Tag Archives: entrepreneur

When Preparing Is Really Delaying

Delaying can be a pitfall for any person, organization or business.  Here is an excerpt from my book 101 Winning Marketing Actions For Small Businesses to help you understand when you may be delaying something important.  For organizations and agencies, the most common things to delay are reports and evaluations and anything involving research.

 

Action #13

Guard against spending too much time on “getting ready” instead of “doing”.

When doing something that is scary, risky, takes a lot of time, seems overwhelming or is boring/tedious it is tempting to put it off by “getting ready”. Some common delay tactics that are easily disguised as preparations are:

  • Buying supplies
  • Making lists
  • Getting others opinions
  • Reading inspirational stories or articles
  • Looking for an “easier” way
  • “Finding” time

Whenever you are faced with something you know you should do to market your business and you find yourself struggling to get started or to make progress, ask yourself if you are postponing by pretending to prepare. To help yourself decide, plug your situation and your activities into one of the following examples:

 

Example A – Making a Dessert

You have to make a dessert for a pot-luck dinner. You really want to make something unusual and impressive. You look through your recipes, but you don’t find one that quite fits. You ask some friends for suggestions. You look online for just the right dessert. You visit a bookstore or library and look through several books. You call a local bakery and ask for suggestions and prices. Now you have so much information you can’t make a choice. Finally, the day before the event you pull out an old recipe you have used many times and rush to the store to get the ingredients. You prepare your tried-and-true dessert and take it to the pot-luck dinner. You are dismayed to find that three other people brought the same dessert. Your dessert certainly did not stand out, you wasted a lot of time and you have to take two-thirds of it home.

 

Example B – Building a Birdhouse

Your mother tells you she wants a birdhouse for Mother’s Day. You think that building one for her will make it extra special. You search online for plans or kits, but there are so many choices. For inspiration you visit a local gift store that sells birdhouses. You go to a local hardware store and talk with a sales clerk about materials and kits. You buy some materials and a blueprint; you take them home to get started. You wait a few days until you can find time to build the birdhouse, but you can’t seem to set aside enough time. Finally, the Saturday before Mother’s Day you go to the gift store and buy one of their birdhouses. When your Mom opens the birdhouse, she smiles and says, “My friend Ella has one just like this.”

THIS IS MY HOUSE! Using Entrepreneur Characteristics to Improve Your Life (Part 2)

Part 2 of the entrepreneurial characteristics that can help improve your life at work, home or any where.

Convincing – One of the primary philosophical characteristics of Entrepreneurs is belief – in yourself, your ideas, your organization, your abilities, etc.  The belief is the first step to convincing.  Understanding your audience or target is the second step, because understanding means you can identify the benefits for them of participating, supporting, donating, using, attending, etc.  If you do the first two steps, then convincing will come easy.  But convincing is enormously important to reaching a desired outcome.

Asks – A successful Entrepreneur asks.  He/She may be afraid of the answer, but realizes that is necessary to ask for the sale, promotion, assignment, donation, information or opportunity.  This is one of those places where “no risk, no reward” applies.  The response may be negative, but it is usually necessary to know that, if you are to complete something or move on to the next step.  Not asking is equivalent to giving up or giving control to someone else.  Remember from the original description that an Entrepreneur “accepts full responsibility for the outcome.”

Delegates & Partners – Even though the definition of Entrepreneur is “one who takes responsibility for the outcome,” it would be ridiculous to think that one person can do everything.  That can be a difficult acknowledgement for directors.  Learning when, where and how to delegate or partner is crucial to being successful.   But the knowledge is only half the story, doing is the other half.  Delegating and partnering  provides success on many levels.  Triumphantly completing a task, project, event, etc. is one level.  Another is sharing the revenue, experience, praise or recognition with someone else.  And contributing to the development of an employee, collaborator, funder, donor or organization is another.  More successes likely to be realized by partnering and delegating are increasing your opportunities, productivity and efficiency. And last, but certainly not least, delegating and partnering helps you use your time, energy, money and brain power wisely and prudently.  Entrepreneurs know when to lead and when to follow.

Researches – Knowledge is power.  Background provides understanding.  Other peoples’ triumphs and mistakes teach lessons.  But you cannot benefit from any of these if you do not do research.  Research avoids cultural faux pas, minimizes costly mistakes, provides competitive ammunition, enhances your assets, strengthens your position and reduces wasted time.  How many times have you made a purchase only to find out a few days later that you could have gotten it for less at a different store or website?  Have you ever been embarrassed because you made an assumption instead or doing a little reading?  Ever felt under or over dressed?  A true Entrepreneur prepares to be successful by doing the appropriate research.

Finishes – Making it to the end and recognizing the end are important principles for entrepreneurial living.  Our definition stated that an Entrepreneur “accepts full responsibility for the outcome.”  Normally, outcome is perceived as the end.  If you do not reach the end the outcome is likely not what you really wanted.  And if you have not clearly identified the outcome you may go past it, thus wasting time, energy, money and maybe reputation.  Although this is an important trait, not all people classified as Entrepreneurs are good at finishing.  Most of those who rarely finish were placed in the Entrepreneur category by default.   These are the individuals who keep starting something new because they have short attention spans, did not think things through before they started or do not deal well with obstacles.  They did not function well when working for others, so they became “Entrepreneurs” and started businesses or organizations.  Chronically not finishing things is extremely unsatisfying, which may explain their wanderlust and, also, may be the reason for the failure of many businesses and organizations.

Persistent – Sometimes organization directors are not comfortable with persistence because they are afraid they will be called pushy or other uncomplimentary terms.  But persistence, and often consistency, is necessary.  Everyone has their own agenda; we all have demands on our time, energy and money.  So if you are to accomplish your agenda and respond to the demands on you, you must persistently ask, remind, propose, cajole, beg, follow-up and insist.  Take this lesson to heart:  Just because someone should, doesn’t mean they will.  The entrepreneurial way is to take responsibility for the outcome and the responsibility likely includes persistent action.

So look inside and draw out your Entrepreneur characteristics.  Nurture and develop them.  Apply them to the things you do – big or small.  And enjoy the improvement in all the areas of your life.

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