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Guiding Leadership Principles of Successful Entrepreneurship

No matter what type of business you’re in, there’s one thing that’s certain: the life of an entrepreneur is ridden with challenges. It is easy to get caught up in the rise and fall of the larger macroeconomic environment or the successes and failures of everyday life as a business owner. An article by Pratik Dholakiya got me thinking about how to set goals, stay focused, and achieve success.

You Hold the Keys to Success, Not the Economy
The success of your business is not a direct product of any external factors. You cannot allow yourself to be distracted by the inevitable ups and downs of the market. Whether businesses around you are failing or have never seen better days, at the end of the day business is a game of numbers. As long as you’re meeting prospects and making sales, your business is going to survive regardless of how the market is performing. Stay focused, and determination will drive you to success. 
Embrace Technology
Technology is an unavoidable aspect of doing business in today’s world. Not only is it a lot of fun to conduct business over your new Smartphone or tablet device, but it is also extremely practical. Two things you should look for when considering whether to acquire new technology are speed and portability. If you can save time and conduct business with ease while off-site, you can’t afford to ignore new technology. As technology continues to progress, an entrepreneur must stay current in order to maximize efficiency.
Customers Are People Too
As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get caught up in the sale and forget that a business’s mission is to serve the customer. Offer a product or service that people either want or need, and there is no need to exaggerate your sales pitch. High sales volume will help you get your business off the ground, but repeat customers and referrals will keep you around. Treat people well, and you will be successful.
Selfless Sells
It takes a lot of work to turn a business idea into a product or service that garners a sale. There is no doubt that you deserve a lot of credit for all that you have done to get to this point. But guess what: it doesn’t matter. The customer doesn’t want to hear about your long hours spent recalibrating the latest malfunctions during the wee hours of the morning in your garage studio. Selfless sells, ego does not.
Retain Your Vision 
Every business starts with a vision. Whether it’s turning the world on its heels over the latest technology or selling out to the company of your dreams, vision is a strong indicator of motivation and driver of success in business. Once you’ve achieved your initial goals, focus on either retaining or reworking that vision. Dream big and your potential to achieve will grow.
Have a Plan
Whether or not you’ve nailed down your financial projections and drafted a beautiful description of your business to go along with your 70-page business plan, you should have a solid plan to base your actions off of. Whether you prefer to lay it out in detail or in brief, a written plan will ensure that you are targeting something definite and trying to remember a great idea that you had a few months ago. Ink lasts, thoughts don’t.
Be Studious
In addition to knowing your business inside and out, you should make it a priority to learn as much as possible about your industry, your competitors and of course, your customers. A knowledgeable business owner will be able to sell his or her product or service with confidence, and that’s one thing money can’t buy.
Published: July 10, 2013

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Fran Tarkenton

Fran Tarkenton is an entrepreneur and NFL Hall of Famer, and the founder of Tarkenton Companies. Fran has always had a passion for small business, and has started more than 20 businesses since retiring from the NFL. His efforts to provide knowledge and tools to small business have been a full time undertaking since 1996, and he is the driving force behind GoSmallBiz.com, Click2Corp.com and Tarkenton Financial. These sites all grew from Fran's desire to help fellow entrepreneurs gain access to the tools and information they need to grow and compete in the modern economy. You can see more about what Fran is doing at http://www.tarkenton.com, follow him on Twitter @Fran_Tarkenton, or connect with him on Google +.

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