HOW TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS WITHOUT SELLING YOUR SOUL
I consider myself a born entrepreneur - from my cake selling days as a child. Although I think I really caught the bug when I got my first ‘freelance gig’ at the tender age of 10 - babysitting an eight and six year old while their dad went out and earning $10 an hour for my troubles. I knew that was what I wanted to do when I grew up!
Building a business is hard work but extremely rewarding if you set it up right in the first place. It is much more involved and sometimes we get caught up in the process, forgetting why we wanted to take the entrepreneurial journey in the first place. It all starts with our why.
Your first step to building your business starts with a laying a solid foundation:
We set up our businesses for different reasons but keeping those reasons in focus helps us to maintain a healthy perspective and oftentimes our sanity! Below are three things I do to help me, perhaps they could work for you too.
Not clear on your why, watch this TED talk given by Simon Sinek.
Make it about you
I think having a great sense of who you are helps with your business strategy. The prescribed advice is that you should make your business about your product or service, which is very true of course. It is important to have a great product or service that your clients want and will buy. How you present that product or service to them however is on you. They will be buying ‘you’ as your genuineness will be communicated through your marketing; your integrity will be seen in your customer service and brand experience; and your commitment, in your business processes.
Make it about what is important
Beyond the product and services you offer, and how well you offer them, each business should have an element of giving back. A friend of mine and I ran a business together several years ago. Because we are both christians, one of the things we talked about initially was how we would give back as a business; what percentage of the business profits would we put into our giving. We believed that it was important to discuss that early on in the set up stage so everyone operated from the understanding that giving was part of our values. This may not be a consideration for you, but increasingly we are seeing entrepreneurs who are socially conscious and committed to making the world better in their own way. I am not talking about the social enterprise model here, instead I am referring to ensuring that your business is built on your values: asking and answering the question ‘what is important to me’ and letting the business reflect that.
Make it yours
I often talk about authenticity, in fact my desire is to always live by that principle. This to me means designing a life and business that match my values. Not everyone shares the same values, therefore it is important to create a business that is ‘yours’ and not compare. There are many opportunities to look at what someone else is doing and try to copy it. That doesn’t work! There is also the trap of comparing which ends in doing nothing at all because others seem so much better or have gone much further ahead. Also doing nothing at all, for fear of failure, now that would be tragic! No doubt you have heard of entrepreneurs: Richard Branson, authors: JKRowling, scientists: Einstein, sportsmen: Michael Jordan all examples of people who had almost made failing an art form before eventually hitting success. If there is any one I would like to compare myself to, it is people like them who are determined and don’t give up easily I would ask myself ‘how many times have I failed today? Chances are it would not be as many, so I would want to keep going.
Like me you had a moment when you decided you wanted to be an entrepreneur. I would like you to keep that in the fore of your mind as you build your business. Doing that will help you enjoy the process of creating a successful business and keeping your soul intact!
I want to hear how you keep your soul intact.