Still on the issue of EXECUTION 2015 and our goal of making this year work for you and your business, permit me to go further.
In my first unusual article on EXECUTION 2015, I pointed out the two kinds of execution that exists; Energy-Driven Execution and Strategy-Driven Execution. In the second installment of this series, I went a great deal to explain and analyze these two kinds of execution.
This is my third piece, and I am going to talk about a very key component that is not often mentioned when talking about personal, business or any other form of positive change in life. That very important component is YOU!
EXECUTION and YOU
Last two weeks, I got a call from a prospective client; the last time we spoke was in March 2013. She is the manager of a software developing company that produces financial management software for Microfinance banks in Nigeria.
In 2013, her boss, the owner of the company had given her a goal to increase the revenue of the company even if it meant diversifying their core business. In her own words;
“Tito, we need your help, things really have to change this year. We can no longer continue like this!”
So I asked for a meeting with her boss, to really evaluate their desire for a change, if things were really that bad and if they were really hurting well enough to want change.
We met, and he simply made an analogy that summarized his perception of the state of the business. He said;
“A company ought to be making at least 3 times in revenue the amount it spends paying salaries. And for some years now, they haven’t been meeting up to that goal.”
So what was the cause of the problem I asked; they weren’t making enough sales and he wasn’t sure if there was still enough market out there for them to sell to. And because of this uncertainty, they were considering diversifying into any other market or business that can guarantee better revenue.
From my experiences as a business development consultant, what a client says is the cause of their problem is OFTEN always NOT the cause of their problem. 95% of the time, it’s only a symptom of the real problem.
So I had to probe further, to really get to the root of the matter and asked; “why are you not selling as much as you ought to?”
He replied; “the market is saturated with other competing alternatives and there’s not enough demand for our products.”
“So what are you doing about this?” I probed further.
“Nothing. Developing other software or even upgrading the current ones we have is going to take some time and financial investment, and I am not certain that it will sell in the market when released. So I feel it’s just better we diversify into another market.”
Sensing what the real cause of the problem was, I asked the question I had already known was the root cause of the problem, but only delayed asking for re-affirmation sake. “What’s your current marketing strategy?” or “How do you currently make sales?”
“I worked in the banking industry before setting out on my own and I still have some contacts in that industry who sends me leads that I follow up on.”
“Oh! So you sell through your personal network?” I re-emphasized.
“Yes! And we have a few sales people who go out from time to time, but not really very effective. Most deals come from my network.”
“Alright, I will do some more digging with your manager and come up with a proposal that will help turnaround things for the company.” I concluded with him.
One and the half week later, I was done with my findings and sent him my proposal. That was March 2013, and this is February 2015, and only two weeks ago did I hear from them again after sending in my proposal.
And guess what?
It was a cry for help again!
The DREAMER and EXECUTION
I am very familiar with this process; after all, this is my 9th year in the business of consulting. I cannot begin to run through the number of people who come to me crying for help, but goes numb when presented with the blueprint for making change happen.
So when their call came again this year, I was not as patient or lenient as I was 2 years ago in 2013 when it was their first time cry for help. I told her point blank, that they weren’t ready for change but only dreamed of change and I wasn’t prepared to waste my time again!
She pleaded for me to hear her out first before crucifying them, and I did, only to further confirm my initial conclusion. The company still had the same number of employees, the same number of software products, less clients and the boss was still slugging it out through his contacts keeping afloat with whatever deal they can squeeze out for him.
These deals, even though they were outside the core business of the company, further justified his decision to diversify. After all, they were the source of revenue still keeping the company alive!
Things were still practically the same as two years before. They still didn’t have a working marketing strategy or system in place. They wanted to sell more without going through the necessary but disciplined processes of innovation, product development and marketing.
So how are things supposed to improve?
The dreamer wants change at the expense of execution.
The dreamer cries for help at the expense of execution.
The dreamer wants things to work, without ever wanting to work things out.
Here’s my candid advice to the dreamer, it will ONLY work, if you WORK IT!
The DOER and EXECUTION
Between where you are today, and where you aspire to be tomorrow, there’s a very big gap. The only thing separating you and this big gap is nothing else BUT you!
Clamouring for change, will NOT change anything.
Confessing change through the power of positive thinking and the law of attraction will NOT make change happen.
There’s only ONE command change submits to, EXECUTION.
And as I am sure you have already learnt from our discussions so far, not just any kind of execution, but strategy-driven execution.
The difference between the dreamer and the doer when it comes to execution is this; the dreamer WAITS for change, while the doer PURSUES change.
