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Have you ever thought of what it takes to become an entrepreneur? Together with Kemal Sucu, Ashton’s International Business graduate, we highlight the mindset that a business owner should have in order to be successful.
Owning and managing a business requires hard work. Many different factors can affect your business development, but one thing is clear: owning a business is much more complex than it seems. Working long hours, travelling, sitting through stressful meetings, and dealing with multiple issues: strict regulations, legal matters, long distances, customer pressures… These are just some of the factors make your working life much more difficult.
I am not telling you all of this to scare you; but I do believe you need to be in the right mindset to become an entrepreneur – and, more importantly, to be successful in your endeavours. The key is to be prepared for difficulties and face them head-on. Remember: success starts with the attitude.
I am a firm believer that profitable business comes from a trustable relationship with customers and colleagues. These relationships support the business and help the entrepreneur grow. In fact, without such relationships, a business would not be able to sustain itself for a long time.
You should be spending most of your planning and strategies focusing on your customers and their needs. If you are not doing it, you won’t make much progress in the long run.
Time is the most valuable commodity for each human being. We cannot make more time, nor can we return the time that we lost. This is why spending your time on the right tasks is essential, especially when you are leading a company.
I understood this mindset when I first started working as an international coordinator. At the time, I was spending an hour on each international shipment, using templates in Excel. There was no centralized way to fill out export documents: everyone was using their own homemade forms in excel. So I knew I had to find a faster, simpler and more accurate way to create export documents by eliminating the need to re-type information available in our system. As a solution, I worked closely with other departments to create a data exchange manager module to pull order information from our system. With this integrated system, I cut the completion time of export documents by 57 percent, from one hour to 20 minutes per shipment.
This is just one example of how to start looking for ways to be more efficient with your time. This brings me to my next point.
We already established that to own a business you need to work hard. However, hard work can only get you this far. The real secret to making progress is hidden in two important areas of any business: innovation and creativity.
Businesses that do not innovate eventually fade away. Take the recent example with SEARS: the company wasn’t able to innovate, didn’t take advantage of the online shopping trend – and was not able to sustain itself. It seems that in the modern economy, you either innovate or die. For that reason, I always require innovation and creativity from my team in their projects.
As a business owner, your primary focus should be on innovation and creativity: how to better create, produce or present your products, services or your brand to your clients and customers. This is the most valuable and profitable way to spend your time.
If you are the owner, you are the leader. What you do and how you present yourself is a reflection of your brand, and it will be picked up by your partners, your employees and your team. This is why it is important to set the bar high – and to track yourself against your standards. Here is an example of creative evaluation criteria:
By setting the standard high and following through, you will be able to achieve greatness, both in business and in life.
Written by Kemal Sucu
A pragmatic, smart, and strategic International business strategist and new market researcher, Kemal has good insights into international trade and is full of great marketing ideas. Kemal possesses the real life experience, academic capability and the necessary personal skills to help SMEs build up import-export strategies, enter new markets and expand their business activities in more foreign markets.