Most people, at one time or another, have a job, their time and effort being rewarded with wages or salaries. An increasing number of people, however, are becoming dissatisfied with that time-and-effort economy and seek the greater rewards that a results-economy can provide. This change inevitably means establishing their own businesses, working for themselves, and – if necessary – employing others. This transition from a time-and-effort to a results-economy is a major personal growth experience that can occur with the minimum of risk if you heed this important advice…

1. Know what it takes to succeed.

People who succeed in a results-economy believe two things – that they are prepared to rely only on their own ability to achieve financial security; and that they will never get any opportunity in life unless they have first created value for someone else. Those two considerations identify entrepreneurial behaviour, which applies to any structure – sole trader, partnership, franchise, or limited company.

2. Try to be different.

Most business strategy comes down to one of two things: either doing things differently or doing different things. Few businesses have the luxury of being the only player in a market, so doing things differently will be the only way to differentiate themselves from others in the field. Identifying that area of uniqueness leads to planning and strategic action. Most people recall first and second placegetters in a class and, after that, only those that differ in some way. Few people starting out in business can be number one or two: most have to rely on being recognised for their differences.

3. Investigate your market.

Market and competitor intelligence is vital if you are going to differ meaningfully from the opposition. So get to know as much as you can about those competing in your market. This process must be reviewed constantly: competitors quickly match those characteristics that previously differentiated your product or service from theirs. Change, therefore, is a constant for any business that realises the need to stand out from the rest.

4. Get the best resources.

People, planning, and equipment make up the important resources you will require. Your accountant, financial planner, and legal adviser will have the information you need on taxation, insurance, investment, and other legal issues like tenancy agreements and restrictions on business activities. A business plan will not only be an invaluable tool for yourself but also a requirement of banks and other fund providers. The quality of your office equipment must help to deliver the services you advertise. Quick turn-round time on tasks and projects demands the right equipment and expertise.

5. Develop and maintain a positive attitude.

A positive mental attitude is an essential life quality – especially when establishing a new business. ‘I will’, therefore, continues to have a greater effect on the success of businesses than ‘IQ’. Stories of those who have succeeded in their chosen fields identify desire and focus – ‘I will’ behaviour – above education and giftedness or IQ’. This ‘fire-in-the-belly-behaviour’ leads ultimately to…

  • loving what you are doing
  • learning new things
  • gaining extra energy.

6. Be daring – but don’t be reckless.

People with entrepreneurial flair who leave the security of employment to venture into their own businesses are sometimes labelled as daring risk-takers. In truth, studies show that successful entrepreneurs avoid high-risk situations. They do choose challenging goals, but they do everything they can to reduce the risks. They usually enter their new venture with an advantage – they are experienced in the business they intend to start. They are aware of, and seek information on, the risks and potential problems. They remain open to feedback, both positive and negative. They have confidence in themselves and in their ability to make their new ventures work somehow, even if things don’t happen as they hope. They work to minimise risk within the confines of their basic aim: meet challenging but not impossible objectives.

7. Heed your own advice.

‘The best advice you can take is your own’ is the best advice you’ll ever receive. Although listening to the advice of respected others is important, the one person with a better understanding of the entire context in which your business operates is you. For various reasons, many people underestimate the value of their own contributions and place greater emphasis on the views of others.

8. Do it!

The most important four letters for people in business are ‘Do it’. Having the best plans, the best advice, and the best intentions are essential qualities; but if you never do anything, nothing will happen. Yet gaining a reputation as a ‘do-er’ is easy – just do it!

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