Wait is a passive verb.
Pursue is an active verb.
The doer seeks out information for change and applies it. But they don’t just stop there, they go further, they seek out guidance to help them maximize their results when applying the information for change.
There will always be a thousand and one things out there that you cannot guarantee will work, so lashing out on your own applying the several information you come across is so NOT smart. That again, is the definition of energy-driven execution, aka ‘trial and error’.
Your best bet is seeking out for what works and there’s only one way of knowing what works without incurring the huge expenses associated with trial and error; learning from those with results.
Results are the proof of what works. Nothing more, nothing else.
Doers seek out people who demonstrate what works through their results and they commit to learning from them as much as they can. Doers realize that to execute successfully, will require a certain level of mastery and such level of mastery cannot come from just acquiring information, but from INSIGHT.
Strategy-Driven Execution is INSIGHT-POWERED Action
There’s so much acquiring information can do, at the very most, it lets you know the things you might NOT be doing that you need to be doing. Meaning, information opens our eyes to greater possibilities far beyond our current realities.
When you are informed, you will begin to see things a lot more differently. You might even go as far as doing things differently. But that’s about how far you can go with information. Being informed doesn’t guarantee that you will achieve the results you seek.
To go further, to gain mastery over certain skills, activities, and processes, which will enable you to greatly maximize your results, you will need more than information, what you need is INSIGHT.
The difference between insight and information is CLARITY.
CLARITY is the knowing that comes from experience. And such can only come from INSIGHT.
This is why we all need guidance from time to time. This is the role mentoring and coaching plays in the process of creating positive change either in life or in business.
This is what it means to be strategic in your execution, because you have access to some certain level of insights that powers your actions.
Without these insights, your actions would be no different from other people who equally have access to the same information as you. But for the insights that are powering your own actions, your execution would be no different from others with the same level of information.
If not, here’s the whole crux of the matter, YOU are the sole determinant of the extent of progress you make in life and in your business. To really deliver the change you so desire, you will require some level of mastery over certain skills, activities and processes that can only be acquired through mentoring or coaching.
Like I said last week, when I announced the EXECUTION 2015 program – a 1 year one-on-one coaching program for entrepreneurs who mean business this year. I can write all I want here, going further and further explaining to you how to execute better this year. But nothing much will change, at the very most, you’ll end up acquiring more information about the topic.
But to really get the INSIGHT you will need to scale your results this year through strategic execution, will require a deeper and closer look into your business which is absolutely impossible for me to do through a billion and one unusual articles!
So, here I am again, inviting only 20 unusual entrepreneurs who mean business this year to take this year long journey with me as we strategically power their businesses to the next level. Here’s a sneak peep into the business design framework we will be working with throughout the course of the program, click here.
Very limited spots available, click here to register and make payment with the information you receive next.
Here’s what you get from the EXECUTION 2015 Program;
- BUSINESS COACHING: 365 Days of unlimited one-on-one coaching with me, strategically guiding you through the necessary activities, and processes you need to take to achieve your business goals.
- BUSINESS TRAINING: 12 months of intensive business mastery training. We will be meeting once a month in a group to receive the necessary trainings that will equip you with the needed skills to execute on your goals. Without these necessary skills, it will be impossible to coach you.
- BUSSINESS SUPPORT: 365 Days unlimited access to me through emails, phone calls, whatsapp, BBM, Skype and even face-to-face. In other words, you are literally hiring me for one whole year to help you transform your business!
- BUSINESS MASTERMIND: this is the icing on the cake. Access to 20 other unusual entrepreneurs who are serious about growing their business this year, all learning together, brainstorming together and growing together. The synergy is immeasurable; the level of accountability and discipline amongst such a group is priceless.
All registration closes by the end of this month [February 2015], till next year before the doors will be opening again to enroll another set of 20 unusual entrepreneurs. So, here’s your chance to move beyond the dreaming phase and get serious with your life and business!
The EXECUTION 2015 coaching program is the only first of its kind all inclusive business growth program for entrepreneurs that is not only affordable, but also offers 4 very flexible discounted payment plans;
- Monthly Payment Plan = N10,000/month [12 Installments @N120,000]
- Quarterly Payment Plan = N25,000/3months [4 Installments @N100,000]
- Bi-Annual Payment Plan = N40,000/6months [2 Installments @N80,000]
- Annual Payment Plan = N60,000/12months [1 Installment]
Welcome to 2015, so glad you made it!
