9.17.2014

10 Lessons Every Entrepreneur Must Learn

By Jayson Demers, entrepreneur.com
Jayson DeMersAs entrepreneurs, we all follow our own path. For some, the rise to financial success is a long, slow, painful process. For others, things just seem to magically fall into place. I believe that the latter isn’t a result of magic, however, but is the sure sign of an entrepreneur who understands the importance of learning from, adapting to and growing with their business.

The following are 10 lessons every entrepreneur must learn in order to build a long-term, healthy and sustainable business.
1. The customer is not always right. From day one, we’re told that “the customer is always right.” We’re expected to bend over backwards to please every single customer, even when they’re clearly and painfully wrong. This maxim, however, can do a serious disservice to ourselves, our employees and our customers. Give your customers the benefit of the doubt, but not at the expense of your (or your employees’) dignity.
2. Time is money. Money, customers, ideas: all resources you can potentially gain more of. Time, however, is the one commodity you’ll always have a finite amount of. One way to ensure you make the most of your time is to assign an hourly dollar amount to your tasks.
Ask yourself: What would be a fair wage for the tasks I perform? If someone else can competently accomplish these tasks for less money, let them do it so you can focus on higher level, revenue-generating tasks. As a business owner, you should only do the tasks that only you can do.
3. Not all money is good money. This is a lesson many entrepreneurs struggle with early in their career. When you’re getting your business off the ground, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking money from anyone who offers it. The problem is, not all customers or clients are worth it.
Avoid clients who take up too much of your time, who consistently have unrealistic expectations or who you just generally dread working with. It’s just not worth it!
4. There are no cheap shortcuts in marketing. I often speak to business owners who want marketing advice, but who then shun my recommendations as being “too expensive.” The truth is, cheap marketing can make your brand look cheap.
Low-quality content, cheap ads and "budget" SEO may save you money in the short term, but the damage they do to your brand’s reputation can last far longer. For insight on how to market the right way, see my ebook.
5. Outsource as much as possible. If you don’t have in-house staff to share the workload, consider outsourcing. Many entrepreneurs find that hiring an overseas virtual assistant significantly reduces the time they need to spend on routine tasks, freeing them up to work on revenue-generating tasks.
6. Build your personal brand as well as your company brand. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of focusing on building their company brand to the exclusion of building their personal brand. However, your personal brand will differentiate you from your competitors, give you authority and credibility in your field, and stick with you in the event your company ultimately experiences failure.
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