We’ve all heard the old entrepreneurial wisdom like “it’s lonely at the top” and “lead by example.” Some of these have become gospel because they’re true, plain and simple.
Yet, other entrepreneurial “wisdom” seems to be rooted more in a single person’s experience than general veracity. To move mountains, you’ve got to break a few rules, and we suggest starting with these.
Focusing On The Competition
Sure, it’s important to know who you’re up against. Scoping out the competition is an important step in analyzing whether there’s a market for your product and where you fit into the existing landscape.
But beyond that, it’s easy to become obsessed. When you’re focused on what the competition is doing, it means you’re not focused on your own business—which is where the bulk of your attention should always be.
Being Available 24/7
As a boss, you’re no doubt committed to your business. Maybe you even feel like it’s your baby!
But the fact is, it’s not a baby, and it doesn’t require your round-the-clock care. If you make yourself available for business matters 24/7, the only success that’s guaranteed is you successfully burning yourself out.
Instead, aim to be 100% invested when you’re in the office while disconnecting without guilt when you end the workday.
Thinking Outside The Box
You need big thinking to create disruptive businesses—to an extent. But you also need structured systems in place to grow effectively, and not having them is where many startups meet their demise.
It’s better to take something you know and create systems that make you the best at it, rather than counting on your big idea and luck to turn into a winning business.
Move Fast and Break Things
“Move fast and break things” was the longtime motto of Facebook, championed by founder Mark Zuckerberg and quickly adopted by the tech startup masses. In short, it means that it’s more important to get new things done quickly rather than to get them done perfectly.
But even Zuckerberg has reversed his thinking on the subject.
In an era where fake news is a growing problem, we’ve seen firsthand how being first isn’t always necessarily best. Sometimes it pays to take a little more time to get it right, and the same holds true for starting a business.
Sticking To Traditional Funding Sources
We’ve preached the merits of starting a business on a shoestring budget before. If you’re able to go into business without going into debt, that’s always going to be the best option.
That said, you’re no longer forced to choose between piling up a mountain of debt, securing an angel investor or forking over your own savings to get your new enterprise in motion. These days there are a multitude of creative funding options available to you, from crowdfunding to microloans to leveraging your future earnings. Explore all of them before selecting the one you’ll use.
Being A Salesman
An old business maxim is to follow your ABC’s: Always Be Closing.
While you’ll always be your own biggest fan and should be able to discuss your main selling points in a clear and concise “elevator pitch,” you don’t need to be a sleazy salesman to succeed.
The modern marketplace is consumer-driven, and the internet has largely removed the need for the salesman to facilitate the sale.
Instead of selling, focus on building value which makes the customer come to you.
Relying On Who You Know
To be sure, business success is often determined by who you know, but the days of being limited by your own social or societal circles are long gone.
The internet, particularly social media, has made it possible to have access to almost anyone you can think of, from CEO’s to celebrities. If you need a relations with the right person, go out (digitally speaking) and make it instead of waiting for the right connections to fall into your lap.
Taking A 30,000 Foot View
A successful entrepreneur has to be able to see the big picture and help the rest of the team to see it, too. But that doesn’t mean you should lose sight of the details.
No one ever won in business by trying to be everything to every person. Instead, success is found in the niches.
If you find yourself feeling a little lost on where your business is headed, getting down to the nitty gritty of who you are and what you specialize in has help get you back on track.
Playing By Rules
There’s no playbook for being an entrepreneur. Even the advice of the greats should be taken with a grain of salt because each situation and leader is unique.
Most of all, the biggest rule to break is believing there are any rules whatsoever. You’re blazing the trail one day at a time, and it’s up to you to decide how and what that means for your business.
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