Small Town Entrepreneurship:
Have You Got What It Takes?
by Tom Egelhoff
I looked up Entrepreneur in my Random House dictionary and found the following definition.
"A person who organizes, manages, and assumes responsibility for a business or other enterprise".
Another way of saying it is, "The buck stops here." Entrepreneurs are the people who step up when weaker folks won't.
It never ceases to amaze me how many college graduates leave four to seven years of study perfectly content to let someone else call the shots in their lives.
"I want a good JOB with a good company." The very idea that there is such a thing is ridiculous.
Learn From Those Who Do What You Want To Do
Most entrepreneurs are people who; worked for someone else; learned how it was done and took the chance that they could do it as well or better than their employer.
Today, I want to cover some points that must be addressed from the entrepreneur stand point if you want to be successful.
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Do You Have The Resolve?
If you are to succeed in your business, you must have an overwhelming desire to succeed. Suppose we are swimming and I hold your head under the water.
At first you might think I was trying to make some business point. After a while, lack of oxygen might become a concern. You might try to raise your head out of the water but I continued to hold you down with more force.
Finally, with every ounce of strength available, you stand and force your head out of the water despite my efforts to hold you under.
This is exactly the resolve it takes to succeed in business, in my opinion. People and circumstances are going to try to hold you down.
Only your self-preservation like desire to save your "business life" will decide your fate. You will succeed or fail based mostly on your own resolve to be successful.
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You are going to be dealing with customers. Every business owner I know wants to take good care of the customer. Some are not as considerate of their employees. Keep in mind that these employees are the first people that your customers are going to come in contact with.
Are your employees proud of what they do? Are they appreciated for the hard work they do every day? Do you compliment them twice as often as you reprimand them?
I had an employer in my early years of selling that always said, "You give an employee two warm fuzzies for each cold prickly."
The more pride your employees have in what they do the more professionalism they will show to the customer. You can't run your business by yourself forever.
Sooner or later you are going to have an employee. Work on your people skills and you'll keep good employees.
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As your business grows there are some areas you need to keep track of to keep your business on an even keel.
- Accounts Receivables - This is the amount of money people owe you. This is also the money you use to replenish your inventory, pay bills and generate your profits. What if it isn't paid? You need to keep at least twice the amount of your receivables in reserve.
- Do What You Do Best - You can't be all things to all people. My web site is for businesses in small towns. Can other people use it? Sure. But they are a secondary market. All our efforts are directed at small town business owners
- Don't Take Money Out Of The Company Too Soon - After all the hard work of growing a business there comes a time when you feel you deserve a reward. A cruise, a new car, new addition to the house. The company is finally making a "little" money so, "Why not?" Try and resist doing this and continue to invest the profits back into the company. The wait will be worth it.
- Create An Advisory Board And Meet With Them Often - These are a group of professionals in various fields who are "qualified" to advise you on the various aspects of your business. Accounts, advertising professionals, marketing consultants, and financial planners. Buy them lunch once a quarter and keep them up to date on how your business is going. Present new ideas you have and get their feedback. The final decision will always be yours but they can give you valuable perspective from their industries point of view.
- Keep Your Business Plan Current - Most entrepreneurs create a business plan when starting their business. However, after the first year of following the plan, it goes in a file and is never heard from again. Your business is going to evolve over time and decisions are going to be required. If you don't have an up to date long range plan, on what are you going to base your decisions. You can't run a business long by making emotional "seat of the pants" decisions. Follow your plan.
Finally, if you get on the train headed for Success, that train is going to pass through Failure. Failure is a very nice looking place. It's tempting to stay there.
There is always someone in Failure to take the blame for you. No one in Failure has to make any decisions. No one in Failure takes any responsibility.
Don't get off at that stop. Stay on the train until the end of the line. It's well worth the extra miles.
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© Eagle Marketing PO Box 271, Bozeman, MT 59771-0271
http://www.smalltownmarketing.com - Phone: (406) 585-0219
Based in Bozeman, MT, Tom Egelhoff is the author of How To Market, Advertise & Promote Your Business Or Service In A Small Town, and The Small Town Advertising Handbook: How To Say More And Spend Less. He is also a seminar and workshop presenter and trainer. He may be reached at 406-585-0219 or PO Box 271, Bozeman, MT 59771-0271
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