Kevin Byrne, Managing Director of Checkatrade.com, lists the ten things every great entrepreneur should know.
1. You’ll only achieve what you expect
I believe that fear and low expectations can lead to underachievement. My question to entrepreneurs would be what is an average person’s expectation? More importantly what’s your expectation? If you control your expectations you can control the direction of your life.
2. Invest in people
This is one of the foundations of my company. I firmly believe that you can have a fantastic product but if you don’t have a strong team behind you, you’ll fail. On the other hand you could have a mediocre product with a great team and it will succeed. Now, imagine if you have an outstanding product and a committed team, the success is only down to one thing; how big you can think!
3. Begin with the end in mind
To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. We all have a loose feel for what we think is of value to us but loose in my experience is simply not going to make it happen for you. Our actions and our behaviours come directly from our thought processes and goals. The clearer your goals the more refined your actions and behaviours will be.
4. Seeds of honesty
Nothing extraordinary comes from anything except extraordinary effort. Whatever you plant in life you will reap back. List the qualities of the people you would most like to do business with and make sure you operate and display the same. Life is a reflection and so is business.
5. Creating value
Offer people the truth, politely, and allow them to purchase. If you haven’t got anything that’s worth purchasing and you can only “sell” then you’re in trouble. Our job is not to not to make a sale but to create value.
6. Manage your cash flow
When running a business, if your outgoings are bigger than your incoming this will be your down fall. Most companies I know seem to operate from month to month with little in reserve. Having no money reserves leads to sleepless nights and removes the advantages of being able to move quickly when those unexpected deals come along.
7. Getting paid on time
Stay on top of ensuring you are paid. A big tip: often in business it’s he who shouts loudest gets paid first, so don’t let it slip. Make invoices clear and easy to understand. Get a second contact in case the person making your payment is away. Invoice promptly and keep track of who has and hasn’t paid. Account for the fact that some payments will be late but follow up late payments immediately.
8. Build a culture not a company
Trust has the power to build and strengthen any relationship, yet it is scarcely spoken about in business management. When trust is absent, time to achieve anything increases and profits go down. When trust is in abundance, time taken to achieve goals is greatly shortened and profits soar.
Build those around you, build your and their expectations and trust them to do it – that’s my advice.
9. Empathise with your customers
Make sure you listen to customers, and respond to what they are saying. It’s very easy to deal with all your customers and potential customers in the same manner but constantly remind yourself that customers are individuals with specific needs and wants. The only way you’ll know what these are is if you can empathise with them, which means listening intently and responding accordingly.
10. Plan, plan, plan
I grew too quickly without having put any thought into how my invoices will be paid. Develop accurate business forecasts so you can plan expansion and identify possible challenges. Planning for growth will ensure that the growth of your business is successful and sustainable.