Tuesday, May 9, 2023

10 Rules for Entrepreneurs

Rule #1 — Being on time is good– being early is better.

Rule #2 Learn from your mistakes.

Rule #3 — Maintain “the Aim”. It is important having established a business plan to be clear about your vision and your current mission. Stay focused. Remember ‘to prune the suckers’! (See Rosebush Organizational Analogy | Terry Power’s Strategic Thinking Concepts (terrypowerstrategy.com).

Rule #4 – “Go viral. In this new industrial age your ecosystem is turbulent, disruptive and exciting. Harvest the energy and opportunities of the “Internet of Everything”. (See Bonus Material: Internet of Things – YouTube ).

Use posts, tweets, hashtags, followers and influencers. Don’t be a wimp.  (See Strategic Thinking Concept- Don’t be a ‘Wimp’ | Terry Power’s Strategic Thinking Concepts (terrypowerstrategy.com) ).

Rule #5 — Maximize scarce resources. Major reason for failure of new entrepreneurial ventures is lack of financing. Important to resource level. The major challenge faced by entrepreneurs will be finding the right balance between effectiveness and efficiency. For example teaching arguably is the most effective way with a ratio of 1 to 1 (teacher to student). But is it efficient? Certainly at University the financial folks are delighted with 150 students in a classroom and delivered one instructor. Recall your first course in University. Efficient… You betcha! Effective…?

Rule #6 — Grow your network. (See Strategic Thinking Concepts- Networking – YouTube ).

Rule #7 — Detect and adapt to changes in the ecosystem early and remember 10% more perseverance brings 90% more success.

The bedtime story of the boiling frog can be instructive.  You may recall the story of Kermit being placed in a pot of boiling water and as expected, immediately jumps out, hopefully landing on suitable terrain.  However when Kermit is put in the pot of water at room temperature and the heat incrementally increased, regretfully Kermit fails to adjust to his changing environment and remains blissfully in the pot until such time as frog’s legs are ready to be served for dinner. Ribbit!

The metaphor of course is that in our workplace we, like Kermit, often accept incremental change without complaint.  We blissfully ignore the activities around us. This is not a good place for business, or frogs, to remain for long.

As strategists it is absolutely critical, no matter how comfortable the water, that we constantly stay alert for changes in our ecosystem. As soon as you detect change in the flame under your pot you must react. Indeed, better than reacting is to anticipate change. Don’t wait for the flame to be detected – start crafting your strategies to accommodate what you anticipate is going to happen. In fact, the best action is to lead change. Drive your industry – make others follow your lead – persevere.

Rule #8 — Trust. This is a critical attribute. You must build trust. Like the venture’s ‘piggy bank’… Keep making incremental ‘deposits’. Abiding by your word, delivering more than promised. Remember you can build a brand over 35 years and lose it in 15 seconds.

I commend to all my students during our courses and when they are alone in their office and required to make a decision that doesn’t feel right take a moment to apply the Bentley Ethical Test. If after completion the Test you’re comfortable with your decision then you’re probably good to go!

(See the Bentley Ethical Test below).

Rule #9 — Understand your business. Take time to obtain a working knowledge of the work done by all those who work along with you. Be lifelong learner. Short courses like business law; Canadian Securities Course in order to understand financial statements; “How to …”   Business programs offered by institutions and others; all are worth taking time to enhance in a very practical way your ability to lead your organization.

Entrepreneurs are hard pressed for time– so much to do—“skinny on the ground” — but yet must find at least 20 minutes a day to close the door and read the front page and the business section of the newspaper or listen to some media news/business programs in order to reflect on the transformational changes/trends that are likely to impact their ecosystem.

Most would agree today presents a very turbulent ecosystem with ‘lots of unknowns’ that must be watched. Interest rates in Canada; potential collapse of the American vehicle currency — the US dollar; potential of a Cold War turning Hot in Ukraine and elsewhere in the Middle East; Canada as a representative democracy with the nation’s current directing minds shifting quickly towards a socialist autocratic government with little regard for Canadian civil rights; Canada’s growing debt and deficit (see Canada’s Debt Clock link on the masthead); and the list goes on.

It is not sufficient to open the doors for your business with little regard to ‘the water in the bathtub swirling around’. Stay vigilant!

Rule #10 — Find a way to say ‘yes.   WIIFM — “What’s In It for me?”

WIIFM should be at the top of your thoughts whenever you think about your prospects or customers. But is has nothing to do with you at all. To get to the ‘me’ you must put yourself in your ideal customer’s position. Think like that customer. Try to walk a mile (or several) in their shoes.

Ask yourself …

  • What problems plague their lives?
  • What are they afraid of?
  • What are they angry about?
  • Who are they angry with?

Stay in your customers shoes.  Imagine someone is trying to sell you your own product or service. Ask yourself (repeatedly) – What’s In It for Me? How does it solve my problems? How does it make my life better? These are the benefits your product or service must deliver to your customer. (Watch for the Peter Drucker article to be posted in the next few weeks on this topic.)

You should apply this simple principle to every piece of sales and marketing material you use. Does it call out to what your customers’ really want? Is it written in terms of your customers’ viewpoint? Does it promote the benefits?  In short, does it tell me … your customer – “What’s In It for them?” (Thanks to Henry Ford- see (1) henry ford what is in ity for me – Search (bing.com))

“Remember in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king

In Closing

Entrepreneurs would be well advised to undertake a Blue Ocean Strategic Workshop in order to exploit the new opportunities this current new industrial age presents in a very turbulent marketplace.

NOTE.    (See Three Fold Test: Is Your Strategy Working? | Terry Power’s Strategic Thinking Concepts (terrypowerstrategy.com)) .

Blue Ocean Strategic Workshop- (Short Online). A good place to start if you determine ‘wholesale’ changes are required is by undergoing a Blue Ocean Strategic Workshop.

We anticipate being able to offer in a few months a short online practical and applied Blue Ocean Strategic Workshop.

The workshop will examining some emerging trends … innovations within specific industry/organizations.  Attendees will be required to do some ‘directed’ research prior to the workshop. This will include examining the organization’s current value proposition.

The participants will be expected on completion of the workshop to have identified for further analysis potential Blue Ocean Strategy (s) that will enable them to reposition their organization to the opportunities presented in these emerging red oceans.

The program will be designed for small groups of attendees from selected organizations in specified industries. In this new industrial age of remarkable transformative innovations and the accompanying disruptions organizations that are struggling with maintain margins and facing fierce competition should consider undertaking this workshop.

Watch for a notice on BLOG the site later in the summer; OR Subscribe and we will notify you the details when they are available.

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Terrance Powerhttps://terrypowerstrategy.com
Terrance Power is a Wharton Fellow and professor of strategic and international studies with the Faculty of Management at Royal Roads University in Victoria. This article was published in the Business Edge. Power can be reached at tpower@ancoragepublications.ca


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