Nothing But Net

Fran Harris offers advice on winning the game of business

For Fran Harris, it’s all about positioning herself for the next opportunity. As a certified life coach, business consultant, and CEO of Fran Harris Enterprises, a multimedia development company based in Dallas, Harris is constantly developing her career and building upon her brand. Her book, Will the Real You Please Stand Up? 7 Spiritual Strategies to Help You Discover Your Purpose and Live it with Passion (Health Communications Inc.; $19.95), details key ways to walk your intended path-something Harris admits she needed to do. “It’s not just about talent,” says the 42-year- old former WNBA player. “It’s about vision.”
Before retiring from basketball in 1998, the Texas native had already started drawing up her next game plan. “[The key is to] never be satisfied, never be comfortable,” says Harris.

Harris’ top five tips for entrepreneurial success as well as the pitfalls to avoid:
DO
Build an empire, not a business. From stints as an announcer to launching a production company, Harris leveraged her WNBA connections and carved a space in multimedia.

Convert contacts into prospects. “It’s cool to have 1,000 people on your e-mail list,” says Harris. “But if you’re not marketing your products and services to them, you’re leaving money on the table.”

Network with master entrepreneurs. Transform your business into a million-dollar enterprise by finding a mentor willing to show you the ropes.

Revisit your business plan annually. “The marketplace is changing,” says Harris. “Your plan shouldn’t be a static document, but rather an ever-evolving business companion.”

DONN’T
Attend functions just to be seen. Instead, Harris says to set clear, measurable goals, such as meeting someone who may be a potential client or even business partner.

Spend money on ineffective marketing. If your current means of advertising is not bringing you any business, re-evaluate your methods. And do not be afraid to spend the money elsewhere.

Think small. “Think mega,” says Harris. “You must also take consistent, decisive action in the direction of your dreams.”

Try to be everything to everybody. It’s imperative to do what you do well, says Harris. Expand your business only to areas that you are committed to mastering.

Keep an eye on your spending. Save your company money and increase profitability by outsourcing services. There are other ways to save, too. “Cut the fat,” says Harris in reference to curtailing spending.

Work yourself to death. If set up properly, the business will thrive in your absence. Take time off to re-energize, which Harris understands can be hard. “I’m happy every day,” she says. “But I always have a sense that there’s something else to be done.”

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