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True entrepreneurs struggle with their business opportunities for a variety of reasons. Among the most obvious are a lack of capital, lack of understanding about marketing, and personnel issues. However, from my own entrepreneurial experience and knowledge of others, there are three major reasons individuals fail in entrepreneurial ventures.

Why Entrepreneurs Fail

Why Entrepreneurs FailIn my 25 + years working with professionals in Business Development, universally I've discovered that they have learned to think like entrepreneurs. This is what has allowed them to rise to the top of their profession. Each would tell you that along the way they have learned how to think differently. True entrepreneurs struggle with their business opportunities for a variety of reasons. Among the most obvious are a lack of capital, lack of understanding about marketing, and personnel issues. However, from my own entrepreneurial experience and knowledge of others, there are three major reasons individuals fail in entrepreneurial ventures.They tie the success of their business with their own self worth.They neglect to set realistic goals and plans for themselves and their business.They are not prepared to pay the price of success.True entrepreneurs with the right thinking prevail over a period of time. They have learned to understand the axiom Roles, Goals, and Tolls.RolesSuccessful entrepreneurs, in contrast to those who struggle, have learned to separate their roles in life from their self worth or self-identity. They understand that role performance or failure with their own venture is not a judgment of them as an individual. People who tend to equate their self-worth to their composite role identity are inherently risk-adverse and look to maintain the status quo. Being able to differentiate these two identities allows them to be risk prone vs. risk adverse, a key ingredient to success as an entrepreneur. Individuals who have risked failure, experienced it, and learned from it, have not only learned how to differentiate their role identity from their self-identity, they have learned the lessons of risking and failing. They understand that early failure in ventures is a natural part of successful startups. They are able to embrace those experiences, learn from them quickly and move on. This is critical to success as an entrepreneur. They must be willing to face and deal with early failures in order to prevail over time. GoalsEven though much is said and written about goals and plans being necessary for success as an entrepreneur, few people learn the mechanics of successful goal setting and planning. Its not the plan but the planning that is important, and the goal setting process allows them to develop the confidence to take risks and fail. Successful entrepreneurs are not only goal driven and goal oriented; they have learned to execute the process of strategic and tactical goal setting and planning. Visualizing goals, writing them down and putting together a detailed plan for achievement provides the confidence and motivation to prevail. More than just business or operational plans, they have goals and plans for all the important roles in their life. They have learned early that if they arent working their own plan they are probably part of someone elses goals or plans. They chart their own destiny, embrace risk-taking leadership positions, make adjustments as required and prevail over a course of time. TollsFinally, entrepreneurs understand that there is a toll to pay. To be successful in any role in life you must be prepared to pay full price one time. There are really no overnight successes as an entrepreneur. In fact, Ive heard it said that overnight success generally takes 15-20 years. One of the early tolls that entrepreneurs are quite often forced to face is the re-making of themselves that can include growing beyond their current circle of contacts. Since most people tend to stay within their own psychological comfort zone, they begin to lose identity with the risk taker. They are comfortable with the type of person who is more like them. Quite often the entrepreneur moves on to a different circle of associates who understand the journey. Stepping out, being your own person and venturing into the risk prone unknown is lonely by itself. Consequently, there can be a newfound stress in old relationships. Its been said before that pioneers get shot in the front and the back, and only through a process of differentiating role performance from self-worth, being risk prone, prevailing through adversity, sticking to your goals, and adjusting your plans will you be prepared to pay the daily toll. An entrepreneur has much to learn in order to be successful, including the day-to-day mechanics of running a business, producing products, delivering services, making money and dealing with people. The biggest challenge of all is developing an understanding of themselves. They come to grips with what they want and what motivates them; this sustains their willingness to prevail over the long term against adversity. Successful entrepreneurs have learned to transform their thinking, allowing them to prevail where others fail along the way. Bill Scheessele is the President, Founder and CEO of Mastering Business Development, Inc., a 25-year Business Development consulting and training company. MBDi consults with firms in the energy, nuclear, engineering, pharmaceutical, IT, and other highly technical service industries helping them build proactive Business Development teams. He can be reached at 704.553.0000 or info@mbdi.com.

