What is the Definition of an “Entrepreneur?”

According to Dictionary.com, an entrepreneur is: “A person  who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

We see them as visionaries and dreamers, but more than just that.  We see them as people who take their visions and dreams and connect them with plans, resources, and effort and take the risk to transform them from the ethereal into the concrete.  They put themselves, their time, their efforts, and their assets on the line to achieve this vision–without guarantee of reward.  No one has promised them anything.  They believe in themselves and what they see in their minds enough to do this.  They know that most fail, but they are still going to try.  And they do more than just try.  They go beyond what is comfortable and reasonable and do what is necessary, pulling out all the stops.  They believe they can write their own ticket in life and are not satisfied with what someone else thinks they should have.

When we think of entrepreneurs, we typically think of a business-starter, but I do not limit it to that.  It says “any enterprise.”  Your life definitely falls into that category.  I think you can be an entrepreneur of your own life, even if you work for someone else.

So…are you the entrepreneur of your own life?  Are you writing your own ticket?  Or are you just along for the ride, doing what is comfortable and reasonable, and getting the rewards someone else doles out to you?

…Something to chew on.

Mike

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Honing in on “What’s Important”

Honing in on \”What\’s Important\”.

via Honing in on "What's Important".

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Lesson From Fashion

I own a window-cleaning business. As such, I have retail (clothing) clients whose windows I clean on a regular basis. A few months ago, I was doing this very thing when I looked at the clothes on their racks and displays. I realized that in my 48 years, I had seen these same styles come and go 2 previous times. Now, here they were once again. Having a little experience in the retail fashion industry myself (my first 6 years out of college as an area sales manager in a department store), I understand a little about what happens.

There are styles that seem to always be there (men’s Levis for example). These are considered “Basics.” A retailer can count on them being sold, so it is simply a matter of having an appropriate quantity on hand.

Other styles last for a while then pass. You can look back on them and say, “That was so 2008.” If you look closely, though, you notice that the same style (maybe slightly different) was in vogue several times throughout recent history. In other words, they come and go and come back again. It is cyclical. You just have to understand the cycle.

Some styles are one-hit-wonders or simply bombs. I remember in about 1992 we sold these t-shirts that changed color with body heat. We got some small quantities in and sold them all quickly. The company could not fill orders for us quickly. Then, when we got large quantities in, the excitement was all over. We hardly sold any, and were left with most of them.

My point to all of this is that we need to understand the cycles of business and life in order to prosper. We tend to think that whatever situation we are currently in is permanent, when in fact it is most-likely transient. We must recognize this in order to take advantage of what is transpiring around us and to constantly improve. Are you being successful now? Don’t become complacent and count on it. Are you struggling? Don’t get so down, believing that things will never improve. Press on and look for new ways to succeed.

Try to avoid over-committing to “bombs.” Capitalize on basics. Make the most of trends and move on, being aware that they will probably come back around, slightly evolved, later.

Learn from the fashion world.

Posted in Finding Success | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Business, Charity, or Hobby?

Why do I ask this question? What does this have to do with your decision about what to do for a business?

Well, I’m going to tell you: A business makes money for you, the owner. A charity does not. A hobby costs you, the owner, money.

You want to have a business. You need to choose something that at least has a reasonable potential to have money left for you when it is all said and done. Some concepts for a business sound fun and quaint and cute and neat and cool, but they CANNOT make money. PURSUING SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS ASKING FOR HEARTACHE. Going broke is no fun, not quaint, cute, neat, nor cool.

Can you know for sure that a business idea will make you money? No, not a chance. But you can know if it has a reasonable chance, and you certainly can know if it has NO chance.

