The Entrepreneurial Brand Involves More Than Management Skills

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Personalities such as Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Henry Ford represent success, public recognitions and power. Based on their personal stories, life has not always been smooth for them. Building your entrepreneurial brand is a journey.

Passion and brains are equally important

It takes more than a university degree, networking and financial wealth to make it as a successful business owner. They do provide you with some of the needed tools to run your business. What is most important are the reasons motivating you for running your own business. Success, financial wealth and be your own boss are good reasons but not strong enough to motivate you when things are slowing down. Business like life is cyclical. Setting up your own business would need more than brains. It needs a strong sense of purpose. Why do you choose this business rather than another one? What makes you think that you are better off surviving on your own rather than receiving your monthly pay check? Can you live, eat and sleep with it everyday of your life, no matter what it takes?

You are your best marketing tool

Your business is more than a website and business cards. It is about who you are – your personality, core values and track record. They permeate whatever you do – managing your team, talking to potential clients, running your business. What do you need to be at your very best everyday to convert people into clients, business partners, supportive suppliers?

Recruiting people for your business involves more than an interview. It is about finding people sharing similar core values, believing that your success is theirs as well! Your staff drives customer loyalty and contribute to the long term growth of your business. What can you do to attract not only the right set of skills but also people with the right attitude and mindset? Corporate culture is all about how you lead – your vision, authenticity, how strong are you in addressing challenges, how ready are you to be open to different perspectives. What is your leadership style?

Self awareness is key to running a business which is congruent with your values and beliefs, motivating your team as well as developing recurrent business. New business is great for market expansion. However, loyal customers are cheaper to manage as they know you and how best you can meet their needs. The key is the ability to speak from the heart. Your brains allow you to calculate your costing, meet the legal requirements of owning a business and implement the processes needed for operating your business. Your heart allows you to connect to people, to hone your intuition for decision making, to be creative and “wow” your target audience.

Determine your comfort zone

Everybody has a minimum survival budget. What is yours? In each business, there is a start up and development phase that you would need to support in terms of funding and time. The growth phase is where you will be able to earn a comfortable living from your business and reap the rewards of the efforts you have invested in its early days. Most successful entrepreneurs agree that the growth phase kicks in after 3-5 years of business development as a general rule of thumb. How would you fund your own personal needs as well as that of your business during the start up and development phase?

Work life balance is essential to personal wellbeing. Building your business is about being available as and when required. However, spending 99% of your time in running your business may not be your desired work life balance. Great time management is about setting your priorities right and making sure that you give the desired attention to each of your top priorities.

What makes you comfortable with others? How much are you ready to compromise when you are working in a team? Your habits (conscious or unconscious) may be the cause of bonding in some relationships as well as the cause of conflicts in other relationships. Your cross cultural norms in terms of decision making style, communication, attitude towards work are the basis of your interactive skills. Any relationship is about building a win win outcome! Your staff works with you mainly to earn a living and as part of their career plan. Embracing your vision is a result of you being engaged with them as much as you want them to be in your business prospects.

How good are you when you are not on familiar ground? Some people thrive out of their comfort zone whilst others need some sense of familiarity. How about you? What can you do to thrive out of your comfort zone?

The list of entrepreneurial traits is endless! Resilience, determination, self confidence and it goes on. The most crucial question is how ready are you to embark in a journey where the itinerary is unknown and outcome not guaranteed. Having a business plan gives you a sense of direction. It does not prepare you for managing the unexpected. A successful entrepreneurial brand is all about daring to move forward! The key is to act upon your business idea instead of talking about business ideas and writing business plans left in your drawer for further reference.

Peter Drucker says it all:

“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”

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