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How to Succeed as an Entrepreneur (If You Aren't Richard Branson)

Vartika Kashyap
Vartika Kashyap

You don't need to be Richard Branson to be a successful business owner.

Sir Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group, started his first business, a student magazine, when he was just 15 years old. The Virgin Group has grown successfully in many sectors after creating more than 400 branded companies worldwide. Branson has managed to maintain the charm of his business with his distinctive personality traits like authenticity, enthusiasm, humility and warmth.

The vast majority of business owners will never be Richard Branson, and that's OK. You can still be a brilliant, successful entrepreneur.

There is a possibility that either you've already started up your own business or you intend to do it in the near future. Remember, the road to entrepreneurship is incredibly self-reliant. If you've got the entrepreneurial spirit, you have the tendency to look at the things differently. But there is no magic bullet that can make you a rich and successful entrepreneur overnight. You've got to pave the way. Being an entrepreneur is en vogue. But being successful is in your hands. Here are some clues to travel the road and boost your chances of entrepreneurial success.

1. Foster leadership qualities.

Every individual is unique and can achieve success in their own way. But leadership is considered to be one top trait a successful entrepreneur must have. True entrepreneurs have exceptional leadership qualities and know how to lead their diverse workforce. The leadership qualities you possess will actually cultivate the mindset of a successful entrepreneur. It will take your vision from dream to reality. Ideally, leaders should strive to master criticism, have a passion for what they do, connect with like-minded people, have self-confidence and self-care, and make the "right" decisions.

2. A to-do list is the key to success.

Richard Branson credits to-do lists as his secret to success. To stay organized, it's important for an entrepreneur to prioritize tasks on a weekly checklist of to-dos and accomplishments.

Most entrepreneurs make a list of tasks in their task management software at the start of the day and set aside their first few hours for high-priority tasks. 

Here are some tips to create a powerful and productive to-do list:

  • Do not include more than three things on the to-do list for a day.

  • Estimate the time you'll need to perform each task.

  • Break your project down into smaller, manageable tasks.

  • Organize tasks by importance and complete them in order.

3. Create personal plus professional goals.

Perhaps the most important part of entrepreneurship is determining how you want your life to look. Goal setting is a major part of a successful entrepreneur's life, and that includes professional as well as personal goals. Look toward the future. These are some things to consider: Listen to your emotions, set SMART goals, have an action plan, break bigger objectives into smaller plans, and be in harmony with your beliefs and values. It will be much easier for you to build your business and get what you want from life.

4. Study your competitors.

If you don't understand your competitors, your business is sunk before it's even afloat. You are an entrepreneur; you've got the freedom to learn from your competitors. 

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Read your competitors' websites.

  • Keep an eye on what your competitors are up to socially.

  • Note what they are doing well and poorly both.

  • Join your competitors' public mailing lists.

  • Sign up for their services.

Find out your competitors' mistakes, best practices and weaknesses to buck up yourself in the market.  

5. Challenge yourself.

Richard Branson is always on the move to challenge himself. He looks for possibilities and opportunities to strengthen and grow his Virgin empire. It's up to you to push yourself up. You've got to be always on your toes.

For instance, you start hitting the gym to build your upper-body strength. But once you achieve a certain strength, would you stop there? You'd challenge yourself for the next big step. The upcoming challenges will make your other tasks even simpler. So, keep looking for the next big challenge for a smooth journey and a level up always.

6. Know who your customers are.

The key to achieving core business goals lies in having a comprehensive understanding of your customers. Because your customers will be a major part of your business and are the only way you can win over your competitors, you must identify who they are, speak your customers' language and have deeper engagement. Change the way you speak to your customers and you'll always see them at your doorstep.

7. Visualize your success.

If you visualize what you want to achieve, it becomes easy to spawn dreams into the realms of reality. And there's science behind this! A new study by TD Bank shows that small business owners use visualization to meet their entrepreneurial goals. It is actually a way to step into something deep within the brain folds, entering your creative power. Nearly 60 percent of millennials use images to tell the story of their lives with social platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Write down what you visualize your success as or sketch it down with the path you wish to follow. You should know what you're doing, where you are going and how to get there.

When you've clearly articulated your goal, it becomes more achievable. Then feel the excitement, experience the emotions, and continue working for it with passion and enthusiasm.

So, maybe you won't be Richard Branson, but if you've got the zeal to work hard, you might create something more robust, and just as successful in its own way. Build something that you can look back on with pride.

Image Credit: Peshkova/Shutterstock
Vartika Kashyap
Vartika Kashyap Member
Vartika Kashyap is the Marketing Manager at ProofHub and has been one of the LinkedIn Top Voices in 2017. Her articles are inspired by office situations and work-related events. She likes to write about productivity, team building, work culture, leadership, entrepreneurship among others and contributing to a better workplace is what makes her click.