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Top 7 Survival Strategies for Entrepreneurs

By Bill Lampton, Ph.D.

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You want to become a successful entrepreneur. Either you have taken that step, or you are considering it. You like the idea of being your own boss, unleashing your creativity and generating greater income. Yet you are afraid. You have seen friends and former colleagues whose ventures have failed. Follow these seven strategies for entrepreneurial success, and you will maximize your chances for prosperity and permanence in your self-directed profession.

  1. Involve your family. Let every family member know what you are doing, why, and how it will impact them. Then listen. Solicit, and respond to, their advice. Welcome their objectivity, which you lack in your euphoria. Talk candidly about the changes everyone can expect, and you will gain indispensable teammates.

  2. Network, and keep on networking. In Dig Your Well Before You're Thirsty, Harvey McKay wrote: If I had to name the single characteristic shared by all the truly successful people I've met over a lifetime, I'd say it is the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts. McKay is right. Seek advisors who will critique your Web site, motto, logo, newsletter and promotional packet. Join civic groups, your professional associations and start your own informal advisory group. Ask prominent associates for endorsements and referrals, rather than relying on your credibility alone.

  3. Master the clock and the calendar. Time will become your most valuable commodity. Treasure it, protect it, use it wisely. Decline politely when your Thursday afternoon golf buddy calls on a warm, sunny day. To increase your time efficiency, organize your work area so you can find items quickly. Use a contact management program, such as ACT. Limit personal phone calls and meal breaks. Outsource work that others will perform well at a reasonable price.

  4. Get physical. To endure your long and stressful work hours, you must remain in top physical shape. Exercise regularly, eat nutritious foods, reserve adequate sleep time and schedule your annual physical exam. Establish daily health-supporting routines. You will feel better, think more clearly and have more energy.

  5. Nurture your spritual and emotional needs. To an unprecedented degree, you will need exceptional motivation, reinforcement, rededication, resilience and sheer courage. Many successful entrepreneurs rely on sources not seen and touched. Select whatever method brings you renewal and strength: meditation, reading, religious services, walking down a nature trail or others.

  6. Get technical. Most entrepreneurs launch their ventures without technical training. If you are technologically limited, enroll in a nearby computer course. Fortunately, even small community colleges offer them as noncredit evening courses, modestly priced. Hire a tutor, and call on your computer skilled friends to walk you through Power Point, Desktop Publisher and similar business support tools.

  7. Reject rejection. Sure, this is not easy, but it is certainly necessary. Turndowns will happen, even when you were so sure that your proposal was right on target and your sales presentation was persuasive. The constructive response to a decline: Realize that losing a contract does not mean that you and your work are inferior. Somehow, the fit between you and your prospect just wasn't there. Consider the rejection a rehearsal for your next presentation. Learn what you can from it, then find someone who will value your services.

Bill Lampton, Ph.D., has generated wide acclaim as an expert in communication, motivation, sales and customer service, following the motto Helping You Finish in First Place! He has been interviewed by Entrepreneur, The Washington Post, Delta's SKY, Cosmopolitan, Investor's Business Daily, UPI, Gannett News and 300 radio stations. Visit his Web site: -- E-mail him to subscribe to his free e-mail newsletter, using the title SUBSCRIBE:


Article Submitted On: October 04, 2004