Before I proceed, I want to state categorically that there is no definite strategy or success formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur and the reason is because the entrepreneurial path of entrepreneurs is different. However, after understudying the lives of successful entrepreneurs; I have been able to pin point four keys to becoming a successful entrepreneur.
To be a successful business owner and investor, you have to be emotionally neutral to winning and losing. Winning and losing are just part of the game.” – Rich Dad
Now how does one become a successful entrepreneur? Just as I said above, there’s no definite formula to becoming a successful business owner. Instead, all we have are laid down rules and guidance from successful entrepreneurs that have trodden the entrepreneurial path.
I wanted to be an editor or journalist. I wasn’t really interested in becoming an entrepreneur, but I soon found I had to become an entrepreneur in order to keep my magazine going.” – Richard Branson
1. Learn how to find opportunities that others miss
“A good businessman must have nose for business the same way a journalist has nose for news. Once your eyes, ears, nose, heart and brain are trained on business, you sniff business opportunities everywhere. In places where people see a lot of obstacles, I see a lot of opportunities. At times, there is something instinctive in me that tell me a business opportunity exist even at a place where others see nothing. That is what makes me different, maybe unique. A good businessman sees where others don’t see. What I see, you may not see. You cannot see because that is the secret of the business… the entire world is a big market waiting for anybody who knows the rules of the game.” – Orji Uzor Kalu
The first key to becoming a successful business owner is finding the right opportunity; an opportunity that others fail to see. I use the word “learn” because entrepreneurship is a learning process; you must keep learning from the day you start a business till the day you quit the game.
“One of the great things about being willing to try new things and make mistakes is that making mistakes keeps you humble. People who are humble learn more than people who are arrogant.” – Rich Dad
“One of the most stupid things to do is to pretend you are smart. When you pretend to be smart, you are at the height of stupidity.” – Rich Dad
2. Learn how to raise money
“Capital can do nothing without brains to direct it.” – J. Ogden Armour
The second key to becoming a successful entrepreneur is to learn how to raise capital. I have said and written it countless times that one of the fundamental function of an entrepreneur is to raise capital; by any legal means necessary.
“Business? It’s quite simple. It is other people’s money.” – Alexander Dumas the Younger
If you don’t know how to raise capital; forget about becoming an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you must learn to raise capital internally; as well as externally. Cash flow is the life blood of a business and it’s your job to make sure that cash continuously flow into your business. Show me a successful entrepreneur and I will show you an individual that knows the intricacies of raising capital.
“There is one paradoxical characteristic every entrepreneur must possess to succeed. An entrepreneur must be able to persuade his debtors to pay their debts promptly and at the same, must tactically delay payments to his creditors.” – Ajaero Tony Martins
3. Learn how to organize smart people
“The ability to deal with people is as purchasable as a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other thing under the sun.” – John D. Rockefeller
The third key to becoming a successful entrepreneur is the ability to organize smart people and put them in strategic positions within the business. Business is a team sport; a game that requires a synergy of business skills; and an entrepreneur with the best team will always win. To become a successful entrepreneur, you need to find your own best team; you need to assemble a strong business team.
“Successful businessmen share the ability to hire people smarter than they are.” – Dillard Munford
Organizing and directing smart people can only be possible if you possess good leadership skills and your ability to create a synergy between groups of smart people is what makes you a successful entrepreneur. Smart people in this case include professionals, business advisors, mentors and business coaches.
“A business idea is just another idea. But an idea backed by a strong feasibility, a thorough business plan and a smart team is no longer an idea. It’s now a solid business opportunity worth pursuing.” – Ajaero Tony Martins
4. Learn how to manage risk
“You must take risks, both with your own money or with borrowed money. Risk taking is essential to business growth.” – J. Paul Getty
So you want to become a successful entrepreneur? If your answer to this question is yes; then what is your risk bearing capacity? Are you prepared to take calculated risk? Risk avoidance is the major reason most people do not become entrepreneurs; the ability to take calculated risk is also the reason Bill Gates became the richest man in the world; it’s the reason Mark Zuckerberg became the youngest billionaire in the world and Aliko Dangote, the richest black man in the world.
Without risk, forget about starting a business or becoming an entrepreneur. Becoming a successful entrepreneur depends on your ability to increase your risk bearing capacity. What’s the difference between Larry Ellison and the smart self employed programmer next door? The answer is simple. They are both entrepreneurs but they are operating at different risk level.
“In today’s rapidly changing world, the people who are not taking risk are the risk takers.” – Robert Kiyosaki
So if you are going to start a business from scratch and become a successful entrepreneur; then you must expand your risk bearing capacity. You must stretch beyond your comfort zone because only then can you achieve success in business.
“Seek advice on risk from the wealthy who still take risks, not friends who dare nothing more than a football bet.” – J. Paul Getty
As a final note, these are the four fundamental keys to becoming a successful entrepreneur. Act on them and I will see you at the top.