Here are 3 practical tips from author Scott Gerber on how to become a successful entrepreneur. It's so practical that the no. 1 item is so personal to me — I can definitely relate :D
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If you're thinking about starting your own business, regardless of your age, you need to follow these three principles of entrepreneurship:
#1: Nothing will ever go as planned. Ever. Business needs change. Consumer demand will change. The economy will fluctuate. A competitor will come out of the woodwork and knock the wind out of your business. In order to remain successful, you need to stay alert and aware. You can never allow yourself or your company to "get comfortable." Think of everyday that you aren't thinking about new ways to grow, new tactics to acquire new clients or new blockades to fortify your business from competitors as simply one day closer to bankruptcy.
#2: Work on your business, not for your business. Being a "start-up" is a phase, not a long term strategy. There are too many entrepreneurs who try to do everything themselves–and never take the time to create an "auto-pilot" plan. I've fallen victim to this many times, and I can assure you, all this mentality does is slow growth and burn you out. You must always be thinking of ways to scale and automate as you grow.
#3: Business plans are a total waste of time. Business planning is an absolutely necessity. Business plans are absolutely not. Stop writing about selling and go and sell! Learn what works, scrap what doesn't and improve your batting average as you go. Field testing and execution is the best way to grow a business. Speak to prospective customers, find mentors who know your market and put yourself out there as often as you can. The best entrepreneurs are doers, not writers. I'd also suggest you check out my One Paragraph Start Up Plan in my new book, Never Get a "Real" Job, which explains how to create a fluid action plan in hours, not weeks.
Scott Gerber is the author of Never Get a Real Job (Wiley & Sons, December 2010). He is the Founder of the Young Entrepreneurship Council (YEC), and is a syndicated columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine.