America has always been a beacon of entrepreneurship because it is so deeply rooted in our history. Our country was founded and then populated by innovators willing to sacrifice old beliefs for new opportunities. People who came to America several hundred years ago in search of a better life took risks in every sense.
Do not confuse riskiness with recklessness. Those who take risks must also become risk analyzers – evaluate the pros and cons, then trust their instincts, recognize and seize the opportunity to build their own business. We, as a nation, must restore our appetite for risk to inspire the hearts of our entrepreneurs.
You may have noticed the similarities that connect these entrepreneurs. We do not consider these similarities to be mere coincidence; we think they are the key to their success. We hope you will apply these traits to your own success strategy for your future or existing business. We have highlighted them in each chapter of the book and now present them along with examples of their application by our entrepreneurs.
10 Entrepreneur Success Strategies
1. Trust your gut
Successful, independent entrepreneurs know when to trust their intuition. A growing body of research in a number of fields, including economics, neuroscience, and cognitive psychology, confirms that intuition is a real form of knowledge. This is a skill that you can develop and strengthen. It is especially valuable in the most chaotic and volatile business environments, when you have to make important decisions at a moment’s notice. At such moments, intuition usually wins over rational analysis.
Trusting your instincts also encourages you to pursue new, untested ideas and endeavors, even if no one else believes in them. It’s about seeing the need for a product or a new service and just knowing Can you do it. You may not have the cash to commission a market research or focus group, but you’re still willing to put your reputation and money on the line for this idea. Why? Because that’s what your intuition tells you.
2. Embrace Traditional Wisdom
Ignore those who say, “This won’t work” or “This has never been done.” Our core entrepreneurs have succeeded in large part because they have deviated from established formulas and ways of thinking. Don’t blindly accept the so-called best practices of your industry. Look at them with a hypercritical eye. Analyze them, slice and dice them, think of different what-if scenarios. A challenge to convention can open the door to competitive advantage.
3. Never let adversity or failure defeat you.
Do not accept the limitations that others or circumstances place on you. The ranks of successful entrepreneurs are filled with men and women who refused to stop believing in themselves, despite ridicule from others or heartbreaking failures in their past. As an entrepreneur, you will undoubtedly experience stressful moments that will test your faith, especially in the beginning when you are still trying to build your brand and separate yourself from the rest. Just remember that the antidote is perseverance and perseverance.
4. Go on a treasure hunt and find an undeserved niche
There is nothing more exciting in the world of business than to find underserved niche representing a lucrative market that everyone else has failed to discover and target. It’s like looking for gold bars on a crowded beach – they were visible to everyone else, but it was you who noticed the golden sheen in the sand. Even a huge multi-billion dollar company cannot offer something for everyone. Look for ways to fill a niche — a path that even small startups can take. Many niches are too small for giant corporations.
5. Find a new trend and pounce
Often a shift in cultural or economic trends creates new opportunities for entrepreneurship. Sometimes this shift occurs due to advances in technology. Many of our profiled entrepreneurs recognized emerging consumer needs and desires that signaled new market opportunities.
6. Beat them where they don’t exist
Casey Stengel, the legendary manager of the New York Yankees, loved to tell the story of baseball great “Wee Willie” Keeler, who was only 5’4″, weighed 140 pounds, and started an eight-season streak with two hundred or more hits. The Hall of Famer’s bat was only thirty inches. Once a sports reporter asked him how such a small guy managed to achieve so much success. Willie replied: hit them where they don’t exist – that’s it.” The same is true in the business world. Whenever possible, focus on areas that have been neglected or ignored by your competitors.
7. Just get started
If you have a business idea, you truly believe that it will succeed, and you are ready to put in more effort than ever before, then take a chance and just start. If your intuition tells you that this business idea is successful, act now. The “perfect” time to start a business will never come. More often than not, waiting simply gives potential competitors an opportunity to get ahead of you. None of the entrepreneurs we interviewed waited for a sign from heaven, or until a long-forgotten aunt died and left them $300,000 in seed money. Many faced enormous financial difficulties. However, they saw a market opportunity and jumped at it.
8. Save your money and get noticed without expensive ads
If your start-up business is on a tight budget, there are plenty of ways to grab the attention of customers without spending money on advertising. Unleash your creative juices and try something different. And when the opportunity presents itself to introduce your brand to the masses, don’t think twice – jump in now. Use your creativity to make your company stand out from the crowd.
9. Use your competitor’s weakness and make it your strength
The most astute entrepreneurs are able to see the world from the point of view of their customers. This quality can help identify the vulnerabilities and shortcomings of your competitors. For example, if your number one competitor has a reputation for slow delivery, make sure your shipments are delivered faster. Engage and listen to customers to identify such weaknesses.
10. Never stop reinventing your company
Do you know the old saying “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”? The problem with this advice is that it induces complacency, and complacency in business is like a slow tire leak. You may not notice the damage it does until the thing is completely flat and you can’t move forward. The most successful entrepreneurs are not afraid to take risks and continue to expand their product line. They are not afraid to overhaul their business from time to time to keep up with the changes in the market. And sometimes a full facelift is needed.
We hope you find these qualities useful in your own entrepreneurial journey and adapt them to your own strategy for success. We hope you can apply them to a new venture or use them in your existing business.
Believe that growth and opportunities for this country’s economy are inevitable. See the world through the eyes of an entrepreneur. Use your imagination to identify market opportunities that others have overlooked. Believe in the power of your ideas and just start chasing your own entrepreneurial dream. It’s up to you to bring back the American dream.
Don Martin, co-author of Taken at Risk: 16 Women and Men Who Built Great Businesses Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies for Success, is a rags-to-riches entrepreneurial success story. Growing up poor in a small town in the Ohio Valley, over the next four decades he founded and built the largest private insurance company in California: Cal-Surance. Cal-Surance is one of the top 50 insurance brokers in the US and generates over $200 million in annual revenue.
Rene Martin, co-author Risk-takers: 16 women and men who built great businesses share their entrepreneurial strategies to succeed, was a dynamic real estate broker when she completely changed careers to work in public works. She has become a rape counselor, court-appointed special counsel for the Children’s Court (CASA), director of public relations for a child abuse crisis center, and public relations spokesperson for many community organizations. After the book was published, she and Don became co-authors. “The Women’s Guide to Survival,” she became a frequent and popular speaker at women’s seminars around the country.
For more information please visit www.RiskTakersBook.com.