7 Principles for Entrepreneurial Success

Principles for Entrepreneurial Success
  1. Do Something Important

You should endeavor to make the world a better place, even if your world is only local and your idea helps a relatively small number of people or organizations.  It doesn’t have to be huge.  It just has to be important to you and your customers.  Put forward a vision, a mission, a passion, that you, your employees, your suppliers, your business partners, your customers; everyone, can really rally around.  In the Navy, it was “keeping America safe”. That’s a good one. At Life Size it was “changing the way the world communicates”. And you, the leader, must believe it in all the way down to your bones or it won’t be authentic. You can’t half ass this. People will see right through it.  You should be so fired up about this that you leap out of bed every morning to get going, day after day, year after year, because that is what it will take to be successful.

  1. Respect your Customers

One of the greatest examples of a respect for your customers’ philosophy comes from Vijay Mallya, the founder of Kingfisher KGFHY +% Airlines in India. In his welcome aboard video, he said “I’ve instructed my staff to treat you like you were guests in my own home”. You will continue to give to them out of kindness and generosity with the trust that they will reciprocate and allow you to build a successful business with their money. Respect for your customers means also having a passion to help them achieve their goals, whether personal or business. If you can help your customer be successful, that’s a good day, and longer lasting and ultimately more profitable than if you just sell them something.

  1. Respect your Employees

Respect for your employees is equally important.  Long gone are the days of lifetime employment at one firm. Everyone is a free agent these days. The best employers provide a work environment, not full of perks and extras, but one where each employee feels the organization and their direct leader respects their dignity and the value of their contributions to the business. You must provide an environment for your employees to be successful in their careers.  They have aspirations and dreams and families and mortgages and college bills too. They’ve hitched their wagon to your vision; maybe even moved their families across the country.  Many of them may even want to start their own company someday. You can, no, you have a responsibility to help them get there.  Respect for your employees also means deciding what kind of people you allow in the door and remain on the team. It’s one of the most important things you can do for your “A” class people.  It tells them that you respect their time and are not willing to compromise or dilute their efforts.

  1. Respect your Investor’s Capital

Be good stewards of your investor’s money, whether it comes from a private equity firm, a venture capital firm, an angel investor, the local bank or your Aunt Susan. It’s not your money.  Don’t waste it. Spend your money on your people and make sure they have all the equipment and services they need to be successful. That’s the first priority. An inappropriately lavish office, in fact, sends the wrong message to your team – that you are focused on the wrong things. In the case of professional investors, their livelihood and careers depend on your stewardship of their capital.  Have respect for them and take care of their money.  Tend to it carefully and grow it into a significant return. Your employees with a stake in the company will thank you as well.

  1. Grow your Business

You are either growing or you are shrinking. It’s one or the other, and you better grow. Focus and execute. Get out of bed every day, get to work and make progress.  And remember the goal of a business is to make money. Making money and becoming a self-sustaining business is really the goal.  If you never make money, eventually you will have no business and your employees will have no jobs and your investors will have no return on their investment. Growth and profits fund jobs for you, your people, your suppliers, great products and services that help your customers succeed, and ultimately tax revenue for your city, state and country. 

  1. Strive to be the Leader in your Space

Don’t be satisfied to just muddle along as #2 or another company in a commodity market.  Real innovation occurs when someone or a team of people decide that the current way of doing things isn’t good enough and they are not going to take it anymore.  Whether that new innovation is in products, or services, or a business model, the truly great companies in history have re-invented their particular market or created a new market where none previously existed. This should be your goal.  That’s not to say if you don’t become Fedex or Starbucks SBUX -0.55% or Apple AAPL -0.40% or Google you are a failure.  Pick YOUR market and YOUR business model and creatively re-invent or at least significantly tilt the playing field in your direction.  If you are not disrupting things and creating new value for your customers, what are you doing today?

  1. Never Give Up

Do your best every day and never, ever give up. To paraphrase the 30th President Calvin Coolidge, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Genius will not.  Education will not.  Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Sounds corny and a little outdated, doesn’t it?  But you know what? It works. Some of us come across or organically develop a huge idea, at the perfect time in history and execute it flawlessly, and Voila!, Facebook is born. But for the rest of us, we need to get to work, every day, year after year, decade after decade and grind it out.

So that’s it. Follow these seven easy steps to business fame and riches…If it were only so simple. It is possible for anyone, from any starting point in life to build a successful business, achieve their dream and inspire others to do the same. It’s being done every day.

So what are you waiting for?

sources: http://www.forbes.com/ Craig Malloy, cofounder and CEO of Bloomfire.