There are no easy shortcuts to successful, sustainable entrepreneurship: being your own boss takes lots of time. Most of all, it takes work, work and more work. Those unwilling to embrace this truth usually end up doing entrepreneurship the hardest and most costly way possible—by trial and error—and become unhappy and frustrated, if not bankrupt. If you’re even thinking about starting your own business some day—or even if you’re an established entrepreneur who started on the path to business ownership without a road map—do yourself a favor and read Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months: A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works by Melinda F. Emerson (Adams Business; $14.95). (Click to read my full review of the book.) As founder and CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, a marketing video production company, Emerson provides a month-by-month road map, with critical checkpoints along the way, for anyone who is truly committed to their entrepreneurial journey.
—Alfred A. Edmond Jr.
I once heard a man say, “You are one idea away from accomplishing anything you want.” This is true. Entrepreneurs are visionaries. They see the big picture. They are leaders and innovators.
Sometimes, though, their visions are too broad and grandiose. They want a billion-dollar company like Google; a million-dollar business is not enough. Confidence in your ability and your product or service is essential, but the business vision must be realistic. You need to define that vision by your core services or products, your unique value proposition, the year-to-year revenue growth, and ultimately, how big you want the company to become. Your business vision is the articulation of the future of your company.
VISUALIZING YOUR BUSINESS
Let’s start by defining a small business. The Small Business Administration has established two widely used criteria:
- For most manufacturing and mining industries, the company can have a maximum of 500 employees
- For most non-manufacturing industries, average annual receipts should not exceed $7 million
Go to www.sba.gov for more info about these standards.
Remember that you’re starting a small business, in line with these standards. Don’t let your vision run away with you. There will be plenty of opportunity for growth. While self-confidence is essential, you must be careful not to give the appearance of overconfidence.
If you’re successful, you will attract mentors by being approachable and responsive. Some mentors will be clients; others will be angel investors or retired executives who may see something in you they want to nurture.
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