Breaking the silence
It’s been precisely 2 months ago you last heard from me, I wish it weren’t so. But couldn’t just help it.
I have been busy working on a very impact-driven project with my Vision Partners [team] to relaunch one of our failed projects since 2011.
Last week Tuesday we finally launched www.UniteNigeria.com and it’s been one heck of a crazy ride!
I just couldn’t help NOT thinking of you and feeling bad about the sudden silence. Wasn’t intentional. So pardon me!
It’s that time of the year again, when we are all presented with another opportunity to start afresh and make amends.
The simple fact of seeing another new year is not suddenly going to make things any different from the previous year. This is often the wrong perception people approach the new year with and also the origin of New Year resolutions.
You know all those ‘wishful thinking’ promises you tell yourself at the start of every New Year?
Regardless of how many resolutions are on your list, nothing new is going to happen if you still go about your business the same way you did last year.
That’s why I don’t do New Year resolutions and never allow the whole frenzy of a New Year get to me. In my view, it’s NOT the New Year that makes things better, it’s the new actions you take that counts.
So whether you decide to take these new actions in July, September, January or December doesn’t really matter. What counts is that you make up your mind to find out what things you need to begin to do differently and commit to doing them consistently.
If not, 2015 is going to be another 2014, except the difference in the last digit!
That’s the keyword I suggest you run with this new year.
I know this keyword might have appeared in a couple of your New Year resolution lists, the semantics could be a little bit different, such as;
- Take action
- Do more
- Finish more
- Work harder
Whatever you choose to call it doesn’t really count as much as just wanting to get things done, right?
So rather than focusing much on the semantics, let’s dig deeper into the process.
Two KINDS of Execution
There are two kinds of execution, and in my view, many entrepreneurs are not aware of this.
Here’s the question I often ask to help my clients see this different perspectives to execution;
“Why do two people who go into the same line of business, at the same time and in the same geographical environment achieve totally different results over a given period of time?”
I know you’ve probably thought of this at some point or the other in your entrepreneurial journey. The most common of all possible time when this thought crosses your mind is when you see a fellow competitor doing much better than you are.
It makes you stop to ponder, “What am I missing? After all we are both doing the same business.”
Well, here’s the truth; you might be in the same line of business BUT you definitely are NOT doing the same things.
In other words, there’s a difference in your execution.
The two kinds of execution are;
- Energy-driven Execution
- Strategy-driven Execution
So which one are you going to be using in 2015?
Let me know in your comments.
This is just the beginning of this series to help you kickstart your year 2015 on a winning note.
I had a live radio interview on Nigerian Info 99.3FM last Tuesday about developing a social media strategy for 2015, it was a blast and you can listen to the recording here
What does it really take to achieve entrepreneurial success?
From my experience as a business development consultant and entrepreneurial coach, I have seen two different schools of thought on this issue.
1. It Takes WILL To Succeed As An Entrepreneur
The first school of thought believes that entrepreneurial success is a matter of determination –WILL.
The underlying assumption is this; if you are determined to succeed, you will succeed. This underlying assumption is built around the belief that the sheer doggedness of an entrepreneur largely contributes to their entrepreneurial success.
To this school of thought, success is achieved so long as you don’t give up. Entrepreneurial success follows this pattern; the longer you work, the harder you work and the tighter you hold on to your entrepreneurial dreams, success will be yours eventually.
2. It Takes SKILLS To Succeed As An Entrepreneur
The second school of thought believes that entrepreneurial success is a matter of education –SKILL.
The underlying assumption is this; if you are committed to continuous learning, you will succeed. This underlying assumption is built around the belief that the extent to which an entrepreneur acquires relevant business skills, largely contributes to their entrepreneurial success.
To this school of thought, success is achieved so long as you keep improving your knowledge of business. Entrepreneurial success follows this pattern; the more you learn, the smarter you work and the clearer your entrepreneurial dreams become, then success will come!
Entrepreneurial Success: WILL or SKILL?
From my own story and from personal experiences; both the ‘will’ and the ‘skill’ matter when it comes to succeeding as an entrepreneur.
The will is what got you started on the entrepreneur’s journey in the first place. The will is the passion you carry that you want to translate into reality by building a business that matters. The greatest calamity that can befall any entrepreneur is thinking that passion and determination [will] alone is all you need to make your entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
Beyond passion, beyond determination is education [skill].
Your passion, your determination and motivation needs direction. And that’s where education comes in. No matter how passionate you are about your business, no matter how determined you are about success, nothing will happen until you begin to take informed actions.
