Monday, June 8, 2009

Performance & Success Advice Blog Post # 3 - Becoming an Entrepreneur

I would like to speak about something that hits close to home for me today, becoming an entrepreneur.

The first thing to realize is that it is a journey.  You will be forced to learn and adapt to many challenging circumstances as you exercise problem solving as you make strategic decisions.

As you prepare for entrepreneurship, begin focusing on the WHAT question.  WHAT is it that you want to pursue?  That is the first question you must answer.  As you are formulating the answer to this question, it is also important to be open and attune to opportunity and be willing to take a risk and run with any that you think are valuable.

The next question that you need to ask yourself is WHY.  WHY do you want to pursue it, and WHY do you think it is valuable?  This is one thing that SCORE (a resource partner with the Small Business Administration of the U.S.) taught me to question.  I sought SCORE's FREE business counseling on a transportation venture years ago where I wanted to provide a service to safely transport students from the University area to the Downtown night club district.  This type of question allowed me to consider if the potential business had a large enough market, was financially feasible, and realistic [which in the case of that venture it was not].

The third question to ask yourself is the HOW.  HOW is determining how you are going to physically convert this idea from an idea into reality, the manifestation of your idea.  The process of manifesting your idea requires you to seek the people that you need to surround yourself with, find the capital to finance it, and the logistics of making it happen.  I would like to make a personal note here and quote myself, "I believe that if you commit to any idea that you are passionate about, think is valuable,  and believe to be realistic, the HOW should not even be a question."
*TIP* One of the best sources of angel funding is from people in your network, like your family, friends, and family and friend's network.

I would like to end this post with a story to reinforce the idea of VALUE.  My first business venture was a commercial carpet cleaning business at age 19.  To begin and try to get my foot in the door at hotels and resorts, I would offer the lowest price in town.  I learned quickly that this is no way to do business.  The value to customers competing on price was nothing more than the lowest price, having little regard for you or your company.  By competing on quality, I was dealing with a much better crowd of people.  The VALUE to them was having a job well done, and for that, they were willing to be loyal and pay a premium for.

Don't take it from me.  Take it from the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh in his PERFORMANCE Interview on Value Innovation -

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