Do You Have the Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs?

Do you know what it takes to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs?

Do You Have the Characteristics of Successful EntrepreneursAs Score Mentors we are often asked, “what does it take to be a successful entrepreneur”?

What is an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship is traditionally defined as the process of designing, launching and running a new business. It typically begins as a small business, such as a startup company, offering a product, process or service for sale or hire. The people who do so are called ‘entrepreneurs‘. They are generally identified as having the…

“…capacity and willingness to develop, organize, and manage a business venture usually with considerable initiative and risk in order to make a profit.”

Twentieth century economists such as Joseph Schumpeter define an entrepreneur as an individual willing and able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation.

Entrepreneurship employs what Schumpeter called “the gale of creative destruction” to replace in whole or in part, inferior offerings across markets and industries, simultaneously creating new products and new business models.

Entrepreneurs, therefore, are leaders willing to take risk and exercise initiative. They take advantage of market opportunities by planning, organizing, and deploying resources often by innovating to create new or improving existing products or services.

While entrepreneurship is often associated with new, small, for-profit start-ups, entrepreneurial behavior can be seen in new and established firms and in for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. These include voluntary sector groups, charitable organizations and government. For example, in the 2000s, the field of social entrepreneurship has been identified, in which entrepreneurs combine business activities with humanitarian, environmental or community goals. Entrepreneurship within an existing firm or large organization is referred to as intrapreneurship and may include corporate ventures where large entities “spin off” subsidiary organizations.

The most significant characteristic that differentiates entrepreneurs is that they are risk takers and they tolerate uncertainty. If that were all that is required for success, then it appears that you need nothing more than to be a gambler. Obviously, more is required.

While there is no simple answer, research indicates several characteristics in addition to tolerance for risk and uncertainty that are commonly found in the personalities of successful entrepreneurs.

Successful Entrepreneurs Have:

  • Self Motivation – have the ability to wake up in the morning and immediately start working. Entrepreneurs do not waste away the day doing things that have no benefit to their business. Bosses told you what needed to be done. Now as an entrepreneur, you must know what needs to be done and take action to get it done.
  • Self Confidence – be confident in yourself, your product and your business. You need to know that your product can truly help people and that you are charging prices that are both fair to you, and your clients.
  • Behave Ethically and Morally – decide what you stand for and how you will conduct your business on a daily basis. Know before you get tempted to cross some line that could jeopardize your business.
  • Manage Time – this goes hand-in-hand with Self Motivation. You need to schedule your day and stick to that schedule. Your time is valuable. Take time to educate yourself on ways to improve your business or products. [Related: Staying Productive]
  • Sales – every business needs to develop a way to handle sales. An entrepreneur’s job is to develop the types of sales that work best for your business Constant effort should be on improving your sales skills.
  • Understand Finance – this a must if you are in business for yourself. Knowing how to balance a checkbook and keeping track of numbered invoices is all most small businesses need to do when they first start out. Remember to schedule time for your financial management.
  • Study Strategies – of successful businesses already doing what you wish to do and incorporate the best strategies into your own.
  • Value Quality – quality drive sales, which leads to business growth.

 Successful Entrepreneurs also meet these Requirements:

  • Clear, succinctly stated value proposition specifying benefits
  • Know target market
  • Strategic business plan
  • Unified, connected product line or service line
  • Competition based on a dimension other than price (e.g., quality or service)
  • Early, frequent, intense and well-targeted marketing
  • Tight financial controls
  • Sufficient start-up and growth capital
  • Corporation or LLC model, not sole proprietorship
  • One or more unique competitive advantages
  • Work experience in the start-up industry
  • Full-time involvement in the new venture

A SCORE mentor can help your through this process FREE! Click here to schedule a mentoring session.

Greater Phoenix SCORE also has classes and workshops on how to a start a business. Click here for the schedule.

Here are some free resources SCORE and the SBA.

About the Author:

Roger_RobinsonRoger Robinson, PhD has been a SCORE mentor for over 16 years. His specialties include non-profits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and Entertainment verticals. Read more about Roger here. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session with Roger or another SCORE mentor.

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How to Write a Business Plan for Success

December is National Write a Business Plan Month! So it’s appropriate that we offer an article on how to write a business plan for success.

how to write a business plan for successYou might ask, why do I need a business plan?

The real purpose of a business plan is to create a well thought-out document that states, in detail, your business dream and how you plan to develop and finance this business. Your business plan is, in fact, the roadmap to your future.

Additionally, investors and lenders usually require a written business plan. Just as important, stakeholders such as suppliers, customers and potential key employees want to know who you are and what you are all about.

A Written Business Plan also Serves as a Guide for You and Your Team.

The Real Value of Business Planning lies in the Process Itself.

This focuses your thinking and keeps you on track. In other words, the key to success is going through the process. Thus, it’s the process itself that leads you to issues that are required for their resolution and your ultimate success. Planning is the structure by which you determine the key steps needed to find the information required to develop your successful business. In fact, for many situations, the planning process is actually more important then actually writing the plan.