And the only source of informed action is education.
Informed action is the difference between entrepreneurs who succeed and those who fail in business. Trying to pursue your entrepreneurial dreams with only passion, determination and motivation –WILL, is what I call; “doing business”–hustlepreneurship.
It’s very counterproductive. Why? Because it is a business powered by energy, rather than strategy. Your energy can only carry you so far, sooner or later; you will run out of energy. Then what happens?
Your energy [will] is limited. There’s only so much you can do alone. That’s why you need strategy, to make sure that your energy is properly dispensed to achieve optimum results. The more you align your energy [will] with strategy , the more entrepreneurial success you will achieve.
EXECUTE your WILL with a SKILL
The will to prepare is the greatest secret to entrepreneurial success. The difference between entrepreneurs who dream and entrepreneurs who achieve their dreams is this; the willingness to prepare.
Your willingness to prepare, to acquire the relevant education, training, or information required to achieve your entrepreneurial dreams; is the secret to entrepreneurial success. Your will [energy] needs to be executed with a skill [strategy].
Without the right skill [strategy] to execute your will [energy], your entrepreneurial success is a gamble. You will keep trying and failing. Eventually, out of frustration or old age, you will give up the hustle.
It’s no use beating around the bush and hoping that your energy will carry you through. That’s the definition of entrepreneurial foolishness. As an entrepreneur, you need to be strategic in ALL that you do regarding your business.
You have to be CLEAR about where you are GOING –vision, goal, or objective.
You have to be DELIBERATE about what you are DOING –execution, action or activities.
You have to be KNOWLEDGABLE about how to DO it –education, information or training.
Entrepreneurial success is a double-sided equation of both willingness and skillfulness. You cannot succeed with only one side of the equation. Your willingness [energy] is the fuel for the journey and your skillfulness [strategy] is the map for the journey.
Without fuel [willingness], you’ll be stuck half-way and without a map [skillfulness], you’ll end up lost. In other words, you need business skills as well as a personal will to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurial Success = Willingness [energy] + Skillfulness [strategy]
Business revolution is what unusual entrepreneurs start.
They don’t just Do business, they START a business revolution.
I have always strongly believed that there’s more to entrepreneurship than just business as usual. I believe entrepreneurship is a test of your life seeking expression through an idea.
The idea is one that possesses you to do something about a problem, a need or an opportunity. It draws upon your passion, life experience, skills, and talents all channeled into creating a SIGNIFICANT company –a business that is different [unique] and making a difference [useful].
This is essentially our gospel here at naijapreneur. We are about changing the world and profiting from purpose. So anytime I come across a resource [book, person, website, tool, product, etc.] that will equip you more on this unusual entrepreneurial journey, I’m always very excited to share it with you.
The Business Revolution Manifesto
His clarion call was bold;
“Don’t just build a business, start a revolution!”
The underlying question that prompted the business revolution manifesto was equally bold;
“What if instead of fighting to build a traditional career, business or brand, you could tap the power of movements and revolutions to launch and build a fast-paced engine of growth and impact?”
The answer is what you’ll discover in this 66-page business revolution manifesto titled; The Art of Revolution™, a riveting, information-packed manifesto that reveals the 18-step Framework for building a business that MATTERS!
The business revolution manifesto covers the following 18-step framework for starting a business revolution;
1). Revolution Avatar: Who is your Revolution Serving?
2). Identify Shared Pain
3). Who is your Dictator?
4). Who is your Leader?
5). Create An Inciting Incident
6). Identify your “Away From” Rally Cry
7). Identify Unifying Beliefs
8). Define your “Toward” Vision
9). Building your Resonant Story
10). Craft your Manifesto
11). Define the Path
12). Deepen the Tribe Mentality
13). Assemble your Torchbearers
14). Identify Key Resources and Allies
15). Swarm the Launch
16). Mechanisms and Milestones [Measurement]
17). Design your Contagion
18). Ultimate Structural Goal: Tipping Point
Grab your Copy Now, It’s FREE!
To download your own copy of the business revolution manifesto, click here. In it, you’ll get the full 18-element framework, along with insights and case-studies to help you apply the framework to build a business that MATTERS!
One last thing, don’t be selfish with this. Freely you were given, freely you should share with others who need it. Thanks!
The fact that you own 100% of your time is your greatest advantage as an entrepreneur.
While others have to give up their time in exchange for salary, entrepreneurs make use of their time to create products/services that makes them money. I’ve previously written about this; how entrepreneurs create wealth in their spare time.
