“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” Thomas Edison famously said, as he worked tirelessly to develop the world’s first practical incandescent light bulb. It was his unrelenting commitment to succeed, acknowledging that failure contributed to rather than took away from his great product, that is remembered now a century later as the very essence of entrepreneurship. It certainly takes a lot of brains and technical know-how to be an entrepreneur, (how else could Edison have patented 1,093 different products during his lifetime?), but it also takes a lot of heart. It takes serious commitment and psychological stamina to deliver the world’s best products and services. Here are 10 ways to have both the head and heart of an entrepreneur:
1. Invest In Yourself
The top entrepreneurs of the world understand the value of investing in themselves. This means spending time and money to access and utilize the resources that expand their understanding of the markets and verticals they work in. This includes reading industry-leading books, reports, magazines, and newsletters. It also includes joining local, national, and international business associations to network with other top business leaders and entrepreneurs, and continuing their business education by attending seminars and workshops. You want the head and heart of an entrepreneur? It starts with self-investment.
“I devote at least 25 percent of my workweek to my own development,” says Mike Brcic, founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Sacred Rides, an award-winning mountain bike tour company based in Toronto, Canada. “I have over 300 business and entrepreneurship books in my library, I subscribe to eight different magazines, and I attend over 30 entrepreneurship and leadership-focused events a year. As the leader of the company, my job is to lead the company – and the best way to do that is to learn as much as I can about how to run a successful business.”
2. Fuel Your Passion
You won’t get far as an entrepreneur without fiery passion for what you do. Your passion feeds your head and your heart, gets you through the work day, and many sleepless nights. Fuel your passion by taking ownership of the work you do; don’t blame others for missteps or setbacks, recognize that you are the one captaining the ship and are ultimately responsible for both the failures and successes. You can also fuel your passion by ensuring that you are having fun. If you’re stressed out constantly, it’s going to be very hard to feel passionate. Spice up your workday with all the things that will help you remember why you’re working so hard in the first place.
3. Don’t be Afraid to Take Risks
To have the head and heart of an entrepreneur, you must definitely be willing to take risks. Stepping into the unknown is a regular occurrence for top entrepreneurs; they understand that moving into the unknown can mean serious business and new potential sources of revenue. However, it doesn’t mean they do so without a plan. Top entrepreneurs certainly take risks, but they always calculate the risks they get involved in. This means carefully appropriating resources and establishing secure back up plans in case the venture goes belly-up a week, month, or a year from now.
4. Network, Network, Network
Even if you have a great product or service, those with heads and hearts of entrepreneurs understand that “who you know” is often the difference between a successful venture and a failed one. Networking is constantly on the mind of top entrepreneurs—they eat, sleep, and breathe the world of getting to know new people, making connections, and discussing their business. The best way to do this? Attend conferences, seminars, meet-ups, festivals, and any other event that celebrates or highlights business. Offering a free meal to someone you’re dying to get to know never hurts either.
5. Be Customer Focused
Having the head of an entrepreneur means that everything is about the customers. Top entrepreneurs recognize that without their customers, they have nothing. While you’ll be tempted to develop tunnel vision around the revenue that your customers bring in for you, at the end of the day, your focus needs to be on your clientele. After all, they’re the group that ultimately decides the level and degree of your success.
6. Get Organized
Organization is absolutely key to having the head of an entrepreneur. Without systems, processes, and routines you’ll quickly find everything getting out of whack. You can start by organizing your calendar, whether it’s on your computer, in your planner, or on your smartphone. Ensure that you block time off each day for the most important things—this includes family and friends! As you carefully plan your time, you’ll find yourself able to complete more with a lot less stress.
7. Build A Positive Work Space
Environment is key. Building a positive, productive work space will help you to successfully develop the head and heart of an entrepreneur. This can include anything from adjusting the temperature, placing some greenery around your desk, or hanging up inspirational quotes or images around the room. Creating a work space that you want to be in will increase your desire to work, and will actually help you become more efficient.
8. Follow The Money
To have the head and heart of an entrepreneur, you have to follow the money. The very first thing you can do to follow the trail of Benjamin’s is to know your market or vertical. Focus your time and energy on discovering the niche that is somehow being overlooked. Another strategy you can employ to increase your revenue stream is taking a good hard look at your sales. Using predictive analytics software is a very popular, and highly recommended tool for those entrepreneurs interested in securing greater cash flow. Sift through the data you have, to make decisions that will ultimately drive you and your business to success.
9. Outwork Everyone Else
In the race to be the best entrepreneur, it is most often those with high levels of endurance who win the top prizes. Outworking your competitors doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be smarter than them, but it certainly means you must have some psychological stamina. It takes a lot to work that extra hour or two, or call two to three more people at the end of a very long day; however, outworking everyone else is what helps you acquire the heart of an entrepreneur.
10. Adapt And Move On
Developing both the head and heart of an entrepreneur definitely requires some adaptability. Being flexible with customers, adjusting to market needs, or tweaking your product or service is what will allow you to thrive and survive in your business endeavors. It certainly takes passion, planning, and discipline to become a top entrepreneur, but it is those who adapt that do not die early.