Finding your feet as an entrepreneur
The reality of business is that you have to make money. If you’re in it for giving back to the community, helping others or world peace, then you’re just not a business person. Making money is the first thing on every entrepreneur’s mind. What they do with it and where they spend it is up to the successful entrepreneur. But first, you have to generate revenue to be a successful entrepreneur.
Becoming an entrepreneur looks easy from the outside. I mean, how hard can it really be? At the end of the day, surely it just comes down to:
- have a good idea;
- people will want to buy it;
- make money and give back to the community!
There’s a difference between doing something, and doing it well
Becoming an entrepreneur is easy, becoming a successful entrepreneur is hard! Lots of people call themselves entrepreneurs; for instance, I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a child. From selling my old toys at age 5, organising a community cycle at 7, making bathroom soap holders from building site wood and beach shells at 12, distributing sport supplements at 19, experimenting with a multi-level marketing company at 21… and many other endeavours along the way. The only problem was that I wasn’t doing one crucial thing – making money! Yes, I paid for some trips to the cinema, funded a car and a holiday, but really they were all just steps on the journey. A journey that I’m still on – becoming the best entrepreneur I can be.
In business, as in life, we often talk about your ‘slice of the pie’ – It often relates to money and how much you’re getting in a deal. I want to show you what the P.I.E. represents for to me. Each aspect of the P.I.E. determines the success you have/will have (or in other words, your slice of the pie).
Do you care about the industry you are entering? Is it in an area you would spend your time in, even if you weren’t getting paid? Do you really love it?
Personally, I love sport. I train well and I want to run as fast as I possibly can. This passion gives me an understanding of the sporting world and I have set up a company that makes it easier and cheaper for sport enthusiasts to enjoy their sport and achieve their goals. There are a number of elements to this: corporate sponsorship, crowdfunding and community building. The aim is to make athletes at the top of their sports more attractive to sponsors.
Having a passion for what I do makes it easier to make things happen. Because I’m on a quest to create change that I believe in, it means that when it comes to putting in the extra hours, I get stuck in and get it over the line.
So now we know you care and you’re passionate about it. The next thing you must bring is the intensity. Imagine you’re playing a match; you go out on the pitch all guns blazing, full of enthusiasm and ready to win, but in the first minute you get winded and now you have two choices:
- Whimper away and let the game slip by.
- Suck it up and dig deep for the rest of the game – grind out a winning performance.
In business, this is the point at which you’ve had 10 rejections in a row, but you continue to pick up the phone and make calls. It’s easy to look at a person who has made it and think “Sure, they have that great client who brings in loads of sales for them.” Or, “They have it easy – their product/service sells itself.” The reality is that they have taken the hits, sucked it up and kept making the sales.
Paul Kenny sold cobone.com for an estimated $40 million and he made a great point. Once you have a customer, you have a business. It’s then your role to find more people like them who want to buy from you. To me this is the intensity. Keep doing the right things and you will get the breaks.
This is a vital part to any business. Are you the best at what you do? If you were in the buyer’s shoes, would you buy from you?
It’s your job to know your industry inside out. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends, evolve, pivot and be the best at what you do.
At an ITLG (Irish Technology Leaders Group) event in Limerick, John Hartnett made the point that Nokia used to have the mobile market, now Apple have it, but maybe Samsung could win it next? If you’re an expert in your field, you can compete and win, but if you become stale and allow others to catch you then you will lose the battle. And it is a battle. You must use your passion and intensity to make sure you become – and remain – an expert in your field.
So how much P.I.E. do you have and how much of the pie will that get you?