We often say we want to have a successful business. Only you can determine what success is to you, but yet and still, we all want to be successful. So, what does it take to own a successful business and what are the major pitfalls we must avoid. Well, I believe there are at least five primary pitfalls you must avoid to navigate the entrepreneurial journey successfully.
1. The first is self-development – It is often said that the most difficult person to lead is yourself. Many of us, despite our levels of notable achievements, fail to efficiently lead ourselves. Leading yourself is more than just education but also includes your character and your judgment. Statistics show that 50% of first-year businesses fail. I do not believe failure is solely due to lack of business acumen but can also be attributed to lack of self-knowledge and self-discipline. Maxwell outlined this in the “Law of the Lid.” You can only lead to the level of your abilities. So, if you want to have a successful business, and yes this can also be attributed to your personal life, you must raise your level of consciousness. We must identify our priorities and then prioritize our behavior to successfully address our priorities. Simply put, the higher your leadership lid, the further you can navigate your entrepreneurial journey and life.
2. No man is an island, and as noted in the Bible, we are our brother’s keeper. In business and in life, we cannot effectively navigate entrepreneurship alone. When you try to run your business by yourself, you will also be a failure by yourself. Most business owners face one major problem, we get too close to our business and in the process, lose sight of our shortcomings. We need those trusted sources to REMIND us who we really are and what we can achieve when we allow others to have a voice and presence. Yes, I ‘m talking business, but I am, sure you can also see where this is applicable to personal growth as well. Some of us entrepreneurs will tote verbiage like “no one understands the sacrifices we make.” I am here to tell you that is not true. There are people in our entrepreneurial circle, either as business partners or supporting cast, that fully understand our sacrifices; however, if we fail to embrace their knowledge and abilities, we will fall into the pit and fail to navigate the entrepreneurial journey.
3. Culture, environment, and history all tell and show us something. The problem is often some of us allow our ignorance to manifest unnecessarily. We look to model mediocrity over excellence. Oh no, we bolster excellence but model mediocrity. Whether we want to admit the truth or not, unless you take the necessary action to raise your lid, you will remain in a place where saying “by their fruits, you will know them” will reign supreme. The question I pose to you is… what fruit are you presenting and how do you want to be known? As an entrepreneur and business owner, you cannot expect extraordinary to show up and remain in your life when all you are doing is continually exposing yourself to the ordinary. We follow our culture, and at times, repeat our history, realizing everyone is modeling someone. The problem is, at times, we model the wrong individual.
4. Recognize what is important to you up front; it will save you a lot of sleepless nights and insufficient funds notifications. Insufficient funds do not always relate to finances. Entrepreneurs should understand the need to value growth over finances. Examine your priorities and determine if you focus on growth development or cash development. Are you growth-centric? An individual who in times of crisis focus on growth, will learn valuable lessons where no amount of money can substitute the knowledge gained. So, when was the last time you made a significant investment in your development? Remember the Law of Sacrifice states “you have to give up to go up.”
5. You do not know it all; this is similar to point #2, taking it a step further. Entrepreneurs need to create an educated inner circle of entrepreneurs who have already navigated the path of entrepreneurship. An inner circle of individuals who will not tell them what they want to hear or allow them to do what they want to do. These few people in the inner circle are those who are raw with you. They do not worry about your delicate feelings but are more focused on your success. These are the people who LOVE you and your business enough to set you straight even, if it means breaking you down to support you and build you up.
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but life is for us all. Be mindful that you will get out of life what you put into it. We all want the harvest; yet, some are not willing to plow the fields, plant the seeds, and most importantly, nurture the growth. It is from that nurturing you get the great harvest.
I welcome the opportunity to work with you as you embark on your journey of entrepreneurship. Additionally, be on the lookout for my upcoming book, Navigating the Entrepreneurial Journey, to be released in the summer of 2018, where I go deeper into these and many other facets of entrepreneurship.