“How Can I Succeed in Business?”
This is according to Alan Sugar the eternal question when asked “What Makes an Entrepreneur” and he has quite a rant in his latest book – The Way I See It – as most people just want to know what to do.
He is also often asked to define what an entrepreneur is and he believes like us that in fact an entrepreneurial spirit lies buried in the subconscious of many people and it takes day to day opportunities and experience in business for it to flourish.
Our thanks to Alan Sugar for the key points we are going to share here.
We know from our experience that we didn’t wake up one day and become entrepreneurs. In fact we both had very ordinary career choices and jobs but opportunities arose for us during our lives to have our own businesses and when the time was right for us the opportunity to start an online business presented itself.
One of the other lessons you learn when running your own business is that sometimes you get taken advantage of or get ‘diddled out’ of a deal or arrangement. That again is a good lesson to learn although it can be a costly lesson. We can tell you for experience that we have been taken advantage of so don’t think you are immune because you are successful. Almost everyone at some time will have this happen to them – honestly. It’s usually because you want something too much and just don’t see the wood for the trees.
Key Point #2 You need to learn to recognise the ‘dodgy’ people out there who don’t have the same principles as you in life or in business.
Alan Sugar tells a great story in his book about selling from a market stall and the key components to your success are how you set out your stall – your presentation of your products and your sales message. What extra value can you add. These are the same the world over – no matter what business you are in. It applies equally to working online as it does to selling from a market stall. If you’ve got something of perceived better value than your competitor you need to shout about it!
Key Point # 3 You have to master the art of presentation and salesmanship
There are many different ways to make money online and our advice is to work in an area that you are good at and have an interest in. If you love selling stuff then eBay may be just right for you. If however, like us you want to be able to help more people then find a business online in the coaching and training arena and build a business in that niche.
The same applies to some of the areas you will have to master in your business – like building websites, writing articles etc – it’s good to learn how to do them but if you really don’t like it then try and outsource it as quickly as possible.
Key Pont # 4 – Do what you are best at and have an interest in
One of the key areas that you must focus on in your business is productivity and goal setting and management of your time. Without this you will not achieve the success you deserve. Even we have to pull ourselves up from time to time and working from home can present the biggest distractions. Having a daily discipline will help you to overcome these. In fact we recently focused on this on our webshow
Key Point # 5 – You have to have some kind of daily discipline in your work life
Working online is a business – just because you are online does not exclude you from all the usual business stuff like keeping control of your costs, knowing where you are going and budgetting. This is the kind of thing that can really hijack your business especially when you are presented with so many temptations to buy products here and there at just a few dollars. We have a strict rule that we only buy something that we are going to use right now or tomorrow at the latest. This really is great advice!
Key Point # 6 Keep control of your costs and know exactly where you are going and how you are doing
As accountants, one of the other things that we would urge you to do is to set yourself targets. Running an online business is just like any other business and you should set yourself X number of sales you want to make, X number of advertisements you are going to place, X number of friends you are going to connect with on Facebook etc etc. Then you need to work out what you need to do to achieve those targets. We write these down on a white board in our office and have great satisfaction in ticking them off when they are done.
Key Point # 7 – Set Yourself Targets
The last tip that we will share with you (and one that Alan Sugar also makes as a key point) is that you have to be prepared to put in hard work and that even if things don’t go according to plan sometimes you have to keep going and not give up. So often we see someone battling through and getting over obstacles only to give up – often just before they would start to see success. From the perspective of running an online business this is definitely in our opinion a result of all the hype on the web about the ease or making money online at the push of a button – NO it is a business just like any other. You work hard and you get results and that’s the truth.
Key Point # 8 Be Prepared to put in a lot of hard work and show a dogged determination not to give up if things aren’t going well
In the words of Winston Churchill “Never Never Give Up”
Now we love reading and have been inspired by many people during our entrepreneurial life and have to say that we thoroughly enjoyed reading “The Way I See It” by Alan Sugar We always choose at least on autobiography to read when we are away.