Currently, leading experts in business planning such as Alexander Osterwalder and Steve Blank suggest the development of the Business Model Canvas (BMC) as the key to the process. From their point of view a BMC is actually a prelude, a precursor to the creation of your Business Plan.

Here is an example of a simplified BMC:

how to write a business plan for success

Fully understanding each of these questions and developing appropriate responses will lead you to a clearer, better understanding of all of the elements essential for the success of your enterprise. Note the importance of starting with the value proposition and matching this with the customer segment. Once that benefit fit has been established all else follows.

As an example, let’s create answers for a hypothetical BMC for MacDonald’s as developed by Manasota Score:

  • Value proposition -> quick, inexpensive meal
  • Customer segment -> public / seniors / families
  • Customer relationship -> personal face to face service
  • Distribution channels (paths to customers) -> in store / drive through
  • Revenue stream -> company store sales / royalties / franchise fees
  • Key activities -> training staff / marketing
  • Key resources -> employees / locations
  • Key partners -> franchisees
  • Cost structure -> staff / locations / supplies /marketing

In conclusion, the BMC guides you to focus on all the key factors necessary to create the roadmap to the attainment your dream.

Note, developing a BMC is not something done all at once. It is an iterative process by which you are systematically testing out your ideas.

A SCORE mentor can help your through this process FREE! Click here to schedule a mentoring session.

Here is a list of Free Resources with Business Plan Templates from SCORE and the SBA.

Greater Phoenix SCORE also has classes and workshops on how to write a business plan. Click here for the schedule.

About the Author:

Roger_RobinsonRoger Robinson, PhD has been a SCORE mentor for over 16 years. His specialties include non-profits, business planning, specifically in restaurants and hospitality, recreational and arts and Entertainment verticals. Read more about Roger here. Click here to schedule a free mentoring session with Roger or another SCORE mentor.

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3 Reasons to Consider Using Gift Cards for Your Small Business

3 Reasons to Consider Using Gift Cards for Your Small BusinessWith the holiday season upon us, it’s time to talk gift cards. According to a survey done by the National Retail Federation in 2014, “gift cards [are] the most requested gift item eight years in a row.” And why not? Gift cards are more personal than cold, hard cash. They show that the giver took an interest in the receiver’s wants. And best of all? They practically eliminate the hassle of returning an unwanted item.

Gift cards put the power in your consumers’ hands. Whether you’re ushering in season’s greetings or simply considering adding another purchase path for your customers, here are three reasons why gift cards are a must for your small business.

  1. They make gift buying easy.

For the indecisive shopper, gift cards are a great way to save the day. As I mentioned above, they reduce the hassle of returns. Unless you’re armed with a shopping list of exact wants and needs, it can be hard to nail down exactly what your friends want. Wrong T-shirt size? Allergic to vanilla-bean coffee but not caramel? What if that scarf simply isn’t their style? These are common dilemmas all customers face when purchasing gifts.

Gift cards eliminate returns for unfavorable gifts. And when those customers do come into the store? Get ready for some serious spending. According to a study by First Data, “72% of gift card shoppers spent more than the original gift card value when redeeming their cards.” So not only are they easier for shoppers, they’re also great for profit!

  1. Gift cards boost new business while building relationships.

Generally speaking, we’re all creatures of habit. We eat at our favorite places, visit our preferred coffee bistros, and shop at the same stores. Why? Because we know what we’re getting. So how do you convince new customers to walk through the door? Gift cards are a great solution.

Gift card use study

Since they’re an easy go-to for consumers of all ages, you can expect a boost with first-time customers. Gift cards encourage new shoppers to branch out and try locations they otherwise might overlook. And when they come in to redeem their card, you’ll have the opportunity to impress them with your customer service and small business feel. Even if you primarily operate online, you can still use e-cards to bring in new shoppers.

Pro tip: Consider offering reloadable gift cards. They encourage shoppers to return and give you the chance to foster relationships.

  1. They help you compete with big box stores.

As a small business, it’s already difficult to compete with big box stores. Shoppers on the go can stop by any prominent retail shop and grab a gift card right next to the register. The entire trip could take less than five minutes. It’s great that you sell unique wares with heartfelt packaging, but sometimes ease and speed rank higher than your boutique feel.

Options are always better. Set up some gift cards near the register and promote e-gift cards on your site to help those in a rush. Customers will appreciate the ability to still shop local even though they’re on a time crunch.

Picking a solution

There are tons of reasons for adding gift cards to your arsenal, so now that you’re onboard start looking for the right gift card program. Prepaid cards, merchant bank cards, outside gift card vendors — be sure to do your research and find a program that fits your small business needs. You can even create your own to add branding flair to your business’s new plastic cash.

Just remember: Check out your state’s legislature concerning gift cards ahead of time. There are rules in place to protect both you and your customers.

With the right gift card program, you could be well on your way to more sales and new customers this holiday season. Happy Holidays!

