There is a distinct difference between those entrepreneurs who are business owners and those who are valued innovators. To put it simply, to be an architect of innovation and growth and to excel under competitive pressures, entrepreneurs must be able to adjust pricing, adapt to change, assimilate as needed, engage in strategic marketing, and foster innovation and value creation within your client base.
I know I am getting a little deep here but it is time to step-up and do good business. Are you ready?
Alright then…Here are five ways to be an architect for innovation and growth:
1. Let go of the employee mindset. I still revert back to my corporate days every now and again but I am able to pinch myself and maintain my entrepreneurial style. When I mention the “employee mindset,” I am referring to thinking about working strict hours, normally nine to five, taking only two ten minute breaks, possibly a 30-minute lunch, and always looking for someone to tell you what to do.
If you engage in some of these activities, I ask you to stop the madness! You Are The CEO!
Start letting go of that mindset by creating and maintaining an environment that will allow your creative ideas to flourish and your team’s true entrepreneurial personality to come out. Put systems in place, organize your office space, and outsource/delegate low payoff activities. Make a conscious effort to let go of the employee mindset and become the CEO.
2. Define your business. You will run your business differently depending on your vision and the solutions you offer. For example, if you define your company as a family business to be passed down from generation to generation, then your focus will be to maintain control. You probably will not sell the company to someone outside of the family for millions of dollars. Your goal is to create a family asset that provides jobs, skills, and income for those who choose to go into the family business.
Or, if you define your company as an asset and value generation focused business, then your primary objectives might be strategic partnerships, acquisitions, leverage of resources, and bringing in the right talent to operate the business for you.
Either strategy works, but you can also utilize a combination of the two.
The point is, in order to grow and generate the cash flow you need, you have to be willing to define your company and commit to maximizing value in order to provide maximum returns on a consistent basis.
3. Reinvent and Redefine. I have changed my scope of work so many times you would be totally surprised. I am not talking about changing your business model or changing your vision, I am talking about doing what you have always done just in a different way based on the business market, your target markets, and the ability to incorporate new technologies.
For instance, I used to do up to ten speaking engagements each month. It was my main client generator, but as my company grew, I had to figure out how to still reach all of those people but on a more global scale in order to stay on track towards my vision (a global education center).
I could no longer travel just to provide free workshops if I wanted to maximize value and cash flow. It was too time-consuming. I had to figure out how to maximize my time, create a growth model that incorporated new team members, and learn how to reach more people in smaller portions of time. I quickly learned the power of technology and created telecourses, eSeminars, a new online training program, as well as other virtual activities that are still emerging.
As a result, we are reaching more of our target markets, and we are setting the stage for new innovations for years to come. As of this year, I only do three in-person speaking engagements per quarter with a much better response.
Reinventing and redefining does not mean letting go of everything you have created. It means creating an infrastructure that allows for and supports growth, expansion, and flexibility.
4. Target a global market. We have such a unique opportunity to reach across international borders these days. Why not take advantage of it and reap the rewards? There is this huge thing called the Internet; I know you have heard of it, so start using it! Yes, you can sell eBooks and informational products, but you can also create a platform that positions you and your company…
drum roll please…any way that you want!
In one week my marketing team managed to get 200 new subscribers to our newsletter, three new experts to partner with on training projects, two great interviews on our radio show with celebrity entrepreneurs, and 70 new friends that allow us to research a network of 196,856,900 people! How did we accomplish so much in just one week? We created a “real” connection strategy.
Target a global market.
5. Forget about getting a mentor, be your own mentor. I have been searching for a mentor for over five years now. One colleague even told me that maybe my standards are too high. What? Are you kidding me? Of course, my standards are high; I do not want a mentor that is at the same level that I am at, I want someone who has made it well beyond where I am trying to go so I can actually learn from them!
In my quest, it has been a real struggle. There are a lot of great people out there who give back and make time to help entrepreneurs. In the meantime, I have learned how to be my own mentor. I read, write, count, plan, and think. If you engage in all five of these actions, you will acquire the knowledge, tips, resources, access, and skills you need to go where you want to go. That is basically what a mentor can provide (or at least what I look for).
Do not give up on your search for a great mentor, just learn how to research.
You might be thinking that you cannot view your business in this way because you are a small business owner. That is a disconnect; you should be thinking this way because you are an entrepreneur!
If you want to be an architect of innovation and growth, these are the type of things you have to not only consider but also to take action on.
© Effició, Inc.
p.s. How are you growing your business? How are you innovating? Share in the comments below…