As an entrepreneur you need to get out of the office and continue building business connections. Toward this end though you need to make the most of business meetings. If you attend an event or a business luncheon and walk away, hours later, with a sense of “that was a waste of time” you need to sharpen your skills to see if you can determine beforehand just who might be wasting your time before you schedule time out of the office.
Make The Most Of Business Meetings
It’s all about them. This is a red flag you should notice up front. If you meet someone at a networking event and they launch into their elevator pitch without even a “getting to know you” question or two. You can rest assured that if you meet up again, the conversation on your end will not be furthered, but their agenda will be continued. As a side note, make sure when you meet people that you aren’t the one who is monopolizing the conversation.
Future planning. If they say, “well, at some point in the future” or “we aren’t at the point of bringing on vendors” or “we don’t have any plans currently” you will know that it might be a good getting-to-know you time, but you won’t walk away being any closer to a new business deal than you originally were. This is not to say that “future” promises should be discounted, but know that you’re not getting a contract signed any time soon.
I’d love to pick your brain. When someone says this, they KNOW you have a product or service that they would benefit from BUT they are not willing to open their checkbook and invest. Sharing insight and information isn’t a bad thing, but you don’t want to continually accept invitations to, “brain picking” sessions. You deserve to be paid for your expertise. Bottom line.
What raises red flags for you when you’re scheduling a business meeting with a potential client?
Have you ever wondered how can you motivate employees without cash? It’s a Catch 22 for many entrepreneurs; they’re worried about breaking the bank and they also worry about losing great employees. If your employees are being lured away by the promise of more cash at a competitor business, you need to find a way to keep those employees without putting your business in the red.
How Can You Motivate Employees Without Cash?
- Flexibility. Many employees would prefer a flexible work schedule to a raise. Can you offer a later start time or an earlier leave time? What about allowing an employee to work four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days? Could you make that work? What if your employee needs time off for a doctor’s appointment or to go to their child’s school play? Can you be flexible with time off requests?
- Offer autonomy and allow them to “own” their job. Don’t micromanage. Give your employees a task and trust they will complete it at the level of expertise you expect of your staff.
- Offer praise. If an employee goes “above and beyond” make note of that and share that with your other employees. Implement a “refer a colleague” program in which a staff member points out when another does a great job or performs an act of kindness.
- Build community within the firm. Even if your employees are scattered in various locations, build community by fostering conversations across the locations. Host get-togethers if feasible.
- Offer life long learning opportunities. If your employees are always learning — whether job-related or focused on a passion project (knitting, gardening, auto repair) they will be achieveing a work-life balance and will also be pursuing a passion outside of work — that you have provided them.
What do you do to keep good employees from leaving? What incentive programs have you found that have worked? What hasn’t? We’d love to know.
It’s not a trick question. You do need to ask yourself what will you risk for your business dreams? Do you want to “go big or go home” or do you want to dip your toes into the entrepreneurial stream? You can choose to be somewhere in the middle. No matter which path you choose you need to understand the risks, the rewards and how long it might take you to achieve either.
Everyday when I am talking with entrepreneurs, we have the discssion about what type of risk-taker they are. About how quickly they want to achieve their goals and myriad other items necessary to help them pull together their business plans and become gainfully self employed.
What Will You Risk For Your Business Dreams?
Here are some steps you can take today to move yourself forward toward becoming an entrepreneur.
- Act as though you are the success you’re dreaming of. While I don’t embrace the “fake it til you make it” mentalityI do believe that if you dream of being an entrepreneur you need to have the entrepreneurial mindset. You need to move away from being an employee to being an employer. Are you ready to act as though you’ve already “arrived”?
- Believe in yourself and know that you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. You need to surround yourself with people who will help support your dream, but more importantly you need to believe in yourself and that you have the skills, knowledge and drive to make it happen. If you can’t boldly say, “Yes, I can do this!” It will be difficult for those around you to believe it.
- Live the dream. Your small steps toward entrepreneurial greatness means you need to work at it each and every day. Sure, you can take a day off and spend time with friends and family, but when you’re starting out, you need to be focused, driven and see that goal you’re driving toward. As they say, “there are no shortcuts on the road to success.”
Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve your goals? Is your family supportive of your dreams? What’s holding you back from your dreams? Let us know. We can help.
Is it possible for your mom and pop business to be in the million dollar club? Can you build a million dollar business? Many others have and there is no reason you can’t… if you make plans and execute them.
Can You Build A Million Dollar Business?
Here are ways you can make that leap toward the million dollar business echelon.
- Have a written business plan. If you don’t write down a plan that you can follow that has measurable goals, you will likely get off track. Write down how you will run your business, your measures of success and your income and expenses.
- Get, and stay, organized. If you don’t have a marketing budget in place and if you don’t have your business entity properly set up or if you don’t have a business bank account, you will be floundering financially and this can eat into your potential million dollar earnings.
- Surround yourself with a stellar team. Even if you’re a solopreneur, you will still likely need an accounting professional, a legal professional and perhaps even a graphic designer or content creator on your team. You will be busy pursuing your area of expertise and your core competency and it makes good financial sense to hire professionals to take on the tasks at which you don’t excel.
- Learn to delegate but don’t forget to supervise. It’s great to delegate, but quality control is your ultimate responsibility. Drop in on your social media pages and see what information is being shared. Check in on the quality of products being manufactured and services being delivered. Your name is on the line with every interaction your staff or contractors have.
- Track what is getting done. Track income. Track expenses. Track the number of clients coming through the door. Track those clients with whom you no longer work. If you aren’t measuring successes and failures, you won’t know when it makes sense to course correct, or raise your prices, or drop an underperforming project.
Are you on your way to building a million dollar business? Are you feeling that your progress has stalled? If so, reach out to us, we can help.
Are there secret traits entrepreneurs share? Perhaps, but they certainly don’t have to be, and likely aren’t a secret. If you’re an entrepreneur, I’ll bet you share these traits.
- They understand what gets them out of bed in the morning. Being motivated to be an entrepreneur through good times and bad is what motivates entrepreneurs.
- They choose an endeavor that is in alignment with their skills and their passions. Trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and running a business around it, is not going to bring joy to you or your employees. Find what you love and then find what people will pay for that aligns with what you love and you are on the road to a business that will inspire you.
- They are frugal. Start-ups know that money will be tight and because of that they are willing to “eat Ramen” and cut expenses to help their business succeed. They also know it’s not necessary to operate from a high end store front or to invest in all new equipment, when used will work just fine in the start up phase. You need to be penny-wise in your start up phase.
- They are “shameless” in promoting themselves and their business. You can be shameless with self promotion without being obnoxious. Keep front of mind how you can HELP others with your business, not just what you can SELL others.
- They interact with like-minded individuals. Getting out of the office and being with like-minded business owners at networking events helps keep you motivated and inspired to move forward. Talking through your struggles with someone outside of your organization may help you find a solution you hadn’t considered.
- They are resilient and don’t take failure personally. Sure, it hurts when something you’re trying fails, but if you can bounce back and learn from that “mistake” then you can move forward stronger for having had that failure. I don’t look at anything in business that doesn’t work as planned as a failure; I look at everything I try as an experiment that I learn from.
Do you share any of these entrepreneurial traits? What secrets do you have?