DO YOU HAVE THE QUALITIES OF AN ENTREPRENEUR?
If you have the motivation, drive, energy, idea and funds etc...go for it.[/caption] Why do you want to be an entrepreneur or business start-up? Have you been made redundant or fear that you might be? Are you a high-flying female executive that does not like the price you pay for 'having it all'? Have you grown out of corporate life and want to make the money for yourself instead of someone else? Have you always had a burning desire to create a brand or own your business? If you said 'YES' to any or all of these, read on; it could change your destiny.
The idea for your business start-up[/caption] Of course, it all starts with the idea and while we all dream of being the next 'Dyson', 'innocent', 'net-a-porter', 'post-it', 'flex-pak' or 'apple' and fill a gap in the market, it is equally possible to attain real success in a mature category because you have created effective differentiation e.g. price, quality, service, packaging, speed, design, innovation, communication etc. So, assuming you have the idea.... I am often asked what qualities do you need to be an entrepreneur, business start-up or women in business and so I thought I would put down 10 thoughts here.
An example of communication at work. Daily Express announces the launch of MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare[/caption] Fantastic Communication Skills - When you start-up a business you don't want it to be a best-kept-secret! As an entrepreneur you are 'on' 24/7 with no down time. If it is not natural to you, learn to 'sell' your product or service at every opportunity, from journalists to your doctors receptionists, taxi drivers, waitresses, hairdresser and everyone in-between. I carry samples of my Iconic Youth Serum™ and Product Guide in my handbag at all times. Be creative in your approach to journalists and editors (covered in another post) because you need to be on the pages of their publications. Reach out to bloggers, online magazines and engage on a select number of social communication platforms (too many and it takes over your life!). Estee Lauder's ethos stands true today...tel-ephone, tel-egram, tell-a woman. Be a Possibilitarian - Your attitude dictates your success and more so in a business start-up. I always say that man has walked on the moon so comparatively, my goals are small and must therefore be possible. If I can dream it, I can achieve it. If you don't already have it, develop a tenacity to find ways of making things happen; do not accept 'no' so readily and adopt an 'it will do, will never do' attitude. Seek to Learn and Understand - It is said that knowledge is power and there is some truth in that for your purpose as women in business or any start-up business. It is not so easy to pull the wool over your eyes if you have some knowledge. Most important, ask the right questions, listen to the answers and ask more questions, not stopping until you have a good understanding. Conduct research (which is so easy with the world wide web to hand), speak to other business owners, attend trade shows, listen to presentations, hire someone to teach you the basics and develop an enquiring mind. When creating MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare®, I did all of this and more, though almost took it too far when I was considering embarking on a three year training course - that is completely unnecessary. Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate -There is always wiggle room. First you have to be prepared to ask for a better price or terms and not be Learn to embarrassed by it. Second, you need to understand what is important to the other party so take a bit of time to research or consider that. Third, you've got to convince a new supplier or provider that your business is going to make it, grow and that they will benefit from that in the future with bigger volume. Fourth, always have a choice of three and compare pricing like for like, Fifth, if you are not progressing ask 'What would make you want to make this more affordable for me?' or ' How can we find a way for us to both win'? An example when I was buying packaging for Melting Cleansing Balm™ and Luxury Facial Wash™ was to ask the supplier to store for me and label a second batch once I knew what sell through was - you can save costs in many different ways that contributes to the overall cost. Manage Your Time - your most precious asset and needs to be considered that. See a previous post about my 5 Pillars to a Happier Life™ because maximising your time is not just about your business start-up, it's about your quality of life. In my case, I try to cut down travelling time between meetings by arranging them in clusters in the same venue where possible or near the office. I try to plan one full day in the office every week, so that I can buckle down to dealing with admin-type work and I give my PR team a full day when they can book as many press meetings in as possible. I engage in social communication in a cab, between meetings, in waiting rooms, while the kettle is boiling. AND, I take time out for me (self), with my baby and husband, to learn, to help others and to build and cherish existing relationships.
Take Action - Anthony Robbins says until you take action, it is only a wish. After the idea, research, testing, retesting etc, there comes a moment where you just have to get on and do it. Applying the 80/20 rule is a good idea in most cases - i.e. in most cases you could go on 'perfecting' something forever and in the process, never get it launched. Or, you can have so much experience in your field and know all the things that can go wrong and in trying to pre-empt everything that could go wrong, you delay launch, where less experienced people would have launched and continued to improve it afterwards while they are taking some money. Know when your J(F)DI moment has arrived (think Nike!) Build Relationships - throughout your life and cherish them. It's people that make the world go round;money just makes for a more comfortable ride. Having great connections and relationships makes a business start-up so much easier. Don't be afraid to ask for help and support - most people will be only too happy and some will take your breath away with their generosity. This includes your family and partner who will often need to pick up your slack in the home while you burn plenty of midnight oil, are late for everything and may have to make additional financial contributions to living expenses while you are not earning. I have benefitted from relationships that were developed years before I started my business andbless them everyday. Focus - Always begin with the end in mind. Visualise it, feel it, imagine it, dream it and let it be firmly imprinted on your brain. Move closer towards it every day.
This absolutely does not mean be rigid - you must flex tactics when something is not working as you thought it would. Focus, will make sure you stay on track financially, it will ensure that you do not lose your positioning one decision at a time. It is your compass. Energy - you need an abundance of energy as you juggle multiple tasks, many of which are not your area of expertise. Create an environment (your body and work space) that supports this need. Good nutrition, deep sleep (there will be les of it), play time, regeneration and exercise. While I am creating products like Intensely Youthful Eye Cream™ and launching the Tease Me Please Me™ Taster Set, I also have a baby, husband, family and friends and I cherish that so, have to make energy for it all. If you are women in business or starting while you are still holding down your job, you might, like me, work after the baby has gone to bed and long into the night.
Do Not be Afraid to Fail - don't even think of it as failure; it's experience and what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. You MUST develop Bounce so that when you hit the floor, you are right back up again, and ready to go, armed with another lesson under your belt. No room for taking it (or all the other rejections you will get) personally. One of my visions is being a 100 or so, sitting in my rocking chair and reflecting on my life. I am determined that if I am to have any regrets, it should be things I did, not those that I did not find the courage to do. See, starting with the end in mind applies to many areas of life. For me, not starting a business would have been a regret hence, I had to make it happen. This applies to other areas of our lives too and I apply it as a principle. If you feel the same, I say go for it with all your heart and mind and enjoy every moment on the journey. Please participate and write your comments on this post below. It helps me while I try to help you and again, the world keeps turning. Thank you.