Treat ideas with contempt

‘m an ideas man. I love the brainstorming, out the box thinking, stringing together concepts and frameworks, finding opportunity and finding gems. Its who I am, and it’s my happy place – my safe place. Being an ideas man has stood me well as an entrepreneur. I have always found it easy to navigate new ways around problems. There is, however, a big lesson that I have learnt that does not come easy – not all ideas are good ideas. Most ideas are bad ones. I sunk two million in a bad idea a few years ago and I have run with many other bad ideas. Yes, I have learned from each one, but I wish I didn’t have to – I wish you don’t have to either.

Ten Years as an Entrepreneur

Ten years ago, I was retrenched from a marketing and sales position. My story is the same as many other people. Sometimes losing a job can point towards a better life and opportunities you never thought possible.  After my retrenchment, I didn’t have an epiphany about starting a business. I simply said, “I’ll work for myself until I get a job.” That job never came, and ten years later, I find myself unemployable. I’m an entrepreneur, author and international conference speaker.  In ten years, I’ve presented in over 14 countries, started six business (three remain), made money, lost money, learnt a lot and ultimately realised that entrepreneurship is not for the weak. The toughest decisions I’ve made happened in the last ten years. The biggest highlights have also occurred during my time as an entrepreneur.  I love being an entrepreneur, and it’s not because of the ‘own boss’ dream that is often touted as the best part of starting a business.  It’s because entrepreneurship does three incredible things, and I get to be a part of that.  Entrepreneurship creates self-worth I never realised the value in what I could do until I saw people willing to spend money on me to do those things. People don’t part with money easily and watching them spend it on me was humbling and inspiring. It pushed me to deliver well and create value for my clients. The more I did this, the more I believed in myself and what I had to bring...

Are You Saying Yes Too Often?

There’s a well known entrepreneurial concept that say’s ‘always say yes, then figure out how you’re going to do it.’ It’s something I have lived by for most of my life. Always excited to find the next challenge to solve I was always ready to say yes first, and then figure it out later. The concept served me well as a young entrepreneur looking to make enough money to survive. It helped me generate revenue and pay my team their salaries and build a successful business. In fact, we had almost made an art of saying yes. We got inspired and energized by the thought. It was a way of life that seemed to spell out that this ‘yes first concept’ was a business truth that you could live by. In managing personal boundaries most entrepreneurs understand that saying no is a good way to manage their personal energy reserves. The motive though is usually to get enough rest to go out and do everything we said yes to. Today I think about it slightly differently. I am thankful I said yes to so many things, it’s helped me learn this lesson. Stop saying yes, start asking for yes. When you say yes as an entrepreneur you are signing up for someone else’s vision, but when you ask for yes you are driving your own vision. After years of saying yes I had a great reputation for solving problems and I had managed to create a relatively successful business around...

Let’s Take That Business Idea To The Next Level

Many entrepreneurs will remember the moment they got a solid idea that consumed them. It is something that you can’t let go of. It nestles into your mind, you nurture the idea and it begins to grow until you get to the stage that you act on it. But then what? It takes a lot of hard work to get a business off the ground, and once the initial groundwork has been done, what next? Here are some ideas that could help you take your business to the next level. Find a business location that works for you One of the obvious steps that you can take when it comes to your business is to move out of the home and into a business location. A lot of businesses start from home and that can be a great option initially, but you may want to now deal with clients face to face or even have a retail premises. This is when searching online on websites like PropList can help you find the right thing for you. It will highlight your budget and what you can get for your money. It could be the ideal step to take. Do you have the right marketing strategy in place? No business can succeed without some from of advertising and marketing plan. It might be simple social media updates or something on a larger scale like national press, but you will have something. However, when was the last time you worked out what was...

3 Small Business Milestones to Look Forward to and Prepare for

When you first start your own business, you’re likely to be pretty excited by the fact that you are now an official entrepreneur, and are taking active steps to rule your own future, and be your own boss. It is sometime after first getting the idea in your head to start a business, however, that you are likely to really come across the milestones that will give you the deepest sense of satisfaction and pride in what you’re doing. These milestones are precious, because they help you to stay driven and motivated to keep moving forward, and give you the kind of positive affirmation that is so important for validating your efforts in the first place. So, here are a few small business milestones to work for, look forward to, and prepare for. The day you are able to quit your day job This particular milestone is one that people often expect will come immediately, although it often comes much later in the game, if at all. In any case, the day you are finally able to quit your day job and focus on your small business full-time, is the moment you truly become free from the world of conventional work, and become your own boss in earnest. Of course, some people quit their day jobs at the very start of their entrepreneurial journeys, particularly if they have a decent amount of money saved up. In that case, you should consider the specific milestone to be – the point at...

