How to BE in Business?
Necessity is the mother of invention. And invention doesn’t happen overnight but needs to be worked upon – and in stages through trial and error. When you read about Albert Einstein or Elon Musk, you realise these businesses haven’t just sprung out of nothing but are evolved versions of basic concepts that didn’t exist in the marketplace.
In this article, I would like to share some insights and suggestions on how to learn from change through smarter thinking, better collaboration, and always be curious to find easier ways to let your customers do business with you. Most importantly, Believe in Yourself and Be You.
What I say and believe in is this? Be Right. Be Wrong. Be Very Wrong. But Be Decisive as indecision is multiple times worse than making a bad call and losing money or time from it. Indecisive people burn opportunities, burn people and burn productivity so please don’t be one of those.
Be Willing to Invest
There will always be people wanting everything for nothing but this advice is not for them. Such entrepreneurs will come and go, and possibly take down with them a lot of people’s money, time and resources as they’re not willing to invest in what they believe in, and never sure of investing in anything. They’re always looking for free advice, and that’s the worst thing about free advice – it’s worth nothing.
Smart business owners are always willing to listen to every opportunity presented to them and then based on their judgement, timing and priorities, decide on what’s worth following, and what’s worth dropping. When the opportunity sounds good, take the risk and invest into that idea / concept / people. You may lose some money but even if 1 or 2 ideas worth investing pay off, it’s a pretty sweet deal.
Always be on the lookout for the expert who you can rely on, for timely advice, but also good service when needed. Starting with a good accountant, a business lawyer and a financial expert. These people will help you set up your business on the safest path against taxation, accounting, legal and financial challenges that you will eventually face as you navigate the business through the waters of change.
Work with others, and refer business to them through people you know. Make sure they are of merit and will be able to do a good job. You will lose credibility very quickly if you push duds to your business network, and you will gain solid value if you really connect people to the right opportunities.
Generosity is not a trait found in most business people, but can be found commonly in business leaders. These individuals are setting new pathways and from their own struggles have learnt to be generous and forgiving to the many mistakes one makes – be it with their suppliers, staff or even clients.
Learning to give first is a very good policy in business – be it charity, donations to a local community project or even business development advice to an upcoming entrepreneur or associate. People will appreciate it and will help you build your own goodwill in the market. It’s also the best feeling in the world when you can help someone who needs it most, without expecting anything in return.
Profit is simply the return or reward against a calculated risk. The higher the risk, the probability of the profit is higher (unless you’re really stupid to understand the risks associated with that opportunity).
Many business owners I meet and have met through my multiple sales roles in the past, see everything as COST. Whilst that is good to be realistic and always spend within budget, sometimes it’s best to throw caution to the wind and take some risks.
Many of the biggest businesses today have taken substantial risks which paid off, resulting in amazing growth and revenue. Risk-savvy is better than risk-averse if you know how to manage it, and that’s where experts come in, who will guide you and show you the smartest way to maximise returns with least risk. You will lose more in the long run by saying no to most opportunities than saying yes to some challenging ones, once in a while.
A good insurance broker will work with your accountant and banker to set up a package ideal for your business. If you’re not insured in business, then you’re setting yourself up for a massive failure when something goes wrong and it could end up costing millions.
Being creative doesn’t mean you need to be seeing rainbows and unicorns and come up with the best idea ever, but it means you’re willing to try new things and go with the flow sometimes.
Creativity is highly underrated when it comes to business but possibly can yield the highest returns if done well. Try to find new markets which didn’t exist, or work with totally parallel businesses in finding ways to collaborate and win business together, or going to that quirky exhibition and showcasing your products. You never know what might happen, and as long it’s safe and practical, don’t think too much of it.
Care for the world you live in, the communities you engage with, the people who work for you, the clients you have and develop your business through, and the family and friends in your personal support group.
Be caring of the environment so as not to damage it for profits, but finding solutions that reduce waste, save energy and contribute towards a cleaner planet. Be caring of the opportunities and leads given to you, by following up with the people within a respectable time and delivering on your promises .
Be caring of your reputation and your own personal brand as you can lose all the credibility you have gained through a single mistake. It’s not just about profits, but about relationships. Put that little bit extra of yourself in every job you take, every meeting you have and every person you meet – it’s truly world changing.
Some of the best opportunities in my business have come from thinking outside the box, in places where there’s a gap with little or no competition. Maybe it will take a bit longer to convert, but in the long run, it will pay itself many times over.
Go and read the BLUE OCEAN STRATEGY and it will make sense. It’s basically learning to fish in clear blue oceans where there’s no one else fishing. It allows you to build your brand, position yourself as a leader, and create new opportunities.
Having a strategist or business coach onboard in your business is a massive advantage – where they can help you plan your vision and you can build on it. It’s like having an icebreaker ship in front of you looking out for the icebergs and clearing everything so you move forward slowly instead of stopping or even worse, sinking.
At the end of it all, it all comes down to you. How mentally strong you are, how focused you are on your path to success, and how driven you are when adversities come knocking. The good days in business are few and far in between, but the good businesses shift their attention to working towards solving problems for their clients, finding ways to wow their audience through their product or service, and by learning to work with others, keeping ego aside, towards a common shared goal of profit with purpose.
Don’t let anyone tell you how it needs to be done. Everyone can share some nuggets of advice but you have to go down that road. So invest smartly, listen attentively and grow organically.
Wishing all the new and old entrepreneurs out there the best, and hope you found this helpful – would love your feedback on this article, and any suggestions to improve and highly appreciated. I run two clothing businesses offering made-to-measure clothing (Men & Women) for corporates, business professionals and men and women for all occasions. You can view them here – Azrim and Mirza.Heath.