from Forbes.com Zine 30 June 15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
A lot of work goes into becoming a successful entrepreneur. You must have an idea or problem that you want to address, a market that you intend to sale your product to, & have the ability to inspire others. These are just a few of the steps to business success listed in a recent Forbes article by Cheryl Conner.
The Interview. In her article Conner interviews entrepreneur Aaron Young about his steps to business success, featured in his book, The Critical Twenty: 20 Steps to Business Success. Young imparts a great deal of wisdom for entrepreneurs such as: “If you are truly successful, you will create a company that will eventually outgrow you. The personality of a great entrepreneur is seldom the personality of an outstanding corporate manager.” Head over to Forbes.com to see the full list and get started on your path to business success.
The Author: I recently had the chance to visit with Aaron Young, a fellow entrepreneur with 32-years experience in multiple businesses, the most recent being Laughling Assoc, which focuses on incorporation, LLC formation & corporate governance.
For the past 20 years, Young has dedicated a significant portion of his time to helping other businesses, and most specifically, helping other entrepreneurs to shorten their learning curve as they rise. To that end, he’s become increasingly active as a keynote speaker and business strategy coach and is a core faculty member of CEO Space (which is how we met). I interviewed him about those steps as a chance to share his best wisdom with Forbes’ Entrepreneurs. Here are the secrets he gave me, as follows:
1. Invent or Improve (a product). Many “would-be” entrepreneurs are stuck from the outset from the want of a good idea. But in Young’s mind, this is the easiest and most straightforward hurdle of all. Think about the people you know and the areas of pain they are feeling. Think about a problem you are having yourself, big or small, and what it would take to lessen the burden or even get it fully resolved. What can you invent or improve that could meet this customer need? As an example, consider the Dyson vacuum cleaner. It revolutionized an entire industry, not due to a new invention, but because it solved customers’ basic problems — it never loses suction and the ball design is remarkably easy to use. Now – this 100-year-old company that owned a mere 1% of the market in 2008 now controls 20% of U.S. vacuum sales.
2. Determine & define your Market. Once you have a great idea, consider who your customer is, where & how large your market will be. Before investing your life, your time and your investment in taking a product to market, be sure you have a firm grasp on who your market is and how interested in your product they’ll be.
3. Devise a Plan. To take your business to the market, what (& who) will you need? What will be your channel for delivery? Will you Direct Market your invention? Will you sell it in retail? Who & what do you need to achieve this, in terms of budget, materials, execution + inside & outside expertise? How will you measure the metrics of each of your efforts, to determine how to tweak and evolve your plan as you go? Create a mind map of all of the various spokes in your wheel and then make a list & timeline of the steps you will take to keep the project from over-whelming you. Of course you will evolve the plan as you go. But without a starting plan, you don’t have a company. All you have is a dream & hope.
4. Articulate your Vision. As a communicator, I am happy to see this step come early. Develop a Vision for your company, imagining what it looks & feels like, as it comes to fruition. Ask yourself these questions: What is our market like? Are there other people in it or just you? What is the attitude & atmosphere there? What does your typical day look & feel like? What type of customers do you have? Are they local, national, global? Consumers or partners? What amount of money are you making? What does your lifestyle look like? When you know exactly what you are working toward, it is much easier to direct your work toward that goal.
5. Inspire Others. Every time you enter a meeting, get on a call, or communicate with another, remind them of where they fit into your Vision. Give them a little bit of your passion and inspire them to give a little bit of their own – to advancing the Vision with you. Then stay engaged about what you’re working on – and more importantly – why it matters. Collaborate on how they can be a part of your vision and you will be surprised how many people will be delighted to join in, whether officially or as an ongoing part of your “tribe.”
6. Hire for > just “Filling the Position.” Hire to Inspire !!! Do your utmost to hire for attitude, integrity & passion – not for brightness, optimism or the right educational degree. If you feel in your gut that a hire is not right, act quickly. The business landscape is filled with thoughts of “but maybe if we manage her differently.” Or, “He was here with me at the start. I just can’t bear to let him go.” Perhaps some individuals can evolve and grow with you, but if you look at situations candidly, it should become clear that in many cases they cannot. Let them go, and by setting them free you’ll be doing both them & you a favor.
more “Critical Steps to Business Success” in the next part.