This article was originally posted on garywhitehill.com
Entrepreneurship is different from most other career paths for one major reason. Change happens and fast! Of course you probably think you are adaptable but to truly succeed as an entrepreneur you will need to be even faster. Here are the reasons why, as well as a few tips on how to make it a little easier.
Opportunity Knocks When You Least Expect It
Most of the conventional wisdom about entrepreneurship would have you believe that entrepreneurs should plan, plot their progress, and plan some more. Planning is great, but sometimes, things will come at you out of left field, and you have to be ready to recognize the opportunity, and make the most of it, almost immediately.
For all the careful planning entrepreneurs do, ask anyone who has enjoyed success (from small business owner to VC-backed company), and they’re likely to tell you that there was a definite turning point. A suggestion, request, or contract that came along, that presented an opportunity that they just couldn’t refuse. It was probably unexpected, and might even have been something entirely new. Learning to seize those opportunities is what makes all the difference.
Good Sales People Are Fast on Their Feet
Maybe no one told you this yet, but when you get started in entrepreneurship, you also begin a career in sales. Except when you are an entrepreneur, you’re not hoping to make your sales target so that you can make a good commission; you’re selling so that your business will succeed.
Good salespeople think on their feet. If they notice a client pulling away from the product or service they’re pushing, they mentally change gears, and offer a different option. They keep that up until they find the item that the client is most interested in buying, and then they close the deal.
As a business owner and entrepreneur, you will need to be able to do exactly the same thing. With clients, suppliers, financiers and everyone else you meet. You’ll have to adjust your pitch almost instantaneously until you find the one that they want to hear. That takes some mighty fancy mental footwork.
What You Do Now Affects Your Entrepreneurial Future
There are many people out there who would like to make entrepreneurship their livelihood, but don’t have any big ideas. Some are stuck in jobs they can’t leave, and they think that being an entrepreneur is something other people do. Not so.
Even if you don’t have any ideas of your own, or you can’t afford to leave your job and dive right into entrepreneurship, there are business ideas you can use.
Take franchises for example. When new franchises become available, they’re often a lot cheaper than they will be five or ten years down the line. If you want to become an entrepreneur, then learning to choose a great franchise opportunity can be as important as coming up with a fantastic new idea of your own. Then again, you could take an old idea, and put your own spin on it.
The light bulb moment for most people comes when they realize that there’s plenty of money out there in the world. All entrepreneurship really is, is finding a way to get it from out there, into your pocket. Making split second decisions, and following your gut, is one way to make sure that happens.
How to Take Advantage of Opportunity
It’s all very well saying that you need to learn to pivot on a dime, and take advantage of opportunity, but it’s a lot harder to put into practice. Here are a few tips you can use to learn to recognize opportunity, and capitalize on it:
- Good entrepreneurs are tuned into opportunities. They listen to everything people say, even in passing. That way, they’re always ready to take advantage.
- If they have an idea, but they lack the business resources to pull it off, they figure out how to go about it. Great entrepreneurs never waste an idea – they work on it until they can take action.
- Just because you’re sure that your business idea is the answer to a specific problem; don’t discount other uses for it. Many great inventions were intended for something completely different to the use they eventually became famous for.
- Never pass up an opportunity. Whether its new franchises, or a business partnership offer, consider everything carefully. You never know when your big break will arrive.
So, if you’re dreaming of entrepreneurial success, start by learning to change course as new opportunities arise. Remember, business is fluid. Nothing is written in stone. Don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it!
As a successful, under-30 serial entrepreneur, Gary’s game-changing endeavors have been featured on television and in magazines and newspapers across the nation. Gary is a member of the AOL Small Business Board of Directors and the founder of New York Entrepreneur Week (NYEW), The Relentless Foundation and Whitehill International, each of which reflect his entrepreneurial drive and relentless energy. Visit his website and follow him on twitter.
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