In his well-known inspirational TED talk, renowned marketing consultant and published author Simon Sinek spoke about the reversal of the conventional entrepreneurial process, “start with why”. In the talk, Sinek postulates that any budding entrepreneur should look at their business model not from the traditional perspective of ‘what’ product or service they offer; but to start by asking themselves ‘why’ they do what they do. As an entrepreneur, communicating to the world ‘why’ you do what you do (A.K.A. your mission statement) should be the foundation of your entire business model, because in placing the focus here, the products or services that any business or organization goes on to create will create a desirable brand that will sell itself towards likeminded individuals, and then eventually take off in the mainstream.
Think Like a Standout Entrepreneur, Then Succeed Like One
Sinek uses tech giant Apple as one such example of an organization that approached the launch of its business in this inverted way, and of course, any budding entrepreneur will agree that there are fewer greater underdog success stories than theirs. But for those of us who want to run our own business empire, what are the main lessons to be learned for standing out in the business world?
If you wouldn’t buy the thing that you’re selling, neither will anyone else. Your self-belief is the single-most fundamental part of any entrepreneurial venture, from the perspective of both stakeholders and clients. As the captain of your own ship, it’s up to you to have complete confidence that you know what direction the business is going in and what it takes to see it through. While not all of us are born extroverts- certainly, many of the founders of some of the world’s greatest and most powerful companies are self-professed ‘geeks’ who wouldn’t exactly describe themselves as radiating with outstanding social skills – this doesn’t mean you can’t be confident in your own abilities. If being a natural influencer or guiding others is something you struggle with, check out our guide to becoming an effective leader.
Being an entrepreneur is not a ‘job’; it’s a way of life. To truly find success, you need to accept that the entrepreneurial road leads to a 24/7 commitment, and everything in your world revolves around your brand and business. One of the easiest ways to harness this is to dress for success. Many businesspeople adopt the attitude of making a show of their financial success… something which gives them an outward appearance of accomplishment and an inward feeling of confidence. A well-made pair of smart shoes, a professionally tailored suit and a luxury time piece are the classic hallmarks of a business professional. If you plan on investing in some quality wrist wear, kill two birds with one stone by opting for a more robust and functionally designed timepiece that can keep up with your hectic lifestyle without having to worry about damaging it. Luxury watchmakers Tag Heuer are one such major name in the military watch field with styles guaranteed to catch your associates’ eye.
Standing out in a marketplace full of competitors is critical to your business’ survival, but that doesn’t mean you can’t aspire to role models. Every successful businessperson has an inspiration, even if some of them –like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates- go on to become inspirers themselves. Whether the object of this admiration is another successful CEO, a parent or even a religious leader, what matters is having a positive role model that inspires you to lead your business in a particular style that resonates with your personal beliefs. If you’re ever stuck for ideas on how to approach a particular business situation, asking, “How would (my role model) approach this?” is never a bad idea to remind you by taking your hero or heroine as motivation, a strong entrepreneur can overcome any adversity.
Being approachable or pleasant in the way you do business doesn’t mean coming across as a pushover. When it comes to our business ethics and principles, it’s tempting to think that the only way to get ahead in business is to behave like a ruthless sociopath; certainly, Hollywood movies would have us believe this! Of course, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Any entrepreneur worth his or her salt will always remember the value of the old saying, “Be nice to everyone you meet on the way up, you just might see them again on the way down.” Networking is critical for the success of any solo businessperson, particularly because having professional connections opens doors and opportunities that you might not have been able to access on your own. Without helpful connections to lift you from one level of success to the next, a task can end up being ten times more work, so try to keep everyone you meet on side. Next time you have an issue or difference of opinion with a client or stakeholder- keep your cool to resolve the issue sensibly while taking the necessary steps to rectify the matter. Never stoop to the level of unprofessional behavior such as badmouthing or threats, as ultimately your brand is on the line… and an untarnished reputation is something that all the money in the world can’t replace.