The Entrepreneur’s Source Franchise Friday – The Top 10 Things Aspiring Entrepreneurs Need to Know
Jeff Levy is a successful coach with The Entrepreneur’s Source and coauthor of the book Making the Jump Into Small Business Ownership. Levy was the first guest on The Entrepreneur’s Source Franchise Friday show, a weekly show covering the many aspects of franchising, entrepreneurship and small business.
After a successful career as a corporate executive, Levy transitioned to a career as an entrepreneur coach and mentor, where he has helped more than 180 individuals begin their journey to self-employment and participated in more than a hundred franchise start ups.
Levy shared his vast insight into the world of franchising and entrepreneurship with Franchise Friday host and CEO of FranchisEsource Brands International, Paul Segreto.
The Top 10 Things Aspiring Entrepreneurs Need to Know from Jeff Levy’s Franchise Friday show:
1. You must commit to the concept of being a lifetime learner. It takes a lot for someone to become self-reliant and to make non-emotional, but thoughtful decisions. I’ve identified my weakness and have the discipline to meet my business requirements, but where I need outside help, I get it.
2. Communication is multidimensional. It’s up, down, sideways. It’s to customers. It’s to vendors. It’s to bankers. It’s to stakeholders. If you would ask me to rank the most important quality that an entrepreneur needs, I would say it’s a communication skill. Being introverted doesn’t mean you don’t have that skill, but if you’re not a salesperson in the business you choose, don’t take that role. Instead, create the vision for others and motivate them. If you can’t communicate, people won’t know how to help you.
3. In the transition from employee to entrepreneurship, the key to success is your mindset. If you want to take care of your family and have security, you have to invest in a business where you are in control. The next step is about creating the picture of what it is you are working toward. More specifically, what are your income, lifestyle, wealth and equity goals?
4. Entrepreneurship is a process—you don’t wake up one morning and have a light bulb go off. You have to work at it to figure out your primary vision and purpose, current skills as well as what you are missing. This allows you to identify what business will help you put that all together to achieve your goals.
5. Many people fall short on seeing the entire vision and focus solely on revenue because they are running from something. They aren’t making enough money, don’t like the politics in a company or don’t like their boss, so they want to run away from that. Those are short-winded motivations. What I’ve learned through my experience is that the real motivation isn’t running from something—it’s running to something. It’s vital to set goals and visions, but unfortunately I think we rarely work that way in this culture.
6. The qualities it takes to be an entrepreneur are self-motivation and a willingness to grow—this means a willingness to put the business before you and go through the growing pains. You don’t grow by repeating what you’ve done before, you grow by change.
7. Mentors are extremely important. Mentors come out of a mold of people who care. They like to give back. They like to see other people successful and they’re willing to donate their time for someone who is genuinely interested in learning and in learning how to improve themselves.
8. Over 95% of the aspiring entrepreneurs I work with find success with a franchise concept they had never even thought of before. The problem is most people approach a business like looking for a date—they expect to fall in love the first time they see it. They spend time on the internet looking for that business that’s going to jump out of their computer screen, wrap their arms around them and say, “We’re made for each other.” Unfortunately, it really doesn’t work that way. Just like a good marriage starts with a vision, a good business starts the same way. It’s a lot of hard work over many years.
9. As you get older, you realize that time is like real estate—they’re not making any more of it. You have a fixed amount of time on this earth and if you’re using it for somebody else’s dream, it creates this pain of, “I really need to do something on my own.” The best way of creating security is by applying your talents, intelligence and resources for yourself.
10. One of the biggest flaws I see in entrepreneurs is ego. It’s just like the dating and marriage analogy I gave you before. It’s easy to get a marriage license, tough to have a good marriage. It’s easy to get a business license, tough to get a good business. Just because you have “president” on your card doesn’t mean anything. Just because you signed a franchise agreement and went through training doesn’t mean anything. It’s all about whether you are willing to spend a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.
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