This morning I chaired a seminar on entrepreneurship. When you’re addressing potential entrepreneurs, the best way to grab someone’s attention is to share the passion to switch on a creative vision.
Then it hit me like a ton of lego. Focus on leadership, innovation, how not to write a business plan, and how to construct something sustainable, i.e. Built To Last aka James Collins and Jerry Porras. Preparing also gave me time to pause and think back on my own entrepreneurial ventures, where we’ve been as a team and where we are headed into the future. Value creation is a never ending issue, but it can only work when you have sound leadership at the helm.
Here are some of lessons I have learned matching people with opportunities:
Leadership begins at home
Target who you admire. They can come from any walk of life not necessarily business. What inspires you most about him or her? Character is so important. One reason organizations fail is often a lack of a charismatic personality, who can empower and embolden his or her team to positive action. Such personalities stand out like diamonds in the window of Cartier. Think Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Steve Jobs or Mother Teresa.
The Written Word
Like any project, you will need a roadmap. Write down your vision. What do you see in 3 years? In 5 years? Ask yourself, will these milestones get me closer to my vision? What decisions must I make now if I plan to launch in 6 months?
Listen To The Music
Listening to your clients is obvious. When we first started, we only helped people apply to the top business schools. Quickly, our clients demanded more. Before we could say cha-cha, we evolved into a career management consultancy offering personal branding, social engagement, and feasible work-life balance platforms to bring more meaning into their professional lives. The marketplace is a great instructor.
However, to stand out from the pack, you will need to do more than just listen and deliver. You need to be innovative and creative. Forget fear. That’s soooo yesterday. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You fail. Bingo! If can live with this, which most entrepreneurs do, then you’re ready for anything.
The People’s Struggle
In today’s universe keeping up is just for starters. If you think technology has revolutionized your life now, it’s only going to get faster. Go with the flow and learn to swim in the Aegean like a dolphin. Leveraging innovation is necessary whatever your trade.
The Price Is Right
I’m not referring to that American TV show. The true price of leadership is not a number. It’s about dynamics. Believe in and deliver value. Clients can spot the difference at a glance. When you deliver true value, your target audience won’t care about the price. They will focus on a meaningful exchange.
Getting the A Team
Only bring on board people with a gang busters mentality. Fire power coupled to strong leadership gives you dominant position. Think of that basic management chestnut: 1+1=3. It’s called synergy. Clearly, this is essential for any start-up, but it also applies to larger organizations. There are times when you must let people go. Sometimes it’s for economic reasons and at other times individual goals don’t mesh with corporate goals. These are tough decisions, particularly if you have a heart. This precise issue came up this morning.
So, how do you let people go? With grace and dignity. Think of the greater good of the group. Low blows and nastiness are not the way forward. I know we don’t live in an ideal world, but you are responsible for your actions and behavior. To stand out as a noble leader, act like one in word and deed. Burning your house down is not a solution.
Someone Done Me Wrong
Unless you work for the mafia, learn the art of forgiveness. Grudges and vendettas are not sensible business practices and are unsustainable. I won’t even go into discussing the karma you will attract to yourself.
In God We Trust All Others Pay Cash
I once read this over a bar counter. What I am suggesting is do not extend credit unless the enterprise has the capacity to absorb this. For young entrepreneurs especially, make it clear that payment is due up front before work commences. When everything is clear from the outset, you won’t risk what strikes down many new businesses: cash flow issues.
People talk incessantly about this issue because it is a subject that does not go away. Balance is subjective. Some people live to work. Others work to live. Confucius once stated, “Find a job you love, and never work a day in your life“. Pithy don’t you think? The key here is passion. Make “work” fun. As an entrepreneur, you have this privilege. Use it and share the wealth.
Do Unto Others
You don’t need to read the scriptures to get this. If you want respect, then show respect to everyone you come into contact with. Forget the Godfather approach to business practices. One form of respect is to value your team. The words thank you and great job exist in every language. I’m not talking about senseless flattery. I talking about recognition. People don’t work just for the money. They want to feel useful, i.e. valued.
Multitasking is one thing. Focus is another. Be coherent when planning and implementing strategy. Set milestones. They are essentials in any venture. Benchmark your progress. Unhappy with the results. Change your tactics and adapt. Flexibility is key.
The Oscar Wilde Syndrome
Forget the lavish waistcoats. However, appearance always matters. Look sharp. Be smart. You will feel better. Best of all, you don’t have to go home and change before going out to dinner at a chic venue.
Don’t Build A Cage
You have the freedom to make your work space suitable to the organization you want to build. As long as the work gets done, introduce spaces for people to create, snooze, meditate, and if you can, do sports. Great companies have already done this. You can too, if you put your mind to it. Getting a life is also about making your organization breathe with the times in which we all live.
Act With Grace
Grace is something we should all be thankful for. Embrace grace and your team will act as a support network for each member.
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Prioritize your work or you will burn out. There’s always more to be done. This comes with the terrain. It isn’t just a question of leadership. It’s about pragmatism.
Avoid The Comparison Conundrum
There will always be someone younger, older, smarter, creative or more beautiful than you. Be comfortable within your own skin. Never live someone else’s life. Just to thy own self be true. Now, sit back and enjoy the journey because entrepreneurship is gonna be one hell of a ride.
Article Title: 16 Compelling Practices For An Entrepreneur
Photographs: curated by ES
About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at CAREO, a career management consultancy under the WCW Group brand.
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