Most successful entrepreneurs share some common traits that can affect their prosperity, including discipline, trust, motivation, and persistence. However, entrepreneurs will not be successful overnight if they only have these qualities. The entrepreneur and public intellectual Dr. Terrell Strayhorn has developed a set of guidelines to help you start a profitable startup.
Terrell Strayhorn is the founding board and President of the Do Good Work Educational Consulting Group. His company is a private educational research company dedicated to empowering families and communities, fighting oppression and injustice, advocating social change, and promoting student success through partnerships with leading universities and schools. Before founding his own company, Strayhorn worked in increasingly responsible faculty and administrative functions at large universities and continues to teach.
Strayhorn has laid out ten rules for you that have helped him to be successful as an entrepreneur:
Do not be afraid of failure
Many aspiring entrepreneurs let the fear of failure stop them before they even get a chance to get started. The fear of humiliation and inadequacy is a strong factor that prevents individuals from breaking out and starting something. In terms of starting his own company, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon“I knew I wouldn’t regret it if I failed.” But I knew I might regret never having tried. I knew that would haunt me every day. “In order to overcome your fears, Strayhorn suggests taking“ calculated risks ”. For example, to determine whether your business idea is worth the risk, you should do thorough research to determine whether there is a sufficient market for your product or service. If there is enough evidence that your company could achieve viable traction, it should reduce your anxiety so that you can move forward. For example, at Do Good Work we now offer our campus climate audits and surveys to our customers. Before I added this service, I pressured it with a group of Presidents and Provosts we have worked with in the past to see if they see it as a useful addition. We drove the idea forward with a strong positive response from them.
Follow your passion
If you want to start a business, it must be a project that you have a passion for, so that you are motivated to work hard and keep going. Starting a business is not a walk in the park. It takes tenacity and demanding hours to get it going. As a result, you must follow your aspirations as you will spend most of your life chasing your big ideas and dreams. Not to mention that most entrepreneurs will fail at some point, but it is the passion they have for their business that makes them stand up, wipe themselves, and keep trying. However, if you don’t have an innate feeling of dedication to your mission, you will undoubtedly “burn out” when the going gets tough. Strayhorn claims that hiring employees who are as passionate as you increases your company’s chances of survival. “I am blessed to lead a team of incredibly creative and productive professionals who believe in our mission, our impact and our team’s collective capabilities.”
Make a plan
While there is an ongoing debate about the need for a business plan, Terrell Strayhorn suggests that it can improve business performance and guide all future decisions. By developing a plan, you are preparing for what to expect when you start your business. A thorough investigation will force you to examine market shares, customers, competitors, financial forecasts and more – all of these can affect or affect your startup. Not only that, according to a study of more than 800 aspiring entrepreneurs, creating a business plan increases the chances of actually getting into a business by two and a half times. In addition to encouraging founders to implement their ideas, developing a plan is critical to ensuring your business is financed. Most banks and investors want a well thought-out proposal before granting financial support. “A business plan doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. I think it has to be useful for the entrepreneur and those who should see and believe the company. “
Be ready to do work
Entrepreneurs who have a good attitude and are willing to work hard are more likely to be successful. When you start your startup for the first time, it’s not uncommon for you to work hard hours and keep the company busy at all times. However, Strayhorn emphasizes that this type of schedule is unsustainable in the long run, and instead suggests “working smarter and not harder”. This means hiring a competent team, finding ways to balance your schedule, and delegating work as needed. When one person does all the work, it inevitably leads to exhaustion, burnout and inevitable mistakes. “I probably work at least 70+ hours a week, but I know I would have to work longer if I didn’t have such an incredible team of full-time and part-time employees. I used to work hundreds of hours a week, but when I started the company it got better. ”
Find good people
It is impossible to set up a company alone. Be ready to hire a team of people you can trust and who have similar visions for the company as you do. Harvard Business Review research shows that teams with higher cognitive diversity tend to be more successful. Groups with cognitive diversity include people with unique mindsets, different perspectives, and a variety of skills. As a result, taking cognitive diversity into account can lead to better decision making and more innovation. However, finding good employees means nothing if they don’t want to work with and for you. As the founder of the company, it is your job to create a warm, non-judgmental corporate culture that attracts and promotes good talent. “I have worked to identify and hire good talent, and I trust them and their skills to do our job. We are all different and that is our greatest strength.”
Outsource tasks that you are not good at
Is anyone really good at everything? In general, we may have some outstanding talents, many things that we do mediocre, and some things that we simply cannot do. For example, you may have the technical skills required to develop your product, but you may not have the business skills to market your idea. Websites like Upwork.com and Fivrr.com offer you access to talented people who are familiar with graphic design, web development, financial analysis, text creation, multimedia production and much more. Strayhorn believes that if you are not particularly good at something, it will be a waste of time and resources to try it yourself just to hire someone to fix it later. “When I learned something in business, I learned that I can’t do everything and I can’t.” need do everything. Not even my team. We constantly hire and hire temporary workers to help us with various projects and services. Outsourcing is the way! “
Know your customers
One of the most important aspects when starting a business is identifying your customers. If you can’t determine who would be willing to buy your product, or your niche market is just too small, your business won’t succeed. It is therefore important to recognize that you have no company without customers. According to Strayhorn, experienced entrepreneurs know their customers better than anyone else. Companies should at least know who they are, what they need and why they need it. Entrepreneurs should also know where to connect with them, for example on their favorite social media platforms. If you haven’t done so yet, it’s time to learn as much as you can about your future clientele. “I try to spend at least an hour a week learning more about our customers. We interview past customers to understand what they need and what problems they are facing. Knowing your “customer” and taking their needs into account are crucial for business success. “
The cost of starting your own business has reached an all-time low. As a result, most business owners finance their startups out of their own pockets. However, one of the main reasons for the failure of new companies is poor money management. According to a recent study by the US bank 82% of small businesses fail because of cash flow problems or lack of knowledge of cash flow. Strayhorn suggests looking for a consultant to help your company plan adequate funding. At the same time, reckless spending on unnecessary items has made entrepreneurs run out of money quickly. So make sure you know how much you need to start your business and spend wisely to make sure you don’t run out of funds early. “If possible, try to find ways to do revenue-generating activities that fit your industry.”
Listen to complaints
Remember that you have no business without customers. If customers are not satisfied with your products and services, this is reflected in both your profits and your online reviews. Bill Gates once said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Dissatisfied customers won’t be shy to tell you where and how you screwed it up. Although this may seem terrible, successful entrepreneurs use this information to add value to their customers. Strayhorn claims that just because a company has failed to please someone in the past does not necessarily mean that they have finally disappeared. When the company takes responsibility for their mistakes and fixes the problem, most customers give them another chance. “I cannot underline the importance of good customer service. Things will happen. There will be unexpected delays in communication. Planning or logistics problems. It is what entrepreneurs do to respond to such complaints or problems really matters most. ”
Finally, outbid your promises. If you really want to impress your customers, give them something they didn’t ask for. Traditions help new brands to draw attention to themselves and to foster loyal customers. Strayhorn emphasizes that this method can create a stronger brand image and inspire word of mouth marketing.
In summary, despite our preparations, things will not always go as planned. As a business owner, you face unexpected challenges and have to learn to adapt in this way. “A good example is how corona virus (COVID-19) is currently affecting businesses, including our own, with so many colleges and schools switching to online-only. “We had to adapt and” build while we were flying “, so to speak.” Strayhorn understands that it is not easy to start a career as a successful entrepreneur. Given the guidelines above, you now have a number of strategies to start your exciting new business. Get out there and #dogoodwork!
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