1. Be passionate about what you are doing
2. Set priorities
3. Set expectations
On being passionate, you need to choose a product or service you are passionate about. Being an entrepreneur is hard and requires long hours, as well as a strong emotional commitment. It's hard not to get burned out quickly, so you need to at least being really passionate about what you are doing to persevere through the tough times.
On setting priorities, you should set daily, weekly and then longer term priorities. You will need to adjust along the way, but there are so many "urgent" things every day, that if you don't set priorities, you will never get to the important strategic things that will take your business to the next level. Also, there is no structure imposed on you as an entrepreneur, you need to create structure. Otherwise, you'll get through a day and wonder why it wasn't as productive as you needed it to be.
On setting expectations, most likely, you're business is not going to be an overnight hit. Starting and running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. While working hard and moving fast is often very important, you also need some balance. If you sprint too hard in the beginning you will get burned out quickly.
And to throw in a number 4...remember to have some fun!
1. Be honest with customers
2. Be honest with employees
3. Be honest with YOURSELF!
1. Focus - on your value proposition
2. Focus - focus on your message
3. Focus - focus on being persistent
Know your purpose
Know your values
Get the right people on board
Make sure that everyone in your business is aligned to your purpose, vision and values
I like to think of it as a mindset rather than rules. The mindset I've found most valuable as an entrepreneur is:
"Assume that everything you do is a learning opportunity, but that the lesson may not be the one that you want or intend to learn." David B. Peterson and Mary Dee Hicks
Besides what's already been posted by Phil, Nevil and Mary-Alice, I would add
- client/vendor relationship
Consistency goes for how you present yourself, your business, your product/service. Be consistent with the product/service quality, as well as brand messaging.
Whether you are still searching for clients or have a waiting list, threat them all with respect and as they are your most important client. Well, obviously if one client spends $10,000 on your service/product and the other one $40, you will naturally make some difference. But what I find it very likable and personal is a follow up (especially after meeting with someone new), sending out personalized note (for a birthday or some other special occasion), those little things that set you apart.
- it all starts and ends with self-confidence and your mindset. You have to believe in yourself and your product/service before you can expect anyone else to do so.
1. First...innovate a way to expand 3 rules into 9 (see below):
a. adopt an innovative mindset
b. practice innovative thinking and behavior
c. use your own, and others', feedback to ensure you remain innovative.
2. Get in touch with your own, and others', values -- they drive everything, ultimately
a. Become a reflective thinker: connect your mind with your heart.
b. Empathize: learn/practice understanding the values, needs, feelings of others
c. Remain conscious of these as frequently as possible, and re-focus often.
3. Become a meta-manager of your own self and progress
a. Independence: Pursue and build your orientation of self-efficacy
b. Equilibrium: Remain balanced between/among the (too) many challenges you'll face
c. Perseverance: Never give up on your original commitment to purpose and mission
Ok...so I "cheated" (a.k.a. innovated a way around the rules).
- Think Different
- Stick to your goals
- Don't worry, things will work out eventually after banging your head against a few walls.. (because you are able to see the negatives and face them which makes you stronger and wiser)
I would challenge that the question isn't specific enough and that the top 3 rules will vary based on the type of entrepreneur in question and the specific mission they aim to achieve.
A serial entrepreneur will view business and it's risks very different from someone who simply wants to create a consistent income for himself and his family.
However, If I had to pick 3 foundational things i'd choose...
1. Why - get really clear about why and confirm that you have no internal conflict about it. A man who is not in conflict with himself cannot be stopped.
2. Count the costs and be certain you and anyone else involved are willing to pay whatever price is asked along the way. Accept that it will cost you 2, 3, 10, 50 times more than you can calculate in the beginning.
3. Identify your targets and keep your eye locked on them as you put one foot in front of the next day after day trusting that you will find the resources you need to navigate the obstacles and barriers you will encounter along the way.
Hi Jen ~
This piece I wrote for a client's blog focuses on how clarifying your life purpose informs every aspect of your work: http://www.reversefortunes.com/reverse-mortgage-news/your-business-purpose-sales-training
Here are mine:
Always do what you say you will (meet deadlines, follow through on promises, be reliable and dependable)
Be honest in all dealings
Own your mistakes - accept that the future is yours as was the past and that all problems are reflective of your shortcomings because you can only affect your own behaviours.
• Never let one customer give you more than 25% of your business volume.
• When you set prices for your services (your time), remember that is is very difficult, even impossible, to increase your pricing with a long time customer; plan ahead and be firm.
• It is the client that you make the least margin with that will require from you the most unbillable time; people who pay full price tend to respect your time and it becomes a pleasure to give them complimentary hours, here and there, to show your appreciation of the value of the relationship.
Integrity is #1 #2 & #3
If you really want to succeed I can not express this stronger, everything will come back to bite you if you don’t
Of course there a a hundred other things after those.
"1. Have fun
2. learn something every day
3. dream big." from Gary Mann my best friend's husband
I can only think of one rule: Don't have rules. They are useless and get in the way.
Jen, I wrote a blog post some time ago that talk about the competencies of entrepreneurs vs small business owners that might be insightful...
1. Have a mentor or seasoned business advisor (someone who knows your particular business, or knowledge thereof and can provide value added insight)
2. Strong fiscal discipline. Watch every penny, as it is finite and goes quickly
3. Invest in some type of advertising (be economical, but learn to promote yourself through networking (such as BNI), social media, and, of course, spheres of influence.
Research everything know your strengths and weaknesses.
Never ever ever give up. Find a way around or over an obstacle.
Less Hype the better
Entrepreneurs just don't play the game, they win!
Stay true to yourself ;)
Learn to say NO, Don't run out of cash, Don't reinvent the wheel just change the spokes