For an employee, there’s a limit to their income potential because there’s a limit on their working hours. For an entrepreneur, you own and determine your working hours and also get to choose the activities to devote your time to.
However, knowing that you have this advantage is not going to automatically make you a successful entrepreneur. Having 100% ownership of your time is only the beginning, a greater part of success depends on how well you make use of this time and on what activities you engage in with this time freedom.
So what are those critical areas you absolutely need to be focusing the bulk of your time freedom on as an entrepreneur?
The Key To Unlocking The Entrepreneurial Advantage
I partially answered this question in a previous post about how entrepreneurs should be spending their time. I identified 5 highly effective activities that you can focus on as an entrepreneur; I referred to them as the 5Cs of time management for entrepreneurs.
So in a way, this is a follow up post to that article as I will be sharing 9 key drivers of business according to Jay Abraham that you need to devote your time on regularly.
But before we dive into these 9 key drivers of business, I want to quickly talk about the key to unlocking the entrepreneurial advantage in your business.
The key to unlocking the entrepreneurial advantage of time freedom is to focus it on building your business rather than doing business.
This distinction is very crucial and needs to be clarified, if you spend all of your time freedom doing business, you will eventually end up as a worn out self employee. Your business will further entrap you instead of freeing you. The bigger it grows, the tighter its grip on your time and eventually your life if you failed to focus on building rather than doing.
Here’s a previous post that sheds more light on the need to build rather than do business; the paradox of business. You should read it!
Jay Abraham’s 9 Drivers of Business for Unlocking The Entrepreneurial Advantage
There are obviously a million things you should be focusing on as an entrepreneur, but not all of them will give you high return on time invested. But the following 9 areas have been tested and have been found to generate the highest possible leverage for your business by one of the greatest business minds alive; Jay Abraham.
While these 9 drivers of business may not be foreign concepts to you, the underlying mindset here is to spend your time freedom on continually improving and fine tuning them. The keyword is improvement. This is essentially the crucial difference between building a business and just doing business.
This is your number one priority as an entrepreneur because until you can consistently find, attract, convert and retain a profitable customer, you are not yet in business. You knew that already right?
But here’s the winning difference according to Jay Abraham;
“…if you can get people who were selling 1 out of 7 prospects to sell 1 out of 3. The sales leverage available to you is profound. If you can get sales letters that were pulling 0.5% to pull 4%…if you can people who were buying $250 to now buy $400…if you can get people who were buying once a year to buy once a quarter or once a month…if you can get people who weren’t referring anyone to you to start referring five new customers each a year…the combined effect of that kind of marketing leverage is exponential growth.
That’s exactly how you increase your business, your revenue, your sales, your profits, your wealth, and your net worth by factors of ten times or more. That really is.”
But how do you improve on your marketing to unlock this unfair advantage in your business?
Again, according to Jay Abraham, the answer is pretty simple;
“First thing you do is you do an internal marketing audit and inventory. You identify all the marketing activities, processes, and elements going on and then you start looking at the best performing ways to improve upon it. How do you find them?
There are three approaches:
- Look within your organization and see who else does what you want to do better. Model, codify and replicate the highest performing people in your company doing various selling or marketing processes. And get everyone else in the organization to start applying it or adding its best elements to their previous method.
- Go outside your company. Look at other enterprises in the same field outside your market (or even in your market) that have better ways of marketing, of selling, of lead generating, of conversion, of re-selling and of up-selling¾and borrow their success processes.
- Go outside your industry, to related industries, and look at their best practices. Look at the spectrum of opportunities out there that other people have found, uncovered, discovered, refined and are using each and every day with massive success¾to either identify prospects, sell direct, run ads that pull great response, make better sales presentations, get appointments, or attract people to trade shows.
Then borrow, adapt, adopt, and directly funnel and apply those processes and approaches to your business and start doing this exercise as a regular on-going process in which you measure, monitor, analyze, quantify and figure out how many different things you can add to your current success approach by either adding new additional elements or replacing the underperforming ones that are not justifying their time, their effort, their opportunity cost or their existence.”
Marketing without strategy, according to small business guru, John Jantsch of Duct Tape marketing, is the noise before failure.
Here’s how Jay Abraham defined it;
“Strategy is the master purpose your business is all about. It’s different than your business model. Strategy is literally the explanation of the entire operating approach your business is following and why and how every element of it integrates, advances and deploys the big picture outcome that you’re after.”
But how do you improve on your strategy to unlock this unfair advantage in your business?
