They’ll Work For Your Business, Too

You’re an entrepreneur. Whether you’re trying to grow a start up into the next social media sensation, or keep your 3 person operation going, you’re a business builder. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but success is the exception, not the rule here.

Chances are, you’ll be looking around a decaying office one day, wondering what happened to that dynamic place you once loved. There was just more going out than coming in, one day that last lifeline finally slipped from your fingers. Even so, there are plenty of entrepreneurs who’ve tasted success, some multiple times.

What separates successful entrepreneurs from those who struggle constantly, and even fail? Modeling is a tried and true business principle. Look at what’s working and emulate it. It works for entrepreneurs, too. Make changes for your situation, but don’t turn success on its head. You know what that is.

Entreprenurship In a Nutshell

Recently, Brian Honigman spoke with 33 tech entrepreneurs on what they learned when building their businesses. His entry on the Huffington Post blog was a revealing look into what it takes to grow a successful business. Although he restricted his interviews to tech sector chiefs, their information applies to entrepreneurs of all stripes, including you.

There were many common threads. I distilled the 33 entrepreneurs’ comments into the following highlights you can model to grow your business, or just help improve it:

1 – Evolve

If you don’t evolve, you’re not spotting new opportunities; someone else is. Use change to your advantage. Change happens fast and constantly. He one constant is it breeds new opportunity. Adapt and spot those new opportunities without losing focus. Capitalizing on them can revolutionize your business.

2 – Focus

Hyper-focus tempered with awareness is the key to success. Don’t take your eye off the ball; ever. You may not even like sports, but most sports analogies apply equally to business. This is one of them. Whether you’re a one person blogger, a small contracting firm, or a 6-person team on their way to 600, there are a thousand distractions that vie for your clock cycles. You only have so many; don’t waste them crunching on something that doesn’t advance your organization.

3 – Failure Breeds Success

Failure, large and small, is a common thread in success. It’s what you do with failure that’s important. Be unafraid of small failures and use them to improve your operations, offerings, and marketing. Not only prevent a large failure, but propel you to greater success.

4 – Employ Many Talents

Success requires many talents. Diversify your organization’s talent pool. One common mistake in young start ups is hiring too many similar individuals. We like to be with others like us. Unfortunately, that can leave you wanting. You’ll have an over abundance of talent in some areas, while running dry in others.

5 – Take Action

Action is success’ best friend. Perfection is the enemy of action. You don’t have to be perfect. You do have to take action, and keep taking it. You’ll have chances to adjust and improve things as you go along.

6 – Make it Simple

Simplicity is King – Make everything simple: your solution, understanding it, your processes, etc. The simpler it is to understand and explain, the more people “get it”. That’s true for your customers and employees alike. Simple means it’s easier to scale your operation and keep things on the right path. Humans, especially smart ones, tend to over-complicate things. Resist that trend.

7 – Put Customer Experience First

Customer focus helps avoid two common problems:

– Delivering a product no one wants

– Providing a customer experience that keeps customers from coming back and spreading the word to others.
Your customers are the backbone of your business. Your entire organization should be aware of this.

Even with years in small business, including start ups, I was somewhat surprised. 33 different voices, yet all singing a few common songs. It makes perfect sense, though. There are core principles that run through most successful organizations. The fact that they’re echoed by these 33 is really no surprise.

What are your favorite entrepreneurial insights? What did I miss?