Entrepreneurs are individuals who've decided that driving their own ship is the best way to navigate the waters of personal and financial success. Social media marketing and the Internet have introduced a plethora of marketing opportunities and strategies. However successful entrepreneurs have characteristics and qualities that have nothing to do with the information highway and everything to do with how they approach business.
ONE - Plan for Success
Critical thinking and strong leadership skills are what drive entrepreneurs toward success. Successful leaders motivate and inspire. They are seen as intelligent, self-assured, extroverted and open-minded. They always start with a plan. It’s isn’t a loosely conceptual dream, but it’s a well-defined thought out aggressive business plan.
- Define your business
- Identify your industry and market
- Decide what makes you different or unique
- Define your competitive edge
The importance of capitalizing on the successful tools and ideas of others can’t be over emphasized. An excellent resource to help you develop as an entrepreneur and as a leader is getAbstract where you can get summaries of current books on business, leadership, creativity and other topics.
TWO - Define Your Product or Service
Innovative social media marketing tools are useless if your service or product offering hasn't been fully developed. You want to work out all the specifics and test market appropriately. Be positioned to present your product, whether it’s a planned presentation or a 60 second elevator opportunity.
Never be awkward when it comes to promoting or explaining what you do or sell. A moment’s hesitation can mean a lost opportunity. Only you know what you know, never assume that people know what you’re talking about. Explain, clarify, and get feedback.
THREE - Raise Capital
Cash flow is often a problem. The goal is to have a cash reserve or credit, but definitely have a plan in place for securing the funds you need to stay afloat. Raising capital for a business usually takes time. Be prepared to go through the process. Decide how much capital you need initially. This might mean securing investors, lines of credit from financial institutions or using your own funds.
FOUR - Secure the Necessary Professional Services
Most entrepreneurs start out wearing all the hats in their business. The problem with this is mistakes can cost you more money than hiring the right person for the task. For example, a small call center ran into huge employer tax problems with IRS. While the owners had monies for payroll, payroll taxes were always late. The notices rolled in and the owners lacked the skills and knowledge to address the problem in the early stages. The end result is that significant penalties and interest were assessed.
- A tax professional could have addressed these issues
- Operational expenditures were out of hand
- General bookkeeping services were needed on a part-time basis
- Owners were spending too much time handling clerical tasks
FIVE - Smart Marketing
Since you are probably on a limited budget take advantage of low cost or no cost social media marketing tools. Buffer is a quick way to send a marketing message, blog, or update to three social media platforms easily. You can update Linked In, Twitter and Facebook. It has some great features and is a user friendly app.
Design a great web page. Use WordPress.com to get your feet wet to start a free blog or a website. Network with other professionals in your industry, it’s a great way to find out about services or products you aren't aware of.
Volunteer to speak at events. This will help keep you in front of people. Meetup is an excellent way to find out what’s going on locally, and so are small community newspapers. If you are a company who market is primarily other business, then networking is even more important.