6 Fundamentals Every Modern Entrepreneur Needs to Succeed

The road to being a true-blue entrepreneur is paved with spectacular stories of crash-and-burn. It requires a certain type of stamina that few possess and an insatiable desire to do better than the day before. Such a demanding lifestyle has no boundaries in place, except for those self-imposed. This alone can prove deadly for the half-serious startup hopeful.

Mastering the daily hustle is something that will either make or break any hopes for success. If you’re not serious about upgrading your skill set, than prepare to be beaten by those who make it their mission.

Succeeding today calls for a jack-of-all-trades-like approach. Here are the qualities that future success stories in business need to possess:

1. A scholarly research ability. People don’t simply buy things anymore. There’s a winning mix of brand interactions, advertisements and recommendations that go into every significant purchase we make.

Getting this recipe to truly click involves not only knowing the history of your industry and competitors, but also knowing where and when to go for the latest updates and insights. Don’t pick up a copy of The New York Times, read through, and call it a day. Find those bloggers and influencers leading the way, peruse every trade publication for your industry and learn where to go for real answers.

Having an edge in the form of information is what will help you win those customers who are still on the fence.

2. A strong social media presence. If your LinkedIn profile looks like a phone book listing, we have a serious problem. If your indecent Facebook photos show up in an online search for your company, we might have a catastrophe. Tighten up your presentation to the world to leverage the free online assets we know as social media.

Designers are using Instagram to showcase their portfolios. Business owners are using Facebook to adjust their product offerings. Twitter breaks news, Tumblr shows trends and Pinterest uncovers customer buying habits. Find the channels best suited to your industry and start making them work for you. Just make sure to tie up any loose ends first.

3. An actively updated blog or website.  If you are so much as selling lemonade, you need a website. Unless you don’t like making money, you need a blog. If you’re not actively engaging potential customers online, showcasing your expertise and properly updating your channels and site, you’re losing to someone who is. Get in a weekly rhythm of updating your digital properties.

Websites drive conversions and blogs drive search traffic. Both can become bottomless pits when it comes to managing your time. It helps to have a set of resources or a resident expert in your corner. WordPress sites, and the like, make updating your content painless but consider teaming-up with an outside firm or consultant. Their insights and strategies can save hours of frustration.

4. A professional look and feel to everything you do. Even if you’re not in the fashion industry, every entrepreneur needs to work on perfecting their own personal style.

There’s a certain beauty to a freshly-minted business card or fine-pressed uniform. Clean, appropriate, smart design is what drives the professional world. Even for multi-colored or explosively creative big-league companies, there is a certain order and form that exists in their business materials that simply screams professional.

If you want to succeed, you will eventually need to develop an eye (or at least an appreciation) for the power of superior branding. Because superior branding is enough to turn a “maybe” into a “yes, please!”

5. A knack for storytelling. This is an often untapped asset in the business world, an escape from being perceived as just another vendor. While a great many might feel like they don’t have one, rest assured: every business has a story worth telling. It may take some soul searching, but once you lock in to that narrative, greater opportunities will begin to present themselves.

The world is filled with truly special individuals and great stories just waiting to be told. Recognize where your products or services come into that story and align yourself with it.

When it comes to keeping things fresh, it helps to keep a journal to recount all of your awesomeness. At a company, it’s about creating the story of a best-in-class service or product that makes life better. And don’t forget: a great story needs great characters!

6. A way to put it all together.  Keeping an ear to the online grindstone is a full-time job. A limitless smorgasbord of productivity apps and software services can leave many anxious and distraught. Turn these feelings into fuel and recognize that anything is possible. Use sites like IFTTT.com to automate certain processes and services like Evernote to keep tabs on your daily readings.

Be sure to take a step back from it all every day. Find time to reflect, with family or through fitness. Keep yourself motivated by seeking out mentors, video tutorials and new information. You don’t need to back yourself into a corner, but you do need a strong focal point to help guide you through hardships the that will inevitably come about. The stronger your focus, the better chance you have of coming out victorious.

