16 Compelling Practices For An Entrepreneur

“Because you’ve been reading too much Voltaire…”

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:

“When you’re ready to go the whole hog…”

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.

“Don’t jump without a parachute…”

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.

“Because some things are worth fighting for…

Work-Life Balance
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.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Building One Success Story At A Time

How To Become An Audacious Entrepreneur

“Entrepreneurs do not always wear suits…”

When we are unafraid of risk, entrepreneurship appears as the ideal career path. However, think how you learned to swim. Did you scream, Geronimo leaping in? If so, you are ready to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship was never for the feeble, but its exciting and generates a potent adrenaline kick.

Can anyone be an entrepreneur? The answer is yes. If you’re unafraid of challenges, entrepreneurship is the best way forward. Guess what? If you’ve formed your own band, you are an entrepreneur!

As kids, we weren’t bothered by risks. We loved challenges. We did not posit multiple scenarios, cost benefit analyses, build spread sheets, or push our standing with social networks. We just “went for it”. This is the essence of entrepreneurship. All it demands demands is the right mindset. Whether or not you pursue a path to entrepreneurship consider the fact that even corporate management looks for people, who can act like an entrepreneur within their organization.

“Because some paths require you assume responsibility for your decisions…”

Let’s examine two career scenarios.

Before we hit the milestone of “30”, we have many experiences. Some of these episodes go on to shape the rest of our lives. Nobody can forecast what will happen. However, they can condition our mentality to be handicapped. If we are fortunate, an entrepreneurial mindset will foster our audaciousness to act with precision. It is similar to effective career planning. A strategic roadmap is the perfect business plan. It will let you discover your true nature and identity.

The Age Of Reason
When we reach the age of reason, we discover our true purpose and responsibility. However, every time we have a setback, a form of negative conditioning kicks in and we slow down. We become gun shy and do not want to be criticized. We can even become afraid because we want to fit in. People often confuse standing out with being an exhibitionist.

Take the case of your average university student at the undergrad level. Many seek what they think is a land of job security. They are open-minded and joyous. In the freshness of their youth, they find employment, and even earn a decent income. This person will undoubtedly please their senior managers and get a promotion. Afterward, our dear friend will gently touch the glass ceiling.

Now what? What does he or she expect?

If you are not an innovator or risk taker, the easy path suggests staying put. Keep your nose down, and do what you do. Then our friend hits forty. It happens to everyone. Trust me on this. The person is gently removed from the organisation. He or she is finished. Psychologically the impact can be devastating. Your sense of identity and self-worth is shattered. Did this person do something wrong?

No. He or she just followed a path of security to the dead end of mediocrity.

The Case For Audaciousness
Now look at another case. There is a woman who is audacious, almost a rebel in character. She knows to succeed she must push, and push she does. No glass ceiling for her. Staying put means being thrown to the wolves. She seeks to innovate, change perceptions, introduce new techniques, and take nothing for granted. Her profile is engaging, but for an employer does she have promise?

The answer is yes. She is a live wire. She is worth pushing forward and senior management do just that. Perhaps she will do an MBA or even become an entrepreneur. She has something everyone needs: chutzpah.

The Meaning Of Success
Success is not just about financial liquidity. It is claiming responsibility for your self. Whether or not you become an entrepreneur, you must act like one. By doing so, we express our true nature and gain satisfaction.

“What’s a nice girl like you, doing in a place like this…”

As an entrepreneur, you will have the power to unleash a real sense of purpose. You will bubble with inner radiance because work will no longer be just a “job”. In fact, it will no longer be work at all. It will be a pleasure of self-expression. Your mission is accomplished when you begin to mentor others. Leaving an indelible mark on your community is worth waking up to every morning.

Remember, great men and women weren’t born great. In hindsight, it often appears this way. Gandhi wasn’t born the “visionary” he became. He used the soil of experience to harness his potential, and then shared his expertise in the field. So can you. Want to make a difference? Don’t just look up at the sky. Be an entrepreneur. Now is the time to spread your wings and fly. Once you do, you will see beauty in your Self and in all things.

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Article Title: How To Become An Audacious 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.

For further inspiration
Visit CAREO: Life In The Fast Lane