Being an entrepreneur myself for three years, I have realised this path is not easy and requires a lot of perseverance, passion and love for what you do, or you will not last long.
I worked as an accountant in the corporate world for 13 years and earned a decent wage but one day I just went ‘I quit’. I hated the rat race, the 9-5 and the corporate politics; I just wanted to do something on my own with more freedom.
In the first year, after quitting my 9-5 job, I had no idea how to find a single client who could use my services. I had no marketing or sales experience and my brothers, who have been entrepreneurs for many years, suggested this is not for me and I should go back to a safe and secure job.
I did everything I could think of to attract new clients starting from going door to door, asking my friends, cold calling and then later digital marketing.
In the first six months I managed to get one client, and as usual mortgage, rent and all the regular bills started piling up. The financial stress grew and grew. At times, I doubted myself and even considered going back to a 9-5 job thinking this is not for me and maybe I should take an easier approach.
Today after three years of putting a lot of hard work into the business I have managed to build a large business servicing a multitude of clients.
It wasn’t easy after all, but what made me come so far is I still love what I do, and I continue to learn and improve from my failures and mistakes.
Another reason for my success is the four magic principles I learned from a book titled “Think and Grow Rich” by Greg Harbit.
In this book, Greg explains these principles- how they work and can be applied to any kind of business. If you look at any business from these principles point of view, you will not go wrong.
Here are the four magic principles:
This is the most important principle for any business to be successful. If you say, you can or you cannot, both are right.
In the long journey of entrepreneurship there will be many setbacks and failures, and sometimes it is hard to keep your mind positive and easy to end up on the verge of giving up.
If this happens, the best thing to do is ask yourself why are you in this business? What problems are you solving? How you are helping others? Do you love what you do? If you have positive answers, you will be able to overcome any difficulty or challenges.
Working with 100s’ of small business owners, if I take an example of five businesses who are successful and five of them who are not successful offering the same product or service, their main difference is that successful people have a positive mindset and unsuccessful people always complain about circumstances, their employees or the government and so on.
The next question you may think is how we create positive mindset when we are bombarded with so much negativity around us.
There are three simple ways to do this:
- Decide your goal and work on it everyday
You need to define goal or direction and have a benchmark of where you want to go. Being a small business owner, the easiest benchmark could be x number of sales or clients you want to serve.
It has helped me change the habitual negative mind I have been carrying for around 30 years. I had to really work hard to change my habits when it came to negative thinking.
The simple way to do this is every morning, give yourself 30-60 mins and constantly think about your goal and visualise you have already achieved it. It creates positive feelings and happiness which you want.
I am a big fan of affirmations. I believe we become what we think, about and by using positive affirmations such as ‘I am intelligent, I am smart and I am brilliant’, I have been able to change my mind to really believe in myself.
I have met many entrepreneurs who either completely ignore marketing or market at a minimal level, then complain about not getting enough work or customers, and the economy is tough etc.
Think of Coca Cola. Why is it a classic household name? It’s because of marketing. The same goes for Apple Inc., McDonalds and Redbull.
If you are serious about business growth, marketing is the most important element to achieve it. So much so, you should be spending half of your time brainstorming, implementing and tracking your marketing efforts.
You can have the best product or service, but if nobody knows about it then that product or service will remain with you. It is with marketing we tell the world we exist.
Depending upon your location and type of product or service you are offering, your cheapest, easiest and most effective way to market your business is via social media. Using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and more, you have exposure to millions of people to whom you can offer your product or service.
Management doesn’t refer to how good a leader you are, it refers to how long your business can survive if you are out of town or sick.
For most entrepreneurs, the answer is 2 days or 2 weeks. This means your business relies heavily on your presence and you doing a lot of work for its success.
This can be improved by documenting all work procedures and automating as many tasks as you can. You can delegate tasks to trusted employees that can work autonomously, and you can integrate technology to improve procedure efficiency (e.g. inventory management, bookkeeping, scheduling social media posts and booking/order management depending on the type of business).
At the end of the day, the reason you do what you’re doing is because you love it but, also to have financial and personal freedom.
Lastly, you need to make sure you are making enough money in the business to be sustainable long-term.
You need to have set targets in terms of sales, net profits and cash flow and so on; and you need to monitor these things in a regularly.
Money is the last principle because if you work hard on the first three principles, money will naturally come.