No matter what industry you work in, there are certain fundamental principles that hold true if you want to excel as an entrepreneur. As the CEO of a global entrepreneurship training organization and direct selling company, and a lifelong entrepreneur and enthusiastic networker, I know the pitfalls that can prevent even the most committed businesspeople from reaching their full potential. To help you plan for a prosperous future, here are my top tips for entrepreneurial success.
1. Fall in love
To give your best, you need to fall in love. No, not in the conventional sense, with a person, but with your work. Before you even begin your journey as an entrepreneur, it is important to find something you’re passionate about doing. When I was 29, I fell in love with direct selling and it has been a lasting love affair…I still get a kick every day out of working in this space and that is of primary importance if you want to excel. If you believe in what you’re doing, it is a sure-fire way to provide the motivation and energy you need to get your venture off the ground. Of course, it will still be work, but work that means something personally to you, not just someone else’s dream.
2. Be real
To truly excel, it is vital to have integrity and be transparent in your actions – be real! It is important to give more than you get and add value to people. If you build a good reputation, it will go before you and others will want to work with you – above all, be nice to people! As an entrepreneur, your success will be built together with others – you need customers, partners, people to work with and people to support you, to be successful. Indeed, you cannot separate success from teamwork – entrepreneurship is a team sport! Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much. In the wise words of Mother Teresa: “I can do things you cannot do. You can do things I cannot do and together we can do great things.”
“You cannot separate success from teamwork.”
3. Work, work, work
OK, so this may sound obvious, but it’s still worth saying, as this is the foundation on which you will build your entrepreneurial success – there really is no substitute for hard work! In addition, if you lead by example, those around you will also respect you for your commitment and it will set the standard for what you want from your team. However, hard work alone will not guarantee success – you have to work smart too! You need to focus your efforts on the activities that really make a difference and make you money – don’t waste your time on distractions. Have a plan and stick to it – it is also about persevering. Steve Jobs said: “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance”. In fact, the modern-day entrepreneur could be compared to the gold prospector of yore – both trying to build a brighter future by hard graft and persevering until they strike gold.
4. Think outside the box
To truly excel as an entrepreneur, you must have vision – think bigger, think better, think smarter, think without limits. It’s all about thinking outside the box, being creative, and disrupting the status quo – embrace change! You need to go where there’s some uncertainty and where you’ve not gone before, instead of being risk-averse and playing it safe – entrepreneurs are risk-takers! You therefore need to be prepared to look outside your comfort zone for solutions and opportunities. For example, who is your business reaching? If the demographic is lopsided – the same culture, age, gender, education level – you’re playing it safe. With over seven billion people on the planet, what opportunities, what profit are you missing by not communicating with a wider range of people?
5. Build your skills and network!
Skills and competence are the key to success, so if you want to excel as an entrepreneur, it is imperative that you learn all you can and keep learning. I live by this rule and continue to enroll in valuable courses whenever I can – to excel, you must never stop learning. In a highly competitive marketplace, this will distinguish you from the crowd and inspire you. As mentioned, it is vital to focus on the activities that make you money, and these are always to do with your skills. So, investing time in training really is money in the bank – maybe not today, but certainly tomorrow. While it might seem difficult to find time to take a course, there are flexible online options which can fit around your busy schedule. In addition, if you’re serious about building your skills and being the best, get yourself a mentor – this is the fast-track route to success.
Once you’ve built up your skills, don’t hide your light under a bushel – let people know you are competent. Networking is the key to your success – speak to as many people as possible and you will be on your way to succeed!
Dan Andersson is the CEO of a global entrepreneurship training organization and direct selling company. He says: “If there is anything that sums me up, it is that I passionately believe in the potential inside people. Anything that someone else has done, you can do also. In fundamental terms, there is no difference between you and other people – the hardware is all the same – the only thing you need is a key to unlock that latent potential.” In many ways Dan’s career has been a quest to find a platform to act as a catalyst for this vision of personal and professional development.