Your defining decision is not should you become an entrepreneur. Rather, your defining decision must be are you willing to pay the price to become a successful entrepreneur. Honestly ask yourself, are you wholeheartedly committed to and willing to make the necessary sacrifices to be successful?
Do you have a long-term perspective? Are you willing to sacrifice the necessary time, money, and effort in the short-term in order to achieve long-term prosperity? Do you have the patience necessary to research, establish, build, nurture, and cultivate a successful business?
By your very definition, an entrepreneur, it is guaranteed that you will face challenges, distractions, risk, obstacles, and at many times, uncertainty. But your success as an entrepreneur cannot be achieved if your thoughts and your level of commitment is anything less than firm and resolute.
As an entrepreneur, your strongest asset is your mind. It is your mental resolve, your mental stability and flexibility, your creativity, and your sound and decisive decision making that will ensure your success long-term. Regardless of how much money you make, your strongest asset remains your mind. If you were to lose everything a sound mind could always create new wealth.
There is No Substitute for Preparation. The Great General McArthur once said "There is no substitute for victory." As a proud graduate of the Military Academy I wholeheartedly agree with the General. But as a proud and motivated entrepreneur I also believe that there is no substitute for preparation.
Little greatness has ever been achieved by coincidence. Rather, greatness is always the result of calculated and consistent action. Your success, your greatness, and your accomplishments will be the direct result of your preparations. Why? Because what you do today directly influences what happens to you tomorrow.
But how do you prepare to be an entrepreneur? What do you prepare for and where do you start? First and foremost you need to prepare YOU. Before you can plan to pursue any business venture or prosperous opportunity you must first ensure that YOU are prepared.
Think of your hands when they're full - holding onto something. When your fists are full and tightly clasped you're unable to accept holding anything else? Your hands are preoccupied.
The same is true when it comes to preparing YOU. When you're not prepared you're unable to accept success. You're unable to accept prosperity. You're unable to accept blessings of success. How can you have high expectations of success if you're not prepared to achieve success? The answer is you can't. Like your hands, YOU must be open and prepared, willing to accept and receive success.
Start by preparing YOU mentally, physically, financially, and educationally. Build personal patterns and habits that will encourage your success. If there are things that you don't know - learn them! Educate yourself and find experienced people that can help you.
Next, prepare your environment and your surroundings for success. Eliminate inefficiency, clutter, disorganization, and distractions. Success doesn't follow disorganization. Rather, success is led by organized and focused efficiency.
Surround yourself with positive influences and avoid negative people. You can't soar with the eagles if you remain clucking with the chickens. Unfortunately, negative people can include friends, family, and close associates. Regardless of who they are, how long you've known them, or what the relationship, you can't afford to fall prey to the negative energy, poor attitude, or inefficient habits from others.
The following phrase is very succinct yet powerful. "Plan your work then work your plan." These short seven words are a simple philosophy that you should use as you approach the development of YOU and your business.
Have an Expectancy of Success. A fear of failure cannot be an option. Rather, it is absolutely essential that you have realistic and strong expectations of success.
As Sam Walton once said, "High expectations are the key to everything."
Does having high expectations and a strong will mean that you are impervious to failure? No. Chances are very good that you will experience some form of failure along your entrepreneurial journey.
Does it mean that you won't make mistakes? No. Regardless if you're a new or experienced entrepreneur mistakes, oversights, and miscalculations are always a possibility. But, it's how you interpret, react to, learn from and overcome failure and errors that will test your commitment and further shape your character and resolve.
Regardless of how often or intense your challenges, you must remain optimistic and committed with high expectations of success. High expectations and a positive outlook is what allows you to view mistakes and challenges as lessons learned rather than allowing them to hamper and adversely affect your success.
Accept Problems - But Don't Let Them Distract You. Ask yourself. Why is it that you're able to make money owning your own business? The reason - because you're a problem solver! It doesn't matter what industry or what business you're in, you're solving someone's problem(s). That's how you generate profits - solving someone's problems.
In the transportation business you're meeting people's travel needs. In the food industry, you're satisfying someone's hunger. A maintenance shop repairs vehicles. A law firm preserves people's legal rights. It doesn't matter what your business you're solving problems.
Now that you accept being a problem solver, you must accept that you'll face problems of all kinds - many unwelcome. You will face employee problems, financial problems, logistics problems, time problems, deadline problems, and various other kinds of problems. But regardless of how intense, how unexpected, or how inconvenient the problem(s), you cannot allow problems to control you and you can't allow them to take your business off course or to sink your ship altogether.
Someone once said "tough times don't last, tough people do." This philosophy hold true both in the athletic and the entrepreneurial arena. You will always be tested by adversity and obstacles. But because you're going to have a strong resolve, you're going to be mentally and strategically prepared for the unexpected. Further, because you're going to have a high expectancy of success you will have all of the necessary tools to overcome unwelcome problems and challenges. Just accept that problems are an inherent part of owning a business. But it's not what kind of problems you face that defines you. Rather, it's how you overcome these problems that make you who you are.
Education is Ongoing, Not a Final Destination. We're living in the information age. New technologies and information are being disseminated at a feverish pace. What makes this information age so exciting are the rapidly growing financial opportunities. These new technologies and information are creating new and exciting entrepreneurial opportunities for all of us. But with growing opportunities comes the demand for growing education. To remain competitive, to remain at the forefront of your industry, to remain a visionary your continued education is absolutely essential.
Doing business in the new millennium is far different than it was fifty, thirty, even ten years ago! Therefore, your education must always remain an ongoing journey and not a final destination. Your education doesn't stop with high priced degrees from formal institutions. Strengthen and educate your mind. Start by surrounding yourself with knowledgeable and experienced people - people that lead by example and speak form experience. Find other entrepreneurs from whom you can gather insight, feedback, and input.
Use all available resources to further your education. If you don't personally know of nor have access to people of experience then invest in books, CD's, and audio tapes. There are countless educational resources that are readily available online, in book stores, and libraries.
Make education one of your strongest habits. As John Dryden, a popular writer, says "We first make our habits, and then our habits make us." Continue to educate yourself and let your intelligence and actions define you rather than your lack of action and poor habits.
Run Your Own Race. Unlike sporting events, in entrepreneurship there is no end of regulation and there are no time-outs. There's no time clock. Therefore, the amount of time and effort that you invest into YOUR development and that of your business is entirely up to you. Your success lies only on your level of motivation, your determination, and your commitment.
What's great about entrepreneurship is that it doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter who you are or where you are in life. It's never too late to start, to build, and to grow. As Joel Osteen, a popular preacher and motivational speaker says, don't worry about what others are doing, "run your own race." These four short words are very powerful in serving as a reminder of what direction your entrepreneurial efforts should be affixed. For as long as God blesses you with breath in your lungs, spirit in your heart, and thoughts in your mind, tomorrow can always bring you new opportunities, new wealth, and new fortunes.
Remember, it's not where you start that counts, it's where you finish. Harland Sanders, also known as Colonel Sanders, didn't establish his famous Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise until he was well in his 60's. Do you think he didn't face plenty of doubters and naysayers? Don't ever be discouraged that you're too late, you don't have time, or you don't know how. Just keep sowing seeds of success and "run your own race." Eventually your seeds of hard work will bear fruit.
Joel E. Davis, author of the best-selling ebook "How to Build a Million Dollar Medical Transportation Company," is the CEO of Maximus Management Group, Inc., a consulting company dedicated to assisting new and aspiring entrepreneurs to find and realize entrepreneurial success. Visit Joel at http://www.milliondollartransportation.com.
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