Getting caught in a traffic jam can sometimes be stressful or boring. When the flow seems slow-moving, how do you keep yourself amused on the road? Take a good look at your surroundings to get an idea or two. Better yet, read those bumper stickers that can sometimes be funny or inspiring. People often put them out for others to know who they are or what they believe or represent. As an entrepreneur, what do you want to convey to others behind you, who are on the way to their entrepreneurial journey?
Here are some lines that you can stick on your vehicle bumper and inspire those who are at the crossroads of their lives. These are tips gathered from EO Melbourne members we have interviewed. Budding entrepreneurs or those who are contemplating to start a business can learn a thing or two from the following passages. Those who are ahead can pass it on to others. Nevertheless, it’s a good cue for anyone who is on the business path.
1.) Fuel your drive. Go passion forward.
Passion. It is a powerful word that we get to hear a lot from business owners. Passion is the fire in the belly that makes them go through obstacles and stumbling blocks just to do what they desire the most. Passion is the fuel that gets an entrepreneur moving, even when things don’t seem to work out well for them. In fact, one learning they kept on repeating is “do what you love and love what you do”.
If you are still at the beginning of your journey, load up with lots of passion. That will provide you with the needed boost to propel you forward. If you’re somewhere in the middle or farther on your journey, passion is what will give you the energy to recharge and face insurmountable challenges and disappointments. Also, passion can be contagious, but it can die down if you don’t nurture it. Hence, hold on to it while you can, and generously share it with others.
2.) Plan ahead. Chart your route.
There are stories wherein a business took form under unexpected circumstances. Sometimes, opportunities come, and the best thing to do is to grab them before they drive away. So, you often start without a clear picture of what’s ahead. On the other hand, there are entrepreneurial journeys that are premeditated. Careful thinking and preparation are done right at the beginning. You know perfectly well what you want and where to go before embarking on a business adventure. Either way, whichever point you are in your entrepreneurial track, planning is a vital component that allows a business to stay afloat, to grow more and to achieve big goals.
Goal-setting and planning are pertinent lessons that EO Melbourne members have picked from their learning events. True enough, it is crucial to know the route towards your destination. Do research. Gather data. Come up with a checklist. Map out how you will arrive at your goal. It’s a good feeling when you know exactly where you are heading and how to bring your business to that point. Planning can even help you accelerate things to get there faster. That will also prepare you for the twists and turns that you may encounter along the way.
3.) Take courage. Face your fears.
Some entrepreneurs admit that there were things that scared them when they started their businesses. There may be a few who were more daring as they began at a young age because they had little or nothing to lose. But as they mature, certain things begin to worry them. For instance, cash flow, debts, problem employees, and the changing business landscape can keep them up all night.
Courage is one characteristic that makes entrepreneurs stand out above the rest. They face their fears and take risks because they want to carve their respective paths. Even when the ride ahead seems tumultuous, they continue to move forward with the determination to arrive at their next stop. Don’t be afraid to fail. Be disruptive. Innovate and challenge yourself. In the end, what you do will make a difference in your life, in others, and in society.
4.) Stay in the positive lane. Wear a smile.
The entrepreneurial journey is like a roller-coaster ride. It’s not a straight path. It goes through peaks and troughs, potholes, and sharp curves. There will always be situations and instances that can dishearten a business owner, especially with all the effort they pour into their ventures. Amidst all the disappointments, positivity is a quality that can make the experience more colourful and less dreary. To do this, focus on what you’re good at, as well as pleasant things around you. If there are bumps and problems in the path, be solution-driven. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Follow that light instead of staying in the dark.
Another thing that entrepreneurs picked from EO is to be grateful for all the things they experience, good or bad. There are countless reasons to thank for every day. Even dreadful and difficult situations can mould you to become better and stronger. Take a moment to think of those things and be thankful for what they have brought to you and made you become. And smile often.
5.) Never give up. Drive on.
For others, it may sound like a cliché. But for entrepreneurs, it is a grain of wisdom that they need to consume every day. Persistence, perseverance, relentlessness, determination, patience, tenacity, endurance, and the list goes on. All these words are summed up in one mantra: “Don’t give up”.
Having your own business is often akin to going into battle. You battle it out with the business landscape, with your competitors, with people around you, and, most of all, with yourself. In business, there are those who quit after the first year of operation. Some ventures don’t fly in the initial stages. But those that survive and last long are those that persist. Success does not happen overnight. There may be traffic jams, but keep driving, and you will eventually get to your destination.
6.) Work hard. Make it happen.
Victories and achievements don’t just come knocking. It takes a lot of hard work to earn them. Business owners become successful because they spend sleepless nights to make the best, do the best and be the best in their spot under the sun. It is a reality that sacrifices have to be made for them to thrive in their ventures. The entrepreneurial trail is no easy voyage. They reap bountiful harvest because they sow the right seeds and cultivate them diligently.
There are no shortcuts to triumphs. You have to labour for it and invest in it – physically, financially, emotionally and mentally. Luck plays a small part in the equation. The huge chunk of it is in the hard work that you put into your business. You’ll never get to the peak unless you do the climb. And it takes more effort to go uphill than to go downwards.
7.) Find your tribe. Be a trailblazer.
Surround yourself with the right people, whether inside the business or outside of it. Join groups like EO Melbourne that can further help develop yourself. Having good companions will make your entrepreneurial journey more exciting and worthwhile.
One of the humps that business owners encounter in their ride is hiring the wrong people and not firing them too fast. Choose people that fit your organisational needs – skills, behaviour, attitude, passion – you name it. Once you have formed an impressive team, nurture it. Remember that as the business owner, you are also the leader. You are the trailblazer. Carve the culture you want to cultivate. Align your team with your goals. Develop your people. You hold the steering wheel in your hands, and you control the pedal with your foot. It is up to you to speed up or slow down, to go straight or go backwards, to make a stop or take a turn. Just make sure that your team is with you towards your journey’s final stop.
8.) Ask questions. You’ll get there faster.
To avoid getting lost, ask questions. That will take you faster to your destination. Sometimes, all it takes is one powerful question to generate the right answers, insights, and concepts that can help change the course of your journey for the better. Also, to ask is to acknowledge that you don’t have the monopoly of bright ideas. Humility is a good ingredient to becoming a good leader.
9.) Stop, look, and listen
Stop making noise. Look at your surroundings. Listen to others. Listening is one practice that many of our entrepreneurs mention time and time again. It is necessary for decision-making. Listening encourages openness. You also learn more when you hear the opinions of others. That is why we have two ears and just one mouth, with a huge brain in between.
Listen to your people. Listen to the market. Listen to your partners. Listen to your clients and customers. Listen to your loved ones. Listen to your body. By listening well, you know when to avoid danger or when to chase after an opportunity.
10.) Keep learning
Wherever you are in your entrepreneurial career, there is always room for improvement. You have to grow alongside your business. It is the natural way of things. Expand your knowledge, augment your skills, and enhance your capabilities. You can do this by attending as much learning events as you can, listening to experts, reading books, and exposing yourself to various situations that will stretch your entrepreneurial muscle.
Now, which bumper sticker will you put on your car window? Some of these might be reminders you need to repeat to yourself every now and then. Or, it could be that you have experienced them yourself that you want others to learn from them. So, what else can stall you? Start that entrepreneurial engine, get it going and rev off towards your end goal.