Trusting The Entrepreneurial Process
The Process Myth
When you hear about "the process" in sports or elsewhere, it often comes from authority figures with an extended and proven pedigree and string of successes. Does this mean as a new business owner you cannot follow a set of common processes yourself? The reasonable answer is absolutely not as learning from the failure and/or success of others can save you as the entrepreneur considerable time, energy and money. Let's discuss seven items that you could combine with your existing processes. Note I refrain from giving concrete solutions because every business is different based on location, industry, competition, amount of resources and product line uniqueness (an example is the ios operating system).
Trust The Process
“It is more important to go slow and gain the lessons you need along the journey then to rush the process and arrive at your destination empty.”
― Germany Kent
7 Common Themes of Good Entrepreneurial Processes
From previous experience of managing startups and trying to run my firm, 7 common themes I have come across that are successful in starting, growing and maintaining an entrepreneurial firm:
1. Picking Appropriate Niche- Something you often hear in doctoral studies is "do not write your dissertation about something like solving world hunger". Not that world hunger is not important or does not have steps towards being better than it is now, however; the subject is far too complex to solve with one particular solution. This is very similar to business when selecting your target market and product mix. Selecting the right niche to target saves considerable time, energy and resources (all of which have a finite supply, especially for most entrepreneurs).
2. Watching Your Expenses- This might seem obvious, however; it is far more common than one thinks where entrepreneurs are not aware of cash flow within the business. This can range from hiring employees and then have them immediately work a ton of overtime to get the venture launched (that adds up quickly) or not watching expenses when you take prospective clients out for sales engagement meetings. Dollars coming in faster than dollars going out is essential to entrepreneurial venture survival.
3. Delegating- As an entrepreneur, you are one person with only so much time, cognitive resources and energy to devote to your venture. The careful delegation of tasks to appropriate personnel can save you money when done correctly as doing something critical for the business incorrectly can cost you a significant amount of money later on (Legal Structure of Business, Creation of Marketing Materials, Not Having the Right IT Structure, etc.).
4. Having the Correct Pricing- Under or Over Valuation of your product can cost you significant amounts of money in either direction. When you price your product, you must factor in the following four components: Labor, Cost of Raw Materials, Cost of Production and Cost of Delivery to Final End User. Do not expect others to place a value on your time, skill set or product: You as the entrepreneur must do that and be rather accurate when doing so.
5. Marketing To Your Niche of Customers- You identified your niche in step 1, and now you must reach them with your product. Targeting women aged 35 to 50 when your product is designed for men aged 26 to 40 is costly and can come across as sloppy. Something I learned the hard way is the following: You must reach your customer where they are at by going to them. Customers will not seek out great products as they are presented with them.
6. Involving Professional Expertise- When structuring your company or preparing your accounting statements, please utilize professionals (I pled with you to do so). Three things in business can be counted as close to being certain: Not doing your taxes correctly comes with penalties, Not having enough cash to sustain operations will result in your business closing, and Not having the right business structure can lead to your taxes being substantially different depending on your state or country of incorporation. Expert advice is more affordable than in previous years to take advantage of these key areas.
7. Having Clear Mission, Vision and Values- Entrepreneurial firms who can immediately identify themselves, the company, what the company stands for, what direction it is going, and what the core values are easier to describe to potential customers, investors and regulators. Being able to define yourself succinctly and clearly is critical in an ever evolving marketpalce that has more product offerings than ever before.
Bringing It All Together
Hopefully, you have derived something of use from this article. While being an entrepreneur is extremely challenging, having your own "process" unique to you and your particular business could lead you to profitability and sustainability.
© 2018 Matthew Kolakowski