At Capital we focus on working with entrepreneurs in the creative sectors and over the years we have come across some key factors to success.
Allow me to begin with a quotation from Bo Birlingham’s book Finish Big…
“I don’t believe you are really an entrepreneur until you’ve exited, because you haven’t completed the cycle. You’re still standing on third base. It’s not about starting. Anyone can start a business. Until you’ve actually sold one, you haven’t touched all the bases.” John Warrillow, a Canadian entrepreneur.
So, you have started your own business. It can be a lonely experience, right? And nobody has published a fail-proof guide which leads to a multi-million-pound exit.
We have recognised a few consistent and repeatable patterns of behaviour, which if followed, may enhance the final outcomes. If your aim is to finish big, follow these eight-steps to help you and your business to thrive.
Here is the list.
You can’t build your business alone, so stop trying to do everything yourself and hire some great people. They don’t have to be employees on your payroll. You can outsource a huge amount of important work to specialists. Delegation gives you the most highly-valued natural resource – time. Time to think, plan and be creative.
It would be difficult to exaggerate the value of preparation. Spectators at sporting events say that their team had a great Plan A that wasn’t working, but they didn’t have a Plan B to fall back on, so they lost.
Life and reality don’t conform to ideal Plan A outcomes every time. Be nimble. Be slick. Plan for things to go wrong. Doing an important PowerPoint pitch to a significant new customer in their head office? Save it online and offline and print off several high-quality paper copies.
Don’t become a busy fool by spending time and effort ‘planning to prepare or preparing to plan’. Get on with it. If your product is 80% plus good enough, ship it. You can use the feedback from customers to make version 2.0 even better.
Where hesitation will hurt your business is not paying your suppliers on time (bad reputation from the outset) or you delay important but difficult decisions. If things are important, set yourself a deadline and don’t go home until it’s done.
So, who holds you accountable for creating the valuable new enterprise? And don’t think it’s going to be you, because you will, without doubt, let yourself off the hook every time.
You need an external partner to help you. A mentor and coach who knows their stuff and gets things done. Somebody you rate and value with a proven record of success in their field.
What you need is somebody to be candid with you and tell the truth and who holds you to account. Worth their weight in gold.
Let me tell you right away, you will make mistakes. Lots of them. Some small, a few that may be huge. They happen for a reason. Learn from every single one of them. Google for “the entrepreneurs who went bankrupt but started again and are household names”. Most people have failed sometime. You are no exception.
Bounce back, don’t blame others, learn your lesson, accept your duty, make changes, start again.
Prophets of doom – avoid at all cost
Let’s face it, not everyone wants you to succeed. They get jealous and resentful. These negative people always have ten reasons why your venture will fail for every positive reason you share with them. A big, wet, grey blanket of gloom. Set yourself free, leave them behind, move on. Negativity, gloom, pessimism and anxiety all suck the light out of the room and you don’t need them.
Things will go wrong, Plan B will fail, the cables don’t fit and three suppliers on the trot don’t like your product. Suck it up and stay positive. This baby is your invention and you will see it through. Anyone working with you or for you wants your leadership qualities to shine through. Optimism is infectious.
If you want to be a winner, you need to perform. Be fit, healthy and active. On point and on the go always. You can’t build a great business based on hopes and dreams alone without breaking a sweat or putting in the hours. Expect to work long after your team have gone home. In the long run, it’s what you do that counts.
We wish you every success and hope that you, one day, will be able to say, “I did it, I sold my business, I’m a real entrepreneur.”
At Capital, we believe that creative entrepreneurs are the engines of growth. If you would like guidance on heading for your own business exit and discovering how much you need from your sale to live your desired lifestyle, visit Contact us.