Jay Abraham identified 3 key steps you need to take;
“1.) The first thing is by understanding that you do have strategy you are currently following even if it’s a reactive one. You’ve got to adopt, first and foremost, a proactive long-term strategy.
2.) You’ve got to figure out what it is you’re trying to do, accomplish, build and sustain with your business.
3.) You’ve got to figure what big operating approach will get you the greatest outcome you want in the fastest period of time on the most sustaining and enduring basis. Once you figure that out then you’ve got to think through your tactics.
These are the actions or vehicles that help deliver the strategic result you’re after. What actions, what activities, what concepts, what approaches will deploy your “big picture” strategy best. Meaning what are the best moves and maneuvers to achieve the big outcome you are after.”
For more tips on strategic marketing, read this unusual article; The Idiot’s Guide To Strategic Marketing.
I’m sure the first thing that came into your mind as soon as you saw capital was money, right? Well you are half right, but that’s not the only capital we are referring to here.
According to Jay Abraham; capital also includes your human capital, your intellectual capital, and yes, your financial capital.
- Human Capital:
These are basically the people working for you. If you can get everybody performing higher you’ve got incredible leverage. How do you do it?
Every dollar you spend in training will produce 20-200 times return annually in yield. So, do you train your people? If so how often or frequently?
- Intellectual Capital:
This is one of the hardest things for any competition to copy in business. It refers to the sum of all the knowledge, skill, talent and experiences of all the people in your company. So what do you all have between your ears?
- Financial Capital:
Are you questioning the yield you’re getting on the money you’re spending¾on the people you’re paying (both staff or contract services), on your marketing expenditures, inventory and technical services? It all ties in.
It’s your responsibility to question the capital expenditures you’re making and the ROI (Return on Investment), the ROE (Return on Effort), the ROP (Return on People), the ROA (Return on Activity), and the ROO (Return on Opportunity).
4). Business model
The business model is different from strategy. It’s basically the means you’re using to affect or achieve your strategy. It’s different than tactics. The model is the whole integrated approach.
The business model you follow can make all the difference in your profitability and there’s enormous leverage here because you can change one element and it could change everything.
Here’s an example by Jay Abraham;
“Let’s say that your business, basically, is a one-shot business. And your business model is you advertise or direct mail market to get leads. You convert them to a one-time sale. You do nothing else with them after they buy or even if they didn’t buy and that’s your business model.
Well, if you added one more dimension to it, after the people that didn’t buy from you and you figured out how to do something else with them for other products and services that are complementary to the need they came to you originally to help them solve or fill. And for the people that do buy, you figure out how to sell them other people’s products or services afterwards. You’ve just added two new dimensions, elements, or layers to your business model and that simple shift in thinking could triple or quadruple your profit.”
As an entrepreneur, time spent developing your professional network is a huge opportunity for potential growth.
According to Jay Abraham, these are the different sources of relationships available to entrepreneurs;
- Business Relationships: people you met during the course of doing business; clients, suppliers, employees, partners, etc.
- Professional Relationships: people in the same field as yourself; colleagues,
- Collegial Relationships: people you attended school with; course mates, school mates, etc.
- Mastermind Relationships: brilliant minds, mentors, business coaches, fellow entrepreneurs, you brainstorm together.
So what do you do with these relationships?
Jay Abraham says;
“If I were you and I had relationships in any kind of other business in any field of endeavor, I’d tap into it regularly. Anybody who, knowingly or otherwise, could be a vessel for you to gain greater expanded understanding or hone in on better performing approaches, strategies, etc., I would first and foremost start picking their minds.
I’d ask them questions. I’d tell them your problems. I’d tell them your goals. I’d ask them questions of whatever their area of skill was, what the highest performing thing they did to accept or solve the issue or objective you’re intent in learning about, what was the secret to be successful at it, what they saw, find out what their company or their employer or their industry did best that you don’t do well and learn how to improve from the discussion.
I’d ask them a myriad of questions that would expand my knowledge base proficiency and perspective. I’d write them down. I would record them. I’d add it all to my current operating system. I would keep borrowing the success processes I learned from these activities, from all kinds of different people I know, and apply them to my business opportunities or challenges.”
6). Distribution channels
These are the various means through which your products/services get into the hands of your target customers.
According to Jay Abraham;
“You have a number of unrecognized distribution channels you don’t fully maximize and there’s enormous leverage in them. For example, let’s say that you distribute your product through five hundred retailers. Well, that is a distribution outlet for all kinds of other products.”
