Every day I get to mentor and support entrepreneurs from all around the world. I am shameless advocate for business, entrepreneurship and hustle.
I love seeing people make money, build cool stuff and make the world a little better by taking their ideas and then serving people and solving problems.
We need more capitalism. We need more entrepreneurs. We need more businesses. Despite the whining and scaremongering of many who seem very happy to live off ever-expanding government payments nothing lifts people out of poverty faster than capitalism. Enlightened self-interest builds the best societies in human history.
In the video below you can see me sharing my passion at a national business conference on why this matters to me so much.
In recent weeks I’ve been going deeper into asking myself the one big question:
What are the biggest challenges and blockages that entrepreneurs and business owners face?
Apart from my own experience speaking at live events to over 300,000 people around the world and building and selling successful businesses I am increasingly mentoring a range of entrepreneurs, start-up founders and business owners to chase the wins they yearn for. It’s awesome work. I love doing it. I love seeing people grow.
The more I work with business owners and entrepreneurs the more I encounter the key issues that hold them back. So last week I spent a day digging deeper. I read over a thousand Amazon reviews on books about entrepreneurship and business. I reviewed online training platforms, Facebook groups, blog posts and more. I wanted to get a sense of how accurate my own experiences coaching others have been. I wanted to know, “What are the biggest challenges and blockages that entrepreneurs and business owners face?”
It’s one of the great things about the Internet that information has now been democratized. In the past you had to pay market research firms a bucket of money to go an interview entrepreneurs and business owners about their pain points. Now, with so many online platforms to share experiences, problems, reviews and questions, that information is more readily available that at any time in human history.
In this post my aim is not to offer solutions to the five main problems I encountered. That is a larger task but the good news is that I will be doing it over the next few days. Make sure you sign up HERE so you don’t miss them. In this post I just want to flag them, to lay them out so we can all see them. I’d love you to post a comment at the end and let me know if you think they are close or whether there are some that you encounter that I may have missed.
THE FIVE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR ENTREPRENEURS AND BUSINESS OWNERS:
This issue went by a few different names. Some called it dealing with fears.Some called it limiting beliefs. Some called it focus. In essence what a large number of entrepreneurs and business owners are dealing with is a problem of psychology versus strategy. You can always learn how to execute any given task in a business. You can even outsource or delegate tasks you don’t like. What you can’t always do is develop a positive, energised, self-confidentmindset. No one can give you self-belief, resilience or hustle. Only you can do that.
For example, Richard Branson , Jack Welch or Gary Vaynerchuk all have a range of business skills. Rationally, we can assume that there are people in the world who may be even better at those skills than they are. What sets them apart, however, is a killer mindset. They have a self-belief and focus and mindset that allows them to operate on a different level.
In essence, to win in business and entrepreneurship you need to harness your mind and apply it in particular ways. You need a killer mindset.
2. Time Management — Doing It All
This one came through loud and clear. So many entrepreneurs and business owners are not sure what to do and when. What are the highest leverage tasks at any given moment? What is the daily one thing that if you execute on it will provides the highest value in the business. How do you know if you’re right?
It use to be that business itself was complex enough. Now if you’re trying to build a business it’s not just about product or markets or brand. Social media means you are competing for the one biggest commodity in the market,attention. So how do juggle staffing, sales, marketing, brand, finance, HR, legal and social media and everything else I’ve missed? Do you outsource to Manila? Do you hire a PA?
How do you do all this and remain an effective, spouse or parent or friend?
Entrepreneurs and business owners are hammered by complexity. As mentioned in the previous paragraphs there is just a lot going on and we can expect it to increase. So, how do you choose between complex objectives? How do you allocate limited resources if you’re in start-up mode?
The good news is that there is a way through. It’s about filters and knowing your DNA and a deeper connection to core values. I spend a lot of time teaching entrepreneurs Plato’s famous saying that, “Feelings are excellent servants but terrible masters.” In business you need to have a connection to your emotions but not let them run the whole circus. It’s about the ability to execute on a strategy when your feelings are confused. I will go into this in more detail HERE but for now let’s just be aware that this is a major issue in business and entrepreneurship and everyone reading this needs to get clear on how they are going to master it.
4. Finding Customers & Sales
This one ain’t rocket science. Entrepreneurship and owning a business can sound so exciting but there are certain laws that govern the universe. The sun comes up in the morning and a business without a customer is not a business. It might be a hobby. It’s just not a business.
Successful entrepreneurs and business owners are always concerned about the next sale, the next quarter. Cash flow is king and the rest don’t mean a thing!
I started off in business thinking it was about having a passion and creating a lifestyle. Then I learned that no one cares what you’re passionate about in the cold hard light of business reality. It may just mean that your passion is actually a hobby or a side hustle. Real businesses are ruthless about identifying demand and going where there are players with cash. You go where the money is. You go where the problems are. It’s that simple.
To many entrepreneurs and business owners are just not clear on the basic laws of problem solving, niches, and doing the hard work of discovering the real problems that people want to give you their money to solve.
5. Systems and Processes
The printing press put a lot of people selling quills out of business.
Technology is always a game changer. From the time our ancestors realised square wheels were problematic to the fact that 3D printing means your aunty Mavis will get a new hip that much faster. New technologies, new systems and the choice of the best processes occupy the minds of entrepreneurs and business owners all the time.
How can you know that your making the right choice on a new CRM? Is Evernote better than Google Drive? Do you need SOP’s or a compendium of checklists? Running a successful business means using the best system or process at the right time in the right way. It’s not always an intuitive skill and it’s one that came up frequently in the research.
Summary and What To Do Next
The good news is that the five points listed above are being encountered by anyone and everyone in business and entrepreneurship at some point. You are not alone. In the next few posts I will be sharing more detailed responses, strategies and insights on each of them. Please click HERE to access the full range of strategies and please add a like, a comment and consider sharing this post on your social feeds.