreneurs are motivated by profit and are skilled at identifying a lucrative niche in the market that can be exploited for profit. Take for example, Steve Jobs at Apple Computers who has successfully navigated a profitable course in the computing and software industry despite the market being dominated by Microsoft and IBM for a number of decades. In addition he was the first to spot the potential of utilising the computing industry to open a new market to the music fraternity , with the introduction of the IPOD, the market leader in its business stream. Such actions requires great skill and confidence and demonstrate a clear entrepreneurial spirit.
5. Developing Potential
Identifying, Investing in and nurturing potential are also essential to the ideals attached associated with entrepreneurial spirit because of the need to find differing solutions to a business problem.
Established businesses often fail to discover breakthroughs because they stick to a rigid investment formula that has worked for them in the past rather than finding new ways of moving forward.
6. Adaptability
The entrepreneurial spirit is always adaptable and ready to overcome barriers presented by business problems and is usually quicker at resolving those issues than mainstream business thinkers.
7. Ultimately Destructive
Entrepreneurial spirit is ultimately destructive to its own business in the medium term unless those engaged in utilizing the concept recognize when it is time to handover to mainstream management focussed individuals who can maintain and develop the organisation. This is because true entrepreneurial spirit is obsessed with constant creativity and change which is unsettling to employees without good management and a clear direction. Many of those demonstrating entrepreneurial spirit rarely stay long term in any enterprise they undertake, take Richard Branson for example who after launching numerous businesses under the "Virgin" brand has subsequently sold on many of these to third parties at a huge profit to himself.
In conclusion whilst there are certainly key characteristics which encapsulate the entrepreneurial spirit it would be foolish to pretend that any one individual has all those traits and even more foolish to believe that such a concept can be comprehensively defined. It is also short sighted to believe that those with entrepreneurial spirit are only evident in the business community, indeed many different disciplines and vocations have historical and existing individuals contained within them that could be essentially described as entrepreneurs.
Well Known individuals exhibiting the entrepreneurial spirit : Richard Branson, Clive Sinclair, Freddy Laker, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Anita Roddick.
Words often used to describe individuals with entrepreneurial spirit : Mavericks, Tycoons, pathological liars, risk takers, self made business people, successful, charismatic.