The Entrepreneurial Edge

The Entrepreneurial Edge

Some would say that big business has it made; I on the other hand believe that there will always be a special place for the little business guy. Entrepreneurs have an edge over their bigger competitors. So while the Amazons of the world are struggling to break even from their multi billion-dollar overheads, the smaller Dot coms are already realizing profits. What advantages do the little guys have in the marketplace? Below is how to think like a startup and realize greater success.HOW TO KEEP THE ENTREPRENEURIAL EDGE1) STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CUSTOMERSEver heard of the 80/20 rule? The old adage says that 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customers. In business, the customer is king. Its far easier to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one. So, once you get a customer, you need to service the heck out of them.So how do you make your customers feel like they are number one? By letting them know that they are top priority. This means answering your own phone, replying quickly to email requests. It means staying in regular communication with your customers. Keep up a good rapport. Send an occasional email asking them whats new. Mail birthday cards or a customer anniversary card. Gestures like these can build close, long lasting customer relations and goes a long way to building customer loyalty.In addition to building stronger customer relationships, keeping in touch with your customer base can enable dot coms to offer one to one marketing. By identifying your customers needs and buying habits, you can personalize product packages and service offerings to meet your customers individual needs.2) LISTEN TO THE BEAT OF THE STREETIf small business owners want to keep their head above water, they need to closely monitor their environments. By listening to the pulse, you can think proactively rather than reactively. This means spotting things when they are coming so you can act quickly and take advantage.Web stats - Do you look at your web stats regularly? Or are you guilty of being too busy to make time? Unless you regularly look at your web traffic reports, they probably will read like a foreign language to you. By looking at your web reports regularly, youll be able to spot trends. What pages are your visitors going to? What is the hits-to-sales ratio? What can you do to improve that number?Feedback - Another way to listen to the beat is to get feedback from your customers. Try to be on a first name basis with your customers. Ask them how they are doing and if there is anything you could assist them with. The answers youll receive will be worth their weight in gold.Industry news - Keep up with the industry by reading everything you can get your hands on. When you work in living room central its easy to let yourself be isolated from the world. You cant rely on your favorite soap operas to keep you informed about the current trends in business. So put down your munchies and flavored coffee and make a concerted effort to stay in the know by subscribing to print magazines and online newsletters3) FLEXIBILITYWhen I think about flexibility, the childhood rhyme Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick comes to mind. In order to keep from being burned, small businesses need to be nimble and quick. This means having the flexibility to act quickly in response to changes in the marketplace. Like a surfer riding a wave, you have to be in just the right place at the right time to ride the crest of the wave and get the best ride. Likewise, if small businesses monitor closely whats going on in the marketplace, they can act quickly to take advantage of current events and trends in the marketplace.They say what gets measured, gets managed. Keep a close eye on your monthly financials. Listen to your customers. Measure the effectiveness of your advertising. Then when you see a difference ask yourself, was that good or bad and ACT!4) TAP INTO THE FIRE AND LET IT FUEL YOUSimply said, small business owners want it more. Because of this, they will try harder and go the extra mile. Thats why big companies like Wal-Mart and Saturn have made their employees part owners in the company. They have seen that people will work harder for themselves than for anyone else.The best secret to success as an entrepreneur is to find something you are passionate about and create a business around that. When you do something you love youll never work a day in your life. Entrepreneurs have that fire in their belly. Find a way to tap into that internal fire and let it fuel you to success.5) VALUEWhile big companies will often be able to offer the lower prices, small businesses will always be able to pile on the value. By offering better service, adding bonuses, giving and discounts on related products, the entrepreneurs can add more bang for the buck.6) CREATIVE SPARKWhats great about the entrepreneurs is that they arent afraid to try something new. When I think of creative spark, I think of my son, when he was three years old, eyeing a package of cookies up on top of the refrigerator. He doesnt know that it is up really high and that climbing up there is dangerous. He only sees the cookies and starts stacking chairs and climbing until I find him sitting on top of the fridge with a big smile and a mushy cookie face. Similarly, entrepreneurs dont know if something will work or not and fearlessly forge forward with their eyes on the prize. This innovation helps them to tap into new products, techniques, and processes.SUMMARYThey say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. When the market starts putting the heat on your business, ask yourself, are you staying sharp? Do you still have the entrepreneurial edge? By thinking like a start up, you will find that you will have the staying power to compete with the big boys on the block. And youll find that kind of hard-earned success is oh so sweet!

Partnering: How It Benefits Your Computer Consulting Practice

Partnering: How It Benefits Your Computer Consulting Practice

Partnering is really the only way that you can do virtual IT the right way in small business computer consulting. It provides three extremely compelling benefits. Partnering Advantage #1: You Can Broaden Your BenchYou can broaden the skills you offer to a potential client and your existing clients, and provide a more complete solution. This is absolutely critical if youre selling to non-technical small business owners that dont put up with finger pointing.If theyre not technical, they dont want to have six different tech providers. They dont want to have six different VARs in the Rolodex. The finger pointing and the accountability shirking will drive them absolutely nuts. They need someone who can come in and take responsibility end to end and take ownership of the problem. Either you handle it in-house or you find the resources to get it handled. So the partnering with non-competing tech providers is going to provide a very important benefit for delivering on that virtual IT. Partnering Advantage #2: You Will Quickly Broaden Your Sales ForcePartnering is also going to help you broaden your sales force very quickly and effectively. If another technology provider whos the incumbent on an account recommends you for a particular part of that role, youre just about sold. Thats as golden of a referral that you can get. In a lot of ways, thats even stronger than getting referred by their accountant, because they trust the technology provider, no matter who is the generalist and who is the niche provider. Its not about price. Its not a price-sensitive buyer. Its about your coming about as highly recommended as you can possibly get. So the second huge benefit here is you get the opportunity to get in front of your partners clients when they bring you in, Partnering Advantage #3: One Fifth of Your Income Can Come From PartneringBut even more importantly, 21 percent of annual revenue from most of the consultants we work with is coming from partnering. So if you dont want to leave this 21 percent of revenue on the table, its time to really get serious about partnering for more profit. Copyright MMI-MMVI, Computer Consultants Secrets. All Worldwide Rights Reserved. {Attention Publishers: Live hyperlink in author resource box required for copyright compliance}