[Image found at: http://research.nrffoundation.com/Default.aspx?pg=9007#.WDXRXuErIch]

About the Author:

Maxym Martineau Maxym Martineau is a copy editor and staff writer for GoDaddy. She’s an avid reader with an unhealthy addiction to Dr. Pepper and chocolate. She binge watches TV shows like there’s no tomorrow and is always up for a good plot discussion. You can follow her on Twitter @maxymmckay for further shenanigans.

 

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12 Blogging Mistakes You Need to Stop Making for 2017

Did you know that certain blogging mistakes can cause Google to ignore your website?

Blogging mistakes not to make in 2017

Yeah.

And, you DO want to attract people to your site, right?

What about converting visitors into leads or sales? Of course!

Amazingly enough, there are just a few tweaks you can make to your blog that will make a difference and make 2017 prosperous.

You Want To…

  • build credibility and trust
  • increase traffic to your site
  • entice people to visit
  • grow your email list with conversions
  • come up on the 1st page of Google
  • get visitors to stay on your site longer
  • get more sales!

Here are 12 of the Biggest Blogging Mistakes that I see Small Business Owners make. And they are all fixable.

  1. Using the free WordPress or other free, third-party blogging platform. Having your own website with a company domain gives
  2. Using industry jargon. You’re the expert, your reader is not. Write for an 11-year-old.
  3. Not creating fresh, relevant content regularly. Google ignores stagnant websites!
  4. Not sharing your content on social media. This is the main way to publicize your blog posts. Drives people to your site. Helps with SEO!
  5. Trying to be cute with your headline. Clickbait not allowed.
  6. Writing long paragraphs. Boring!
  7. Not adding the title of the post or keywords to image “alt text” descriptions. This helps with SEO!
  8. Not adding keyword tags relevant to your blog post. This is what the search engine sees.
  9. Not proofreading before publishing. Check spelling and grammar. It is your online reputation!
  10. Not having links to other internal, related content to entice people to stay on your site longer. The longer people stay on your site, the more chances they’ll do something.
  11. Not having relevant external links. Link to related sources or quote or other articles. This actually helps with SEO.
  12. Leaving default widgets like “archives”. No one is going to look for what your wrote on a specific day. They’re looking for topics.

If  You’re Making More Than 1 of These, then you need to Attend one of my SCORE classes! Click here for the Schedule.

About the Author:

Giselle Aguiar, AZ Social Media WizGiselle Aguiar, founder of AZ Social Media Wiz is a social media, inbound and content marketing specialist & trainer helping small business owners learn how to leverage the power of social media marketing, increase traffic to their websites, generate leads, increase brand awareness and establish themselves as experts in their fields. She’s the official social media, newsletter and blog manager for Greater Phoenix SCORE and teaches once a month at SCORE. She recently launched the Social Savvy Solution offering online, on-demand, easy-to-understand social media marketing tutorials. Helping the little guy get social savvy! You can connect with Giselle online at LinkedIn or on Google . Download a free ebook more mistakes you could be making!

 

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SCORE Wants Military Veteran Clients

Thank you VeteransSo why is that? I can think of three good reasons—although there are probably more. First, it’s the right thing to do. We know that coming back into the civilian world from military service can be a difficult transition—whether at a young age from just a few years of service or at an older age from a full military career. Those who have put themselves on the line to defend our freedom deserve all the help we can give to make it easier to be successful in the civilian world as well.

Second, many of us who serve as SCORE mentors are veterans ourselves. Though we are open to and happy to serve all, it is a special bonus for us to be able to “give back” to one of our own.

Third, we have found that veterans are often better equipped to succeed at business and thus are more satisfying clients. When you look at the traits necessary for successful entrepreneurs, you find that they need to be hard-working, dedicated, disciplined, multi-skilled, self-sufficient, and focused on accomplishing their goals. Those are precisely the traits that have made veterans successful in military service. Veterans bring that culture to the challenges that are inevitable in starting a small business and nurturing it to succeed.

SCORE wants to be part of extending the long history of military veterans finding success in business. For example, a Syracuse University study found that nearly 49.7% of WWII veterans went on to own or run a business. More recently, U.S. Census data from November 2015 indicates that veterans owned more than 10% of the 2,540,000 businesses in the United States. In Arizona, the ownership percentage was about 9%, probably reflecting that more of the veterans in Arizona are already retired from their second careers as well.

For veterans who see themselves as potential business owners, I encourage you to use the many resources that are there to help. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great place to start. They are actively engaged in military transition programs like “Boots to Business” and, as a “resource partner of the SBA, SCORE is an active participant. As a continuation of your transition, you should engage with us to take advantage of the experienced business mentors, business training, and support we provide. For those of you in the Phoenix Metro Area, start with our website and make an appointment to meet with one of our 75 experienced mentors. We are there to help you no matter what stage you are in business—start up or long-standing existing business. And we never send you a bill—our mentoring services are always free. Take advantage of one of the best deals in town!

Jay Gladney, president of Greater Phoenix SCOREBy Jay Gladney; Chapter President, Greater Phoenix SCORE; Retired Mustang Major, USAF

 

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