Entrepreneurship Lessons Learned
May 19, 2006 Leave a comment
It has now been 7 weeks since I left corporate America and launched Wilson Innovation Alliance (see Fresh Start). To say that it’s different “out here” than “in there” is an extreme understatement. I wanted to share with you a few of the things that I have learned.
I’m sure most entrepreneurs probably have already heard the gist of the points that I’m going to make. I’m also sure that of the 95% of small businesses that fail, the owners have all heard some really good advice (see Suggestions for Small Biz). C.S. Lewis said something to the effect that more people need to be reminded of what they already know than to be instructed on what they don’t know. Awareness of these principles is not the issue. Effective application is the issue.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
- Build a strong referral base through strategic networking. Tim Sanders says that “your network is your net worth.” One thing to keep in mind about networking is that if you aren’t adding value to someone else by referring them to others (or others to them), then you’re not effectively networking. Diligently search for ways to be a value-added resource to others in order to help them expand their network. If you do, you will definitely reap what you sow.
- Get a sales/marketing expert. If you don’t have a sales/marketing expert on your team, you need to figure out a way to get one or at least find someone who is willing to coach you in that area. One of the challenges for small businesses today is that there are so many ways to promote your business that you can spend lots of money doing a lot of different things, but still not impact your company’s revenues. This expert can help you to maximize your resources and strategically align your company with the right marketing opportunities that will best support your goals.
- Develop a daily tactical game plan. Just as important as having a business plan is having a tactical action plan that outlines what needs to happen in your business on a daily basis. Without one, your business will be a like a sailboat without a sail in the middle of the ocean, subject to every wave and wind of change. Your plan should be flexible, but focused. It needs to be developed with relevant metrics that you can use to track the continual progress that you are making toward your operational goals.
There is a scripture in the Bible that says, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). In terms of business, this essentially means implementing a plan that incorporates these practices will help you to run your business more profitably, but knowing these principles and not using them will lead to your company’s demise. Don’t allow faith and hope alone to guide your business.
Do the things that you have heard so that you can be long-term success story.