What Does It Take To Be An Entrepreneur?

What Does It Take To Be An Entrepreneur?

Over the years countless institutes and individuals have asked the million dollar question. What makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur? What traits or characteristics are inherent to a successful entrepreneur and is one born with those traits? Theres great news! Successful entrepreneurs are born every day!Some people believe an entrepreneur is born while others believe an entrepreneur can be taught. Some believe an entrepreneur is like an artist - either you have it or do you dont. Some see entrepreneurs as leaders that are focused, disciplined, competitive, and charismatic, while others see them as huge risk takers. And all of these analogies are right to some degree. Its true all successful entrepreneurs share a few qualities and skills that allow them to be successful. These inherent qualities can be taught; but they often seem to be an inherent driving force that sends individuals down the path of being in business or formally training to for a career in business.Entrepreneurs see the world differently. They have the ability to see the world as a system. They have the ability to see something in its entirety and as an integrated unit, and they seem to possess the ability to see opportunity within the global picture. They are what is called a system thinker. There are other characteristics they possess. Entrepreneurs possess an overpowering need to achieve and tend to be very competitive against themselves. They are continuously trying to outthink themselves and others and they are constantly looking for the edge. This is a process that occurs as naturally as breathing and is a driving force behind most entrepreneurs.They have the determination and dedication to follow through with commitments and they always appear confident and in control. Youll notice they also possess a positive atmosphere. They are of the mindset I can, and I will. They are not afraid of failure because failure is not in their vocabulary nor is it an option.They are objective but have the ability to weigh risks realistically within the big picture. They have an uncanny ability to anticipate developments which gives them the edge on many competitive situations. Entrepreneurs seem to feel right from their gut, call it instinct. They are a resourceful group that possess excellent problem solving skills and are able to diligently work through obstacles as they occur. Entrepreneurs are excellent communicators and recognize how important clear and concise communication is to their success. They also possess a sound working knowledge of the business they are involved in.When it comes to successful entrepreneurs its a question of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Is it inherent qualities that we are born with that lead us to be entrepreneurs or is it when we choose to become an entrepreneur that we develop the skills and qualities of success? Thats a question we shall leave to the great debaters to resolve.What is for certain is that successful entrepreneurs are born every day and that you too can be a successful entrepreneur by developing the skills of success.

Powerful Considerations Before Starting Your Own Business

Copyright 2006 Gobala KrishnanWhat does it take to start your own business? To many, the thought of starting your own business may be too daunting that you give up before you even start. Let's analyze what a typical start-up needs:Start-up CapitalThere is no secret that money talks the loudest of all. As a future entrepreneur, you may well know the fact that capital is perhaps the most essential part of setting up a business, both online and offline. Lack of start-up capital not only puts your business at a disadvantage, it also makes cash flow a serious issue. Over time, it also makes it difficult for you to expand your business. The good side is that start-up capital in the form of small business loans are readily available at most commercial banks around your country. As long as you have a good credit rating, getting small loans should not be much of a problem. One important thing to remember here is to never borrow more than what you need to get started.You loan amount need only cover for the basic necessities of business. Start your business small and control your finances daily, monitoring everything you spend on and trying to cut costs where ever possible. When your business cash flow starts working in your favor, you are ready to safely take out another business loan for expansion of business activities.Business Experience Most people are afraid to start their own business, simply because they have "no experience". Therefore, they never get started at all, and never end up gaining that experience in the first place. Most people are afraid to enter into a business venture because they fear failure due to lack of experience. It's a Chicken-and-Egg story, or a Catch 22, or whatever else you can call it. A Solid Business PlanAny business is more likely to succeed if they have a definite plan of action to follow. Unfortunately, in reality most small business and home based businesses have no idea on developing a business plan that drives them to success. That is the reason why 70% of businesses fail within the first year. A solid plan needs to state exactly WHEN and HOW you will make money.Before you get into business, make sure your business plan is laid out right to the very minor details. You need to know:- Your target market- The average cost of one product- Your profit margin on each product- Your expected break-even point- Cash flow projectionsTo develop a business plan, you can get very valuable resources from:http://www.bplans.comhttp://www.home-business-association.com/rd/bplans/.A Mentor SystemA mentor is someone who you admire, someone in your line of work or business that is already having the success you dream of, and can teach you exactly how to achieve the same success yourself when you start your own home business. In reality however, most people could care less about your business or you. We are all selfish by nature, and who would want to impart seasoned business skills to a competitor, who will be a threat to their business. This mentor will help you in a win-win way that is mutually beneficial. Almost all business books will tell you that in order to be really successful, you MUST associate with those you are already having success, and duplicate their actions.Starting from Scratch Vs Ready Made Business OpportunitiesAll these factors need to be considered when starting your own business. The absence of any one aspect can mean trouble, either when starting up, or later on as your business develops.Considering these factors, it is no surprise that many are turning towards business opportunities and systems such as network marketing. In these systems, all the above factors are taken care of, and you can start your own business without any worries.These systems are especially attractive if you are broke and have no business experience. You are in fact buying a proven system, which with your effort, can be turned into a thriving business.Here's to your success. Cheers.------------------------

