Telling the truth about SME life today

10 things every great entrepreneur should know

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1. How to recognise a great sales person if they hit you on the nose 

In most businesses there are certain key positions which, even if you do everything yourself to start with, very soon (if all goes to plan) youll need to find great people to fill. None is more important than the sales director as their ability and performance is completely critical to business success. Theyre often expensive people to hire too, so finding and choosing the right person might well be one of those make or break decisions in the evolution of your business.

2. How to recruit, motivate, lead and retain outstanding people

To maximise success you need to recruit highly talented people, and create the culture and environment where they can thrive, contribute to their maximum, and love working for you.

3. The importance of brand in creating clear blue water between your business and your competitors 

Identifying, articulating and effectively communicating your brand is a cornerstone of business success. It can be used to clearly differentiate your business from its competitors, to attract customers and to help build customer loyalty.

4. There is nothing more important in the world than your customers

Satisfy and exceed your customers expectations and you’re on track to success.  Make your business culture customer-centric. Know that happy customers will come back to you again and again, and unhappy customers will feed your competitors coffers instead.

5. The importance of listening 

Also-ran entrepreneurs are so full of themselves and their own perceived importance that they talk too much and forget to listen and learn. Great entrepreneurs spend time listening and absorbing what other people say, whether it be customers, employees, suppliers, or advisors, and use their judgement to decide what actions to take based on what theyve heard. People who dont listen dont learn anything new and usually dont succeed.

6. How to self-improve

Complacency is the enemy of success. If you think you’re good at everything you do, you’re deluded. Think about what youve done, what youve said, how youve done it, the impact it’s had, and work out how it can be better next time. Continuous self-improvement is a great method of personal development.

7. If in doubt, make a decision

What do great entrepreneurs do when faced with a decision and theyre not sure which option to choose Get on with it by picking one. The wrong decision would be to do nothing, and provided you monitor your progress towards your objective you can see whether or not the decision you made was the best one. You can then alter your path if necessary. When a leader doesnt make a decision thats when businesses stay the same and stagnate.

8. Focus on cash. 

Cashflow is the all-important measurement in business. Lack of cash is why businesses go bust, lots of cash means opportunities for expansion.

9. Temper imagination with realism 

Its great to have a romantic vision for your business, to imagine wildly where your business could be in three to five years time, but great entrepreneurs temper this with a touch of reality. Goals have got to be realistic and achievable, step by step. Top entrepreneurs are driven by achievement, so dont set yourself objectives you’re unlikely to achieve.

10. Its up to you 

The most significant factor affecting the success of your business is you. You are the most important and the most influential person at work. The power is in your hands so, if it goes wrong, dont blame anyone else.

Paul Wallace is a business growth mentor at WallaceBurch.

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