Before joining the corporate world of banking and consulting, I spent a few years exploring my entrepreneurial spirit. In that time I worked on several ventures (from floating hotels to biometric fraud prevention), most of which “almost succeeded” but one of which was successful. I learned many lessons from both the successes and failures but it all boils down to this: listen to Dr Seuss!
I am a firm believer that Dr Seuss’s book “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” should be compulsory reading for all entrepreneurs. The book encapsulates the entrepreneurial journey: the ups, the downs, the choices to be made and, most of all, the Hakken-Kraks’ howl.
“You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself any direction you choose”
When running a business you will be pulled in many directions: investors, competitors, friends, family etc. Remember the buck stops with you! You must believe in your decisions and have the right tools to implement them. Ideas are great but actions turn dreams into businesses.
“But on you will go though the weather be foul
On you will go though your enemies prowl
On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl”
All businesses will face challenges and when they occur you need to face up to them and find a way forward. Challenges are opportunities for innovative solutions; innovative solutions lead to competitive advantages. So don’t shy away from challenges, embrace them!
“You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted
But mostly they’re darked”
Often as entrepreneurs and innovators we venture into unknown markets. It’s important to find a balance between going on instinct and in-depth business planning. There are many simple and powerful strategic and environmental analysis tools available, use them! But avoid analysis paralysis or else you will end up in the most useless place.
“The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come,”
The “waiting place” can be the death of businesses big and small. Waiting, whether for profits to continue, competitors to react or the next big thing, can turn a market leader into a distant follower. Always be moving, focus on the present but keep tomorrow in mind.
Marketing theory emphasises the “4 Ps”: Product, Price, Promotion and Place. Being a successful entrepreneur requires just 2 Ps: People and Passion. With the right people and passion an average idea can be turned into a successful business and a good idea into a great business. However, without passion or the right people even the best idea can come to nothing. But just remember…
“Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So… get on your way”
For more of Jonathan’s random ramblings follow him on Twitter @jonathanroomer