The Secret to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

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.

Entrepreneurship Takes Work

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.

Entrepreneurs Focus on Others

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.

Entrepreneurs Value Their Time

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.

Entrepreneurs Focus on Innovation and Productivity

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.

Entrepreneurs Set the Bar High

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:

  • Performance Quality: Every task you take should be done on time and with the highest quality level. Be diligent with project selection and deadlines, but make sure you keep your word when it comes to execution.
  • Positive Attitude: When you love what you do, you do it better and you enjoy it more. Keep a positive attitude, no matter what the task is, or how difficult it is – this way, your mind will be more likely to look for solutions and improvements.
  • Growth and Development: It is important to continuously strive towards becoming better: being a better leader, a better performer, a better organization. After all, if you don’t seek growth opportunities for yourself, how can you expect your organization to grow? Focus on self-improvement, keep your goals in front of you, and continue working on your skillset.
  • Ownership: Take ownership of the tasks you are assigned to, carry on through the challenges and be responsible for decisions you make. This is what it means to be the owner.

By setting the standard high and following through, you will be able to achieve greatness, both in business and in life.

 

Kemal S

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.

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