If there’s anyone qualified to offer business advice to other young and hungry entrepreneurs in today’s world, it’s Michigan State University student Jack Estes DeBrabander. “Five things,” he tells us, “are what separates the most successful entrepreneurs from the rest of the pack.”
The first step in any business venture is to be organized. You need to know where you are, where you’ve been, and where you plan to be.” A 2019 report detailing the habits of the world’s billionaires showed three common traits: “They know how to take smart risks; they are obsessively focused on their businesses, which allows them to see opportunities others missed; and they think longer-term than less wealthy CEOs.” The most successful entrepreneurs know their numbers (cash flow, net income, profit and loss, sales, price point, gross margin, and total inventory).
It was Thomas Jefferson who once said “With great risk comes great reward”. The willingness to lay it all on the line is the trademark of any entrepreneur. But what is it that sets the regular mom-and-pop business owner apart from those with sales in the millions, or even billions? It’s that willingness to take calculated risks and not wait until the “right moment”, which sets someone up to be future millionaire. Now what is it about the billionaire’s mindset that makes them so unique? “It is billionaires’ appetite for smart risk-taking, business focus, and determination that help them build and sustain their wealth,” according to UBS and PwC’s 2019 Billionaires Report. According to Rafael Badziag, “A millionaire chooses to make money and then figure out how to best spend it.” He then sheds even further light in the difference between a billionaire and their millionaire counterpart by stating that “the billionaire enjoys making money more than they enjoy spending it.”
In business, knowledge is considered a resource, and is often referred to as “knowledge capital” or “intellectual capital.” There are four key areas of intellectual capital: knowledge of the market and your clients’ needs, knowledge of your organization and your staff, knowledge of your products and services, knowledge of business trends and research, and lastly, knowledge of your competitor and how you can deliver a superior product or service. Mastery of this information will lead to an increase in your profitability, and ultimately make the difference in creating and retaining a competitive edge long into the future.
It’s easy to show up for work and be excited when things are going well. But what about when things aren’t so rosy? What are the things that you need to be doing to help keep your foot on the gas and pushing you through the hurdles that stand in your way?
The first is to set some goals for yourself. Start with long term goals, then break them down to yearly goals, then monthly goals, and finally create some daily goals. It’s the setting of these daily goals, and then the satisfaction of checking them off one by one, that will keep that fire alight in your belly when you need it most.
The second step is to surround yourself with successful people, both literally and figuratively. Your business needs the most talented people to make it thrive. Develop a team that can help carry the load and bring their expertise to areas where you might be lacking. Secondly, with the internet, you could literally be coached by thousands of the most brilliant business minds who have walked on earth. Start your morning with motivational videos from Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Iyanla Vanzant, Jim Rohn, Eric Thomas, or Nick Vujicic. Next, listen at the feet of business titans for interviews, TedTalks, podcasts, or audio books with Mark Cuban, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk or Sir Richard Branson. Learn from their mistakes and emulate their success.
And while you’re listening to these giants in the industry, the third step to staying motivated is to develop a morning routine which includes an exercise or healthy regimen. This will not only keep your body in prime condition, but will help you keep your mind sharp and focused for those important decisions. With your mind laser focused, you can devote part of this time to write your goals for the day. Another strategy to stay motivated is to find an “accountability partner” with whom you can share certain goals or challenges, and they routinely check in with you to see how you’re progressing towards those goals. The last key to stay motivated is to set up a reward for when you achieve those daily, weekly, or monthly goals. This could be as simple as a simple splurge on yourself or taking your significant other for a weekend getaway. This will not only recharge your batteries, but will let your partner know that they are still an important part in your life.
Get Through It No Matter What It Takes
I heard a story a long time ago that really struck me, and it goes like this: A man owned a gold mine, and after a short time, it stopped producing gold. He kept digging and digging hoping to reach a new vein, but to no avail. He ended up giving up and eventually lost it in a poker game. The new owner decided to hire outside experts to see if the mine was worth anything. They returned and told the owner that if he were to dig one foot deeper, he would hit a huge vein of gold. The man did as he was instructed, and he ended up becoming a very wealthy man. You never know how close you are to breaking through to that new vein, you may be just one foot, one day, one week, one year away from finally hitting it big. The key is to create a strong “why” you got into business in the first place. Then when things get tough, and you start to doubt your decision, you revisit that why and get yourself refocused.
Jack’s vision for financial independence, just like everyone else’s out there, will take a lot of sweat equity and a daily focus on these five strategies for business success. He’s confident in his abilities and knows that he’s got what it takes to fight to the top.