Six Tips for start-ups

Starting your own business is a very rewarding challenge so to help make it a success, here are a few tips that you can follow… Have A Business Plan Don’t underestimate the importance of a business plan. Even if you are very clear on what you want to do and you’re not needing to apply for any funding at all initially, it is still well worth writing out a formal business plan. The process of formulating your business plan, your forecasts, and your marketing strategy is an effective way to really hone in on your vision. When writing your business plan, you should ask yourself these two questions: Is your business serving a particular need? Does it represent a significant market opportunity? Have A Goal And A Vision While putting together your business plan, setting in stone your company vision statement should form part of this process. It can be very overwhelming at the start and one can easily get carried away with a load of new ideas, so be careful not to loose focus of what it is exactly you wish to achieve. With each new idea that you have, take a step back and ask yourself if and how it fits into your company’s goal and vision, then create a plan for how you can make it happen. Use your vision statement and set of goals as a constant reference point to every decision you make.  Keep Up To Date If you already have experience in running or...

Being The Best For Your Business: The Harsh Decisions To Make

Often as a business owner you will find that every important decision falls at your feet. It isn’t an easy thing to have to navigate at times. But a necessary part of entrepreneur life. There will be some harsh realities that you face, some will have a real impact on your business day to day, and some will impact how you work and feel. It is good to be aware of the situations that you might find yourself in as a business owner yourself, so here are some of the harsh decisions you may need to make in the future in order for your business to be successful and thrive. Valuing your time One of the biggest things an entrepreneur and business owner can face is placing a value on their time. The truth is, you may want to be part of every aspect of your business, but there will not be enough hours in the day once your business starts to progress. Outsourcing certain aspects of your business could be the answer, and things like using  expert contractor accountants for your accounts or having an IT team in place to deal with website issues and your online presence might be worth the investment. Freeing up your time for the things where you can make the most difference. In addition you should be making sure that you delegate the work you need to. Too many entrepreneurs are doing too much work themselves that can be delegated and free them up to...

On giving back to the industry

I’ve always admired how people come together to create something new and spectacular. Musicians do this frequently. They’re more interested in making great music than self-promotion, making them more willing to work together. Great musicians are always looking for new talent to collaborate with – people they can perform, write and ultimately promote the music industry with. Collaboration helps musicians introduce themselves to new audiences, learn, grow and network. It helps build both the industry and the individuals involved. So, why aren’t we doing this in the digital industry? Over the years, I’ve found that our industry shares a lot of information online, but this isn’t true collaboration. Sharing knowledge has become more of a self-promotional tool rather than a collaborative effort that could drive our industry to new heights. I firmly believe industries can benefit from industry leaders and players putting their pride aside and starting initiatives to accelerate understanding, expertise and promote growth within their industry. There are so many benefits of true collaboration within an industry. Here are some I’ve seen come to life during my entrepreneurial journey: What The Industry Gains When You Give Back: When people collaborate and openly share knowledge, it not only pushes industry understanding, expertise and experience, it inspires and stimulates people, injecting a renewed energy and excitement back into the industry. Collaboration can also be used as a promotional tool to attract new clients, create revenue and develop new products and services. It pushes people within the industry to create and...

Zero to One

After reading a number of books about finding purpose in life this book challenges entrepreneurs to the core to create business that build the future instead of cluttering the present with more of the same. A great book and must read for entrepreneurs. Let me dive straight into a few interesting thoughts. Best definition of a startup Hidden in this book is my new favourite definition of a startup. “A startup is the largest group of people you can convince of a plan to build a different future.” It points to an entrepreneurs need for clear vision, the need to clearly communicate it and the fact that your vision should be bigger than you, it should build a different future. Making a difference Copying something or joining an industry does not build a new future. Entrepreneurs make a real difference by creating something new, something that didn’t exist before. Something we needed but didn’t know. Henry Ford built the first car before anyone knew what a car was. He went from zero to one. The world develops and grows when entrepreneurs go from zero to one instead of become more of the same. Monopoly is good If your going from zero to one you’re going to have the monopoly. Monopoly is not bad it’s the natural circumstance for a business building a different future. Money is just money if you have a plan People with money will always leave it in banks because they don’t know what to do with it. Money is...

3 lessons from the Global Leadership Summit

As a businessman I have become acutely aware that my ability to lead is directly related to the growth and success of any business I run. This has lead me to read as much as possible on leadership, follow top leadership professionals and attend conferences where I can learn more about successful leadership. The Global Leadership Summit (GLS) is one of those conferences that I have been attending for the past three years. The conference is primarily a Christian Leadership conference but has been very good at finding speakers outside the Christian circles. Seth Godin, Jack Welsch and a host of other leadership and business “greats” have all spoken at the GLS. The Christian aspect of the conference is also refreshing as I have always held a personal belief that the Bible is the best source of wisdom in how we should live, lead and treat each other in this world. I thought it would be a great idea to share with you three key learnings that I got out of the conference. I hope these pearls of wisdom help you in your leadership journey. Bill Hybels: What is your current challenge level Dangerously over challenged: too much going on Appropriate: there is a sense of finality and completion Under challenged Bill suggests, as do many others, that our best work is done when we are challenged just over our “over challenged” mark. In other words we are slightly out of our depth which excites us and challenges us to...

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