There’s no single formula that suits every aspiring business owner, or every timeline, or every industry, or every goal. However, all of the most effective entrepreneurs have three common elements that run through their strategies.
I learned those three elements from my mentors (including Lord Sugar) and putting them into action led me to achieve success – having won The Apprentice at the age of 25, owning an a multi-million business at the age of 28, having published a #1 best-selling book also at 28 and having been listed by Forbes as one of their top 30 Under 30.
Is my particular path the only way to achieve success? Absolutely not! However, I would always suggest using proven strategies to put yourself on the right path to success – then studying, measuring and making adjustments along the way. In all cases, avoid wishing the path was easier, or that more opportunities were afforded to you.
Instead, work to become more relevant,credible, action-inducing and visible. Do it by putting these three principles to work right away, every day:
(1) Know your industry
This means understanding the market in which you’ll be competing, knowing who your ideal customer is and where to find them, perceiving what pricing structure will work to sell, and knowing which product or service will meet needs and fill gaps. Know your industry like you know your home. Learn to navigate it with your eyes closed, until its layout and structure are like second nature to you.
Only when you have a firm grasp on (and mastery over) your industry can you expect to move through it with ease, recognising trends and variances so you can react quickly and make reliable predictions. You can do this by surrounding yourself with industry professionals. Digest all the reputable content you can. Read, watch, listen and repeat.
(2) Understand your numbers
Know your PnL, cash flows, debtors, creditors, balances and study the books daily. Likewise, understand numbers within your industry. What’s the standard? What’s necessary to compete? How are you stacking up? Making money should not be your primary reason for being in business, however, if you’re not making money, you won’t be in business for long.
Every successful entrepreneur I know can spit out the important numbers – manufacturing costs, revenue, margins, projections – whenever they’re asked. Not only does this mean that they’re involved and well-informed about the state of their business, it shows potential investors they understand the importance of turning a profit.
The value of your network is your net worth. Surround yourself with motivated individuals who seem to be “out of your league,’ who share your values and who are on (or who have travelled) the same path as you. You will rise to meet their standards, improving every day. Take note of the leaders and change-makers in your industry and make their acquaintances.
Get in the ring with them, so you’ll have all the information and contacts you’ll need to stay on top of product innovation.
Every successful entrepreneur has a business strategy that he or she follows in times of abundance, and turns to in uncertain times. It keeps them focussed on their goals and motivated to push forward. Add these three principles to your business strategy in order to achieve success. Start today, and look out tomorrow!
Joseph Valente is founder of Impra Gas, as well as 2015’s The Apprentice winner
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