In today’s world, it’s never been easier to make your mark in business. The challenge lies in saying something meaningful and relevant. Take part in the global economy, find the balance that best suits you and get ready for big things to happen.

posted on:entrepreneur.com

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If You Want to Win, Stop Focusing on Winning

It seems counterintuitive that you could actually win more (in sports, life, or business) by focusing less on the win, but it’s true. Let me explain. Coach Bill Walsh (named the second greatest coach in NFL history by ESPN) celebrated every well-executed play, whether or not that play resulted in a score or a win.

To him, it didn’t matter if the play was unsuccessful in its results as much as that it was successful in its execution. Because of his sincere love and respect for the game of football, Walsh focused on training his team to play with precision. On the other hand, a “successful” play, executed sloppily, earned his correction.

It’s the same for us as business leaders. The more we focus on winning, the more stressful and less productive the environment becomes.

Focusing less on the win isn’t about lowering the standard, it’s about creating an environment around the disciplined execution of winning plays (the process) and focusing on what you can control rather than what you can’t. This leads to less shame among team members, creating a better environment.

Highly disciplined execution of plays (in other words, when team members do what they are supposed to) doesn’t just happen. It requires you to invest and provide leadership to those team members. It requires a culture that focuses on long-term goals without getting stressed about the short-term ones.

Bill Walsh liked to practice so hard that the plays became instinct. In the sales department, a “play” might be closing someone on the value of the product or convincing them that your solution is the best available option. These “plays” may or may not lead to someone signing on the dotted line, which is beyond the salesperson’s control.

Speaking of what you can control…there’s a lot you cannot. That’s why we, as leaders, need to hold our people accountable and measured on what is in their control. Focusing on those areas will increase your probability of success.

Spending all your focus on the desired end result will bring an environment of shame. Team members will be afraid to admit when the intended results don’t happen. Knowing you made a mistake is one thing. Thinking you are the mistake is a recipe for shame and burnout. The more you focus on results, the more you panic and shame people.

Rather than shaming your salespeople for the loss of a sale, focus on improving their understanding and execution of winning plays/behaviors. If shame exists, confidence does not. And without confidence, salespeople won’t sell, and no one will feel the freedom to share new ideas or even to fail in pursuit of a goal.

But if you take this new approach, you’ll “win” and garner success, but you’ll do it with integrity. And your team members will feel respected and valued. And that’s a team they’re going to want to commit to.

courtesy:entrepreneur.com

Success vs Satisfaction

Some may think these terms are synonymous. However, it occurred to me the other day, that while we might be a satisfied customer, this isn’t always elevated to a successful outcome.

There is a big difference from being satisfied at a tactical level and creating success at a strategic level.When implementing quality & risk management solutions, for example, the selection experience and usability of the technology can be very satisfying.But that doesn’t mean it will transform the success of the business.What are the ultimate possibilities of the implementation, beyond automating a process?

The premise of Operational Excellence is not only to achieve customer satisfaction, but to achieve greater success in the business.If you have created a fantastic product and wonderful brand experience that initially satisfies your customers, is that enough? What about extending that opportunity to new markets where other customers would benefit from the same? And what will happen to the life cycle of the customer’s use of the product – will their use be merely satisfying or provide some degree of success or next step? Extending satisfaction to success is the real growth opportunity.

Which brings me back to what the implementation of systems that support Operational Excellence should achieve.Costs,quality,compliance, globalization, and customer demands are forcing manufacturers to find ways to do more with less, and technology adoption is critical to satisfying these demands and also to achieving greater success.For example:

User satisfaction has been important to ensure the easy adoption of quality & risk management tools.As such, disparate and home-grown solutions satisfied immediate requirements for capturing or automating data within siloed functions. Yet, that hasn’t stopped critical quality issues and non-conformances from occurring – a result of focus on satisfaction but not success.

A maturing manufacturing software landscape continues to enable a more refined focus on metrics and KPIs.Automated data management is satisfying a deeper analysis of performance.Success depends on understanding the real-time metrics that enable proactive quality management.

Advancements in next-generation manufacturing software and technology are enabling organizations to more readily identify areas for improvement.By continuing incremental steps beyond satisfaction towards success, these advancements will be key to accelerating operational excellence.As you look to your own technology roadmap,consider not only what will satisfy your functional requirements, but also how implementation, vendor support, time-to-use, and integration amongst systems will deliver success.

courtesy:grcnews.com