By spending more time to maximize the value of your distribution channels, you open up your business for more growth. For example, if you are a retailer with a physical outlet and you decide to take your business online through eCommerce, your capacity to sell to more customers will be significantly maximized.
There are basically two ways of leveraging your distribution channels;
- Increase your distribution channels: this is quite obvious, just like the example above. If you have only one distribution channel, adding more will increase your company’s capacity to grow.
- Offer more products through your existing distribution channels: this is less obvious, and if well executed can increase your company’s growth potential with less investment on your part. Here’s a fantastic case study from Jay Abraham;
“We had a company that had two products in the athletic clothing field. They were doing about $2 million and making half a million in profit. They came to me because their products were starting to slow down. They wanted me to give them a breakthrough idea. I looked at their business and I saw that their real assets weren’t their two products. They had accounts with 5,000 retailers. Amongst them all were Nordstrom’s, K-Mart, Target, JC Penney and Parkway and Hosiery.
I showed them that all they had to do was secure the rights to other people’s athletic products then give those people a royalty for their clothes design, start having those products manufactured for my client, put their licensed products through the same distribution pipeline and they’d make ten times as much selling these other products through their distribution channel as they did from their main products. They did it and I was right. They made a fortune.”
7). Products and services
How many other places could you take your existing product, service or combinations or variations of them and apply it to other fields or other regions or buying groups. Or could you license other people to use it?
Could you package it in different ways sizes or combinations? Could you package other people’s things with it? Could you package your products or processes and make that a product or service? How many new products or services could you come out with that are your natural extensions, embellishments, top of the line premium versions, higher performing versions, or stripped down white label versions? Just by adding one or two or five different components you can create an entire new product and penetrate new market niches.
Every business mechanism can be broken down into its driving processes and sub processes. Once you figure out what the processes driving an activity are, they can be measured, they can be quantified, and they can be vastly improved.
When you figure out how your given processes currently perform, (which is nothing more than a function of analysis, monitoring and measurement), you can then find other people in your organization or other people in your industry or other people doing the same function outside the industry who are doing it much better, faster, easier, safer, more productive, more effective, more profitably. Then simply adopt it to your business.
If you’re very introspective and you’re anti-social, you’re not going to be able to go and build mastermind groups and pick people’s minds and borrow success processes. If your ideology is: You only like what you like; you’re not going to be able to travel outside your comfort zone and study other people, other business philosophies, other mindsets, other ideologies.
You’ve got to figure out what your ideology is, what your belief system is, what your whole value system is and how it either helps or hampers your current business activities. Then it needs to either be strengthened and fortified and connected to and or replaced, based on your current business model and your strategy.
You also need to study other people’s ideology to compare how yours is better, different or worse and what elements of other’s you can borrow and add and what elements of yours you could teach to others. When you do that, you’re going to expand your capability and your sense of what’s possible.
The entrepreneurial advantage is time freedom and the key to unlocking it is focusing on building rather than doing business. We’ve identified 9 key drivers of business according to Jay Abraham that can help you fully maximize the entrepreneurial advantage of time freedom at your disposal.
The nine drivers discussed above are excerpts from Jay Abraham’s ebook, you can download the full version here.
Can Everyone Become An Entrepreneur?
To effectively answer this question, we’ve got to go back to the very beginning; what is entrepreneurship? We need to understand the very meaning of the word –entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is derived from the French word ‘Entrepreneur’, dating as far back as 1723. It means an individual who undertakes, organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business with considerable initiative and risk.
In other words, entrepreneurship is simply the practice of being an entrepreneur – a person who takes the initiative and risk to start a new business venture.
Since this is so, then the next logical question should be this; is everyone capable of taking the initiative and risk to start a new business venture?
The keyword here is capable.
That is, do we all as humans possess the capabilities to become an entrepreneur?
The answer as you will soon find out is YES!
But don’t just take my word for it, let’s dig in deeper to unveil this mystery. To do that, we will be looking at the 3 major paths research has revealed people take to become an entrepreneur.
How To Become An Entrepreneur
According to Bill Aulet, the professor of entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the Author of Disciplined Entrepreneurship; there are primarily 3 ways of starting a new business venture.
Meaning, there are basically 3 ways of becoming an entrepreneur;
You have a breakthrough technology
You have an idea
You have a passion
You Have A Breakthrough Technology
This is perhaps the most celebrated form of becoming an entrepreneur. Names of great inventors such as; Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of facebook, Elon Musk of Tesla, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and of course the legendary Steve Jobs all come to mind.
