Monday, April 5, 2010

Success Secrets for New, Mature Entrepreneurs

Are you at least 50 years old and starting, or even re-starting, your business venture? This week I’m going to share with you some secrets for getting your successful business off the ground. Your experienced success as an employee, manager, or executive mean an aware of the pitfalls and benefits of your history is essential to your own successful business venture. This is the first in a series to support and inform your success.

Secret #1 Previous, Experienced success is Both Your Strongest and Weakest Quality

Have you ever considered offering a job to someone who used to for your competitor? If you did, it’s likely you had questions. “Can this person learn our way of doing things?” “What kind of conflicts will come up?” “Will they fit into our corporate culture?”

You are basically in the same situation when you know success in an organization owned or run by someone else. Transitioning to your own business venture means you have both demonstrated successful traits and have no guarantee that you what you know will translate successfully. Just like the employee scenario, you are entering an arena where the success you have already experienced is both your best and worst trait.

Success you’ve already experienced is a powerful indicator that you are talented, capable, and knowledgeable. The challenge you face entering the Entrepreneur Arena is the change from success inside an organization to success being the organization.

What can you do to improve your ability to transition and succeed? Fortunately you’ve got a number of options you can choose—so using the one that best matches your temperament and style is possible.

Michael Gerber, who created the E-Myth series (highly recommended!) suggests dividing the tasks that need to be done into the common categories that actually become departments in a large organization. Even if you’re a solo entrepreneur who gets to do everything, in a sense you create multiple hats and determine the group of tasks assigned to each hat. Then you shift between the different business functions in blocks of time or days. Eventually, you off-load some of these jobs to a Virtual Assistant (my recommendation) or an employee.

Another way to handle this is using a laser-style focus on the immense to-do list that you end up with to start and run your business. At any moment, as, yourself “What is the #1 thing with the most impact right know I can do to move my business forward?” Most new entrepreneurs spend far too much time doing “stuff” and not attending to the key actions each day that will ensure the business succeeds.

Here’s an example, perfect for our early April. This time of year an entrepreneur may have this kind of daily task list:

  • · Meet with the web designer
  • · Get missing information for the tax preparer
  • · Write copy for an advertisement
  • · Follow-up with clients from last week’s conversations

If this was my list (and my Monday, April 05, 2010 looks a lot like that list) here is how I would prioritize these items. First would come follow-up with clients from last week. Here’s why: Even if I do file my taxes on time, if I don’t have new customers and new revenue coming it really doesn’t matter. I won’t be in business next year or even perhaps next month. So at the first moment of my day, connecting with customers and potential clients is the top priority to move forward in my business.

My second priority is the tax information: now that I’ve contacted as many clients as needed, this becomes the essential action. In this case, failing to file my taxes in a proper and timely manner can shut down my business. Delaying the ad copy and the web site do not immediately threaten my business (assuming your primary source of income is not internet sales—then I’m sure you can figure out how this will all change). And so the internal conversation on what to do next continues.

This is a different internal dialogue from the one that created your success inside an organization. Unless you were specifically in direct, outside sales, it’s likely that administrative items had a higher priority than those than specifically creating revenue for the organization. The organization relies on the paperwork and numbers to see how or if revenue is moving forward supported by the small divisions of actions and tasks within the company. (Or at least that’s the plan!) You want to succeed NOW and stay in business—so your number one focus must be on doing those actions first that generate income for your business and you.

You also want to remember at the beginning that most people find the things they like doing the most create long-term income cycles for the new business venture. This is an important thing to do. However, neglecting those less-enjoyable activities that pay-off in the shorter term guarantees you either go out of business OR you end up spending your hard-earned cash to stay in business. Either way, you increase the likelihood of failure. Even the best scenario from this approach means your business makes less.

Remember as you move forward, your new business is not just a small version of the larger organizations you’ve worked in. Learning to ask new questions and look at your work through different eyes is the key to success.

Coming next: Secret #2 Thinking like a Corporation won’t get Your Business to Corporate Success

Wishing you Success & Heart,

Heidi Sue

© Copyright 2009-2010 Heidi Sue Roth. All Rights Reserved.

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