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Never surrender – from start-up to greatness

Mike Anderson (Founder & CEO of the NSBC) has spent many years researching and participating in the entrepreneurial journey and identified some key ingredients to becoming an entrepreneurial legend. Let’s look at these 12 key ingredients.

1. Believe in yourself

Richard Branson said, “Adopt the magic of tiny steps”.

When you go for your big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) set yourself smaller goals to get there. This will help you to build your confidence while you work to achieve your ultimate goal. You need to have total belief in who you are as a human being.

If you do suffer from low self-esteem, adopt the magic of tiny steps, and watch how your confidence grows through every achieved goal.

Another step to believing in yourself is defining what success means to you? We are often bombarded by the ideas of success through culture and media but what does it mean to you? What is important to you? Who do you believe you want to be? When you have clearly defined what success is to you then you will be able to work towards it.

It’s important to remember believing in yourself is a habit you need to develop. It is a journey, and you need to decide to go on this journey.

2. Do what you love and love what you do

While researching over 100 mega entrepreneurs in the world, one of the three common threads among these entrepreneurs is a passion and love for what they do.  You must follow your heart and intuition. Passion is the greatest ingredient to keep you going during trying times. If you don’t love what you do, you must change direction. You can never become who you want to be by doing what you hate.

Passion is the fuel to success. Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you love what you do? If you don’t then you need to consider how you can do what you love.

3. Focus on the who, not the how

As we start to take a hard look at ourselves, we also need to be honest about our strengths and our passions. When we have identified these then we can zero in on the type of business we should be in.

Now that you have identified the type of business and industry you want to work in, look for the mega entrepreneurs in those businesses and industries and see what they have done to achieve success in this field. You can then model this in your business and work towards reaching the success that others have had. You don’t have to re-invent the wheel.  Most successful entrepreneurs want you to enjoy the same success as they have.

4. Educate yourself, it will make you a fortune

Jim Rohm says, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

Formal education is a good base but never stop learning. By listening to podcasts, reading books, and consuming information any other way you like to, you can develop into the guru in your industry. To be a successful entrepreneur, you need to always be curious about your passions and interests so that if you see an opportunity, you can take it.  Don’t sit back and relax when you have got your degree or diploma but continue to build on your knowledge. Set time aside every day to continue investing in your knowledge bank.

5. Soar with the eagles that fly high

Surround yourself with positive and like-minded people. People who inspire you, who believe in you, and who don’t criticise everything you do. You are the sum of the five people you hang around the most with. Who are those people? Embrace them. Don’t associate yourself with negative people or people who are destructive. Time is your biggest asset, but it is limited. Don’t waste your time on people who are destructive on your journey to success.

6. Do things differently

In recent times, we have been forced to think quickly and adapt to the environment. In challenging times, instead of curling into a ball and waiting for it to blow over, we need to step up and exude positivity. We must do things differently. The great entrepreneurs challenge the status quo. Start walking on the wrong side of the road. Start swimming upstream. Now is the time to do things differently. If you are 100% happy in your life right now, then don’t change. But if not, then you need to change.

Identify what you are failing at and identify how you could be doing it differently. Adopt a mindset on doing things differently.

Here are five ways to do things differently:

  1. Wake up before 5 am. Many of the top 100 business leaders start their day by 5 am.
  2. Exercise. Not only is it good for you physically but mentally you will be able to think more clearly.
  3. Have a healthy breakfast and spend quality time with your family. You have got up early so you will have the time to engage with your family and strength the bonds.
  4. Focus on your short-, medium- and long-term goals.
  5. Plan your attack for the day.

If you do, this you will have the edge.

7. Look on the bright side

Positivity. Gratitude. What is the number one reason someone will do business with you? According to Harvard Review’s global survey, the number one reason someone does business with you is because they like you.  Are you a nice guy? Some people may consider this a funny question, but it is important. If you want to achieve success in your business, you need to be nice.  But how can we be nice?

  • Be positive: Positivity is one of the most important ingredients of success. By being positive, you will have gratitude and gratitude leads to happiness and happiness leads to success
  • Become more forgiving: Don’t be an angry person who doesn’t forgive anyone for whatever has happened to them.
  • Take responsibility for everything thrown at you: If you can’t get a bank loan, take responsibility. Check your credit score or analyse what you could have done better. 
  • Become more grateful: Every day find a reason to be grateful. Find a reason to thank someone.

8: Don’t overthink, take action

When asked why they haven’t started a business? Many people are waiting to perfect their business plan or to perfect their idea, but you need to stop overthinking because life will never be perfect.

Start taking action. When you have started, then you can start perfecting. With the feedback, the consequences, and the results, you will start to move towards perfection. Don’t spend the rest of your life overthinking something because then you will never act on it. If you want to do something, do it. Don’t worry about failure. Take the tiny step to start your business.

9. Be brutal on the money

 Does your income always arrive where you projected and do your expenses do the same? No. It’s often that your income is lower than what you projected, and your expenses are higher than projected. You have to be brutal on the money.

Get rid of non-essential spending. Get rid of debt and stockpile more cash where you can. This will help you to take action and opportunities when the conditions are right. Don’t buy things you don’t need because you will soon need to sell the things you need.

Know your numbers daily. How much is in the bank? Who owes you money? Who do you owe money to? What is your cash flow forecast for the next three to six months? By reviewing these questions daily, you will know exactly where you stand with your company. Respect the money.

10. Embrace failure, take risks and seize opportunities

Failure. Embrace it as a positive word. Many mega-entrepreneurs have failed at least once in their journey to success. If you start a business and don’t think you will hit a wall, then don’t start a business. But take the failure as an obstacle on route to great success. Learn from the failure and then the failure becomes meaningful. Failure is acceptable as long as we view it as a teachable moment in your journey to success.

We have got to take calculated and reasonable risks. Because if you don’t take a risk, you won’t get ahead. If you are not prepared to take a risk, you won’t get to where you want to be as an entrepreneur. Are you waiting for the conditions to be perfect or are you scared of failure?

Seize opportunities before the tipping point of success. That is the imperative angle towards taking risks.

11. Focus on what matters most. Say ‘no’ to almost everything

Warren Buffet spends a great deal of time on this. Focus on the important stuff, not the urgent stuff. Declutter your life. Concentrate on what is important to you and your business. Focus on your strengths and outsource your weaknesses. We have to say ’no” to almost everything and everybody. Stop meeting with people that you don’t need to meet with. Stop doing things you don’t need to do. Free your time to focus on what is important and who is important. Most highly successful entrepreneurs make this an imperative part of their top ten. Take a hard look at yourself in the mirror and ask what you are doing that is not important and who are you meeting that is not essential. When you have identified it then get rid of it.

12. Keep moving no matter how hard it gets

When we go down, we must be positive and resilient to come back up. When something is not working, don’t throw in the towel, rather change the direction. If you do go down, stand up again. Learn from why you went down. What happened to you? Take responsibility and move on. If you keep moving, you will arrive where you want to be. 

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