These are extraordinary people whose inventions have moved the world forward. They have literally changed the way the world works through their breakthrough technologies. Entrepreneurs in this category are the exceptionally gifted minds.
When people think of the word entrepreneurship, they are the very first kinds who come to mind, naturally. Permit me to say this; they are the standard when it comes to entrepreneurship. Their breakthrough inventions are not response to existing market needs. Rather, they just create new needs and new markets that absolutely never existed.
Their ability to invent breakthrough technologies often leaves the rest of us to wonder if we could ever become an entrepreneur. The impact they make in the world as a result of their breakthrough technologies, make the rest of us seem like we are just playing.
We cannot help it but to wonder if we could ever accomplish such feats in our life time. I don’t know about you, but I certainly ask myself this. I mean, this people are simply out of this world, they literally invent the future!
You Have an Idea
Closely following the people who become an entrepreneur by creating new business ventures from their breakthrough technologies are those with great business ideas.
They don’t invent any breakthrough technology, they simply think up breakthrough ideas that completely change the way a product or service or industry works. These breakthrough ideas are then translated into new business ventures.
As a matter of fact, their ideas are usually a radical improvement or alteration of an already existing business model. They literally turn the old on its head and come up with unusual ways of solving the same problem faster, better or cheaper than all the existing players in the market.
Their genius lies in thinking up new ways of combining different processes or approaches of solving a particular problem or creating a particular product or delivering a particular service.
Popular examples include; DELL, Fedex, eBay, Wal-Mart, McDonalds, CNN, SouthWest Airlines, Starbucks, Amazon, Spanx, etc.
These are the kind of ideas you call the million dollar idea. They are not your everyday ideas. They are not seen by the average Joes. They come only to those whose minds have been prepared for it!
You Have a Passion
The last, but certainly not the least way of becoming an entrepreneur and starting your own business venture is by having a passion.
Of all 3 ways of becoming an entrepreneur, this is perhaps the easiest entry level for everyone. Anyone willing to take the initiative and risk entrepreneurship requires will do just fine with this 3rd option. This is the kind of entrepreneurship for the rest of us!
When compared to the other two options, it is far less intimidating to become an entrepreneur by starting a new business venture around your passion.
The first requires a great level of creative genius in a particular field.
The second requires a great level of insight and opportunity.
But starting a business around your passion doesn’t require any rare gift besides the ones you’ve already been given from birth. You don’t need to be a creative genius to have a passion. You don’t need insight and opportunity to have passion.
All you need to have passion is to be alive.
All living souls have passion. It is there whether you choose to admit it or not.
People who become an entrepreneur by starting a business around their passion are seemingly ordinary people who do what they do extra-ordinarily well.
The secret lies in their decision to do something significant with whatever they are passionate about. They simply take what they have been given from birth and consciously make up their minds to do something meaningful with it. They build businesses that matter!
It’s not so much about the invention, technology or idea, but fundamentally about their passion to solve a particular problem. Their secret is their passion to make a difference in a particular field, industry or society. They are driven by change and their passion is their only weapon for creating that change.
Think about successful entrepreneurs like; Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Tommy Hilfiger, Mohammad Yunus, Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, Rupert Murdoch, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Clark, etc.
They are not exceptionally gifted than the rest of us, they are just ordinary people who love what they do and do what they love extra-ordinarily well. They are simply using their God-given talents to create multi-million dollar businesses.
They are the entrepreneurs who want to make a difference using their passion to create unusual products/services for solving humanity’s problems. They don’t wait until they create a breakthrough technology, in fact, in most cases they can’t. Neither do they wait to strike a breakthrough business idea, in fact, in most cases, they don’t.
I belong to this category of entrepreneurs. For me, entrepreneurship is all about changing the world and profiting from purpose/passion. I created this site, naijapreneur to help as many out there who also belong to this category to discover entrepreneurship for the rest of us.
As you might have now realized, there isn’t anyone who can’t become an entrepreneur. The problem in most cases is trying to become a different kind of entrepreneur following a path you weren’t created to function.
Finding your own category of entrepreneurship is crucial to your entrepreneurial journey. You shouldn’t force your way into a category you don’t have what it takes to function, rather, flourish in your category.
Nevertheless, there’s no law that restricts you to any one of these 3 ways of becoming an entrepreneur. I wrote this unusual article to point out that there are other approaches to becoming an entrepreneur than you might be aware of.
What’s most important is that you know which one of them you started or is starting your entrepreneurial journey on. And make sure you enjoy the ride; after all, no one forced it on you!