Let me give you an example. Say you want to have a service business where the work is performed at the client’s business and find that the going rate paid for that service is $14 per man-hour. You cannot find employees for under $9.00/hour in your town. At first glance, that sounds like you can make money. But there are other payroll related expenses to consider. FICA taxes, unemployment taxes, workers’ comp taxes, and any benefits are just a few. Then, you have general liability insurance which is a percentage of payroll. Add to that, there are expenses for travel, uniforms and supplies. Then, there is advertising, utilities, office supplies and the like. When it is all said and done, it costs you $22 per hour to produce an hour of work. That means that doing this kind of work in your town is a HOBBY–you are paying $8.00 per hour for the honor of doing the work. Hope you like it.

Food for thought.

Mike

Posted in Finding Your Niche | Leave a comment

Helpful Advise from Zig

If you have ever read or heard Zig Ziglar, you would not get very far before running across his axiom: “You can have everything in life you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

Think about it. Mull it over in your mind. The statement is profound, and it has application to the small business owner.

As you are thinking about what product/service to build your business around, ask yourself this question: What do I have to offer that people want? What do I have to offer that enough people would be willing to pay for to give me the quality of life that I want? Your answer to that may help you figure out what to do with yourself. It will definitely help keep your business focus customer-centered. That is a good place to be if you want to be successful.

If you already have a business, ask yourself what your customers want, and if what you are offering satisfies that want, and if your customers know you can provide it for them. This should be an on-going query to help keep you on track.

Doing what you want is rewarding–expressing a passion or talent. Doing what your customers want is rewarding–financially (you remember–why we are in business in the first place). When you connect the two together and find something that your customers want that you are also passionate about and talented in–then, you are on fire!

Something to chew on while on your quest.

Mike
(Re-posted from Micro Business Solutions)

Posted in Finding Your Niche | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Always Working on It

I posted this in my other blog, Microbusinesssolutions.wordpress.com almost three years ago.  It was true then; it is true now:

It is Sunday night, the day I usually take off.  Even when I am off, I am thinking about my business.  That is a by-product of having your own business–you are never truly “off.”  Much more than any job you have, being a small or micro business owner is very consuming.  Sometimes the lines between the business and yourself seem to blur.  The company is your creation, your passion (hopefully), and your dream.  You have invested your blood, sweat, and tears into it.

Right now, I am thinking about the many hats I will be wearing tomorrow.  I still do service work in my business, so I will be taking care of clients.  I am meeting with my CPA Tuesday, so I am going to be looking at budgets and tax prep things in the morning.  Later, I am going to be meeting with a subcontractor.  I am also going to have a meeting with the senior people in my company on Thursday to talk about directions we are going and how we are going to get there.  I will be making follow up phone calls with clients, and I will always be on the lookout to pick up new business.   Beyond these, there are always little “fires” that come up throughout a day to put out.  These many roles take more than an 8 hour 5 day workweek to handle.  But it is worth it to me.

Point being, if you want a career that you can easily leave behind when you get off at 5:00 on Friday and pick back up at 8:00 on Monday, having your own business is not that.  If, on the other hand, you want to experience the satisfaction of creating your work as an extension of yourself in this manner and are willing to do what is necessary–YOU WILL LOVE having your own business.

For me, there is nothing like it.  It is the hardest, best, most challenging, and most rewarding “work” I have ever done.

Until tomorrow,

Mike

Posted in Self Employment | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Are you doing what you want with your life?

How is your work situation? Are you laid off (or afraid you might be soon)?

A job loss pushed me to start my own business. I had wanted to have one of my own since I was 17, but I was afraid to let go of security. Getting fired and not liking the job opportunities that I could find pushed me through my fear and into determination: ”I will start my own business, and I will show them all by succeeding.”

Think it through: Do you want to have your own business? Have you for a while, but were hesitant?

If you are not interested, don’t worry about it. This is not for everybody.

If you are interested, you should explore it. Having the desire does not necessarily mean you are cut out for it, but it is one indicator. You owe it to yourself to think it through and find out.

By all means, don’t let fear stop you. Even in today’s rough economy, we are way more secure with our own business than we ever were working for someone else. After all, in one day, I went from full pay to zero!

Something to think about.

Mike

Posted in Self Employment | Tagged , , | Leave a comment