Internet Entrepreneurship: First Step, Getting Started

First steps: choosing the businessWhen I was thinking about starting an internet business there were a few things that were must have requirements.The first one was that I needed to be able to get the business to profitability for less than $1600 (100). In practice each site has cost more than that when you figure in the marketing costs needed to get it off the ground quickly. The silk tie retailing site was set up for less than $300 but when you factor in marketing spend, then I have spent almost $800 per month on marketing, mostly Google Adwords and Overture. It is only after month three that I have got close to breaking even. Anyway, near enough and if you are more patient and make less costly mistakes than me then you should be able to do it for less.Secondly. The business had to need as little manual work as possible. I am after a business that I can start working part time and as am a management consultant and sell my time by the hour, for me time really is money. I am also not keen on hiring people if I can avoid it. The internet has the potential to offer some really virtual businesses and I wanted to use this. For this reason as well as start-up costs this means that I do not want to stock or handle any products. I do a lot of supply chain consulting work so it was obvious to me that I could have a business that used other companies to buy, store and deliver the products. The easiest way to do this is by using dropshipping. Dropshippers are wholesalers that ship individual customer orders direct to your customers.There is a lot of information on dropshipping online, however it has to be said that there are some terrible dropshipping companies where prices are too high or products too common to successful. Typical of these is thSelect which charges a fee to join, but once you join you find that the prices are often higher than they are being sold for on eBay and are widely sold with lots of competition. It is very hard to make good money from these sort of dropshippers. There are however some good companies out there with niche products where achievable margins are good.The third requirement was that the business needed to have the potential to generate at least $1k per month in profit. That way with a few web businesses it could become my full time job. I decided that I was not trying to start the next Amazon, instead I was after a good profitable niche. Something not too competitive and with no house-hold names as competitors. This means that I have not gone into electronics even though it is the area I know the best, it is a very competitive market online and were competition includes Amazon and Dixons. To be successful in electronics you either need to find a niche not served by the big boys or spend serious money to get established.I then started searching for business ideas. I read the get rich quick newsletters, internet marketing newsletters, internet business forums and drop shipping websites. I searched for dropship suppliers then when I found a product that I thought might be promising, did a search for it and checked out the competition. If after that it still looked interesting then I did a keyword search on Google AdWords to find out how many clicks I could get and at what cost.While doing this I came across some sites selling ready-made business websites. Essentially they provide a shop template, a catalogue and a supplier of stock and off you go. These sell for between 50 ($80) and 500 ($800). I wasted a fair bit of money with a couple of false starts. I bid on a lingerie web business template on eBay with a starting price of 99; my wife was a lingerie merchandiser for Marks & Spencers and so I though she could help, then I saw a gadgets website from the same people and thought I would get that and see if I could find a gadgets niche and bid for that too. Trouble was I then did some more research and found that lingerie was very competitive online and that the supplier I would be getting had a limited selection of very tarty undies at rather high prices. I also found that the gadget supplier was the Select and as I have already said they are overpriced. I then found the tie web business and decided this was a better niche where margins really are 60% and bought that one from DpbUK who have been very good. Unfortunately no one else bid on the two on eBay and I ended up winning them although I no longer wanted them. $300 wasted. Oops. So do your homework carefully before buying; look carefully at the sample sites and try and find some clues to the suppliers, check the competition out and make sure the margins are high enough.

Summary

True entrepreneurs struggle with their business opportunities for a variety of reasons. Among the most obvious are a lack of capital, lack of understanding about marketing, and personnel issues. However, from my own entrepreneurial experience and knowledge of others, there are three major reasons individuals fail in entrepreneurial ventures.