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Young Guns: The Fearless Entrepreneurs Guide to Chasing Your Dreams and Breaking Out On Your Own
by Robert Tuchman
The absolute, fundamental aim of any business is to make money out of satisfying customers. That is it; that is the goal. It is only through satisfaction of any one customer’s needs that you will make money; and keep making money. This idea must be a cornerstone to any entrepreneur’s pursuits.
THE DECISION. You have to make a decision to make a name for yourself in the field that inspires you. The decision to change, whether it is catalyzed by unhappiness or otherwise, must come first. Commit yourself, with all your energy and enthusiasm, without reservation to what you love.
THE BIG IDEA. You need a big idea to transform roadblocks into reasons to move forward. The big idea will awaken you and ignite your motivation. Find ONE passion and pursue it—it should be one connected to an activity you love and should engage you emotionally.
THE FIRST TEST… AND THE FIRST PLAN. Once you have the big idea, test it. If what you are doing reminds you in any way of doing homework or feels like a chore, you have the wrong “Big Idea.” If your work passes this test, do your research and build a plan. Find a mentor! Stay focused on your short-term goals leading you to your long-term end.
THE PARTNER PRINCIPLE. Start-ups that feature two people have a significant competitive advantage over businesses in which one person, without consultation, makes all the major decisions. Picking a partner is analogous to picking a spouse: find someone who compensates for your weaknesses. Take your time: be positive about your choice as partnering with the wrong person can destroy your business, reputation, vision for the future, and physical or mental health.
GUT CHECK: GETTING STARTING. Prioritize internal workings before external: the external observable processes will not make or break your company in the first year. Your answer to “Why not me?” will lead you past your gut-check moment. You will have to expose yourself to short-term pain in order to secure the long-term that you believe you deserve.
PRIORITIES FOR THAT FIRST ALL-CONSUMING YEAR. Make a commitment: three years of long hours, hard work, and high energy. Your commitment to yourself will shape the commitment others will make with your company. You should have some main priorities—some of these being building a culture of action and enthusiasm and taking daily action on your business plan.
YOU ARE THE COMPANY. The best entrepreneurs are focused on their “why” that drives them to connect to customers—if you are truly connected you will never stop selling; it will be automatic. There is no right or wrong way to sell: just jump on the phone and talk to everyone you can with all your passion and enthusiasm.
TECHNOLOGY: OUR GENERATION’S GREAT EQUALIZER. Online, your message must be crafted carefully, resources invested wisely, and potential and actual payoff evaluated closely. To sell, find out how your customers are communicated and connecting. Hang out with customers online and in person. There are inexpensive ways to launch and promote a business and its target message.
SERVICE IS WHAT YOU’RE SELLING. Business is all about relationships—it is the service that you deliver to support these relationships that is your one true product. And that service is all about follow-through. Be upfront about everything of consequence that affects your client; take ownership of any problem. Sell light, perform heavy!
BACK UP YOUR SELL. Honesty is the only policy. There is only one way to build credibility: tell the truth to clients and prospective clients, and then surprise them and deliver more.
INSIDE PLAYERS: YOUR TEAM. Entrepreneurship is not just founding a stage where you as the founder deliver all the good results yourself—it means building a good team. Delegate! Hire people who share your values and attitudes. You should have a strong personal connection with every person you hire. Keep in mind that the general atmosphere is more important than any one employee.
CELEBRATE FAILURE, REWARD SUCCESS. You learn the least when you succeed, and the most when you fail. To never fail is an impossibility. Failure does not equal losing! You only lose when you halt your momentum and do not move forward to help the people on your team to success. Learn to bounce back and look for a silver lining.
YOUR VENDOR RELATIONSHIPS MATTER. It is just as important to keep your vendors happy as your employees. Nurture, sustain and service your relationships with the right vendors. You are placing the future of your business in the hands of the vendors: you relationship with them needs to be one of trust. The two most important outside vendors you can have are your accountant and lawyer.
BY THE NUMBERS. Find someone who can keep you organized and on top of your expenses and obligations AND who can adapt and expand as the business starts to take off.
WHY NOT YOU? Over time, you will have to find different ways to answer that question to keep you motivated on your path to success. Find new rituals that engage you in a fresh and motivating way. Master the art of supporting, learning about, and growing yourself before you try to do the same for your business.
In the end, take energy from taking risks. Live in the spirit of the entrepreneur!
Many more articles in Refresher Reviews in The CEO Refresher Archives