Connecting as a Solo-preneur

Are you a “solo-preneur” – someone who is charging off on that grand adventure of entrepreneurship all by yourself? You have probably realized that you cannot do it all by yourself, but need a supportive team if you are going to realize your vision and make your dreams come true. Antonio Neves, blogging at entrepreneur.com has some advice for you — ways to create community so that you don’t have to figure it all out by yourself:

  • Meet with like-minded masterminds: there are groups all over the country that offer opportunities to “mastermind” with like-minded people to get fresh perspectives on your problems and possible solutions. Some are open-ended, others focus on books or systems. I have run both types, and they have helped clients move businesses in directions they never realized were possible.
  • Seek out formal training and support: Neves points out that you probably need to learn skills as an entrepreneur. All across the country there are opportunities popping up to help nascent entrepreneurs, including incubators, accelerators, and formal schooling like MBA programs. Besides getting knowledge to help you will have an opportunity to expand your network.
  • Problem-solve with people who aren’t exactly like you: Our tendency is to surround ourselves with people just like us. Why not seek others in allied professions and get their reaction? You can probably help each other expand your thinking and insight.
  • Network with people you wouldn’t normally meet:  Neves mentions an event called Wok+Wine which brings people together who are interested in good food, wine, and conversation and allowing the magic to happen because you are now having to explain your concept to people who aren’t necessarily like you. Seek out ways to interact with people who aren’t just like you and see if you can’t get a fresh perspective on what you do, and maybe even some support, too.

What are you doing to create a community to help you succeed? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

Where to Find a Community If You’re a Solopreneur by Antonio Neves at entrepreneur.com

 

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Roles and Styles for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Do you realize that it takes many roles to succeed in an enterprise? Small businesses and entrepreneurial enterprises need leaders of all types. One of my mentors when I began management consulting taught me that leadership is not a position, rather it is a role. Therefore many types of people can be leaders. In fact, it is vital to have a variety of roles involved in a growing enterprise.

Martin Zwilling, an angel investor and entrepreneurial mentor shared some thoughts recently on a blog shared at entrepreneur.com. Talking about a book he read, Intelligent Leadership by John Mattone, Martin shared that you need to bring a variety of key roles onto your team. Here are 9:

  1. Helpers – those who want to guide others so that the team can succeed
  2. Entertainers – those who want to engage and win people over to a cause
  3. Artists – those who create and innovate
  4. Thinkers – those who analyze and study the world around them
  5. Disciples – those who work well with others, but need permission to act
  6. Activists – those who promote a positive vision and encourage others
  7. Drivers – those who take charge and take responsibility for getting results
  8. Arbitrators – those who bring people together and help them understand one another
  9. Perfectionists – those with high standards and ethics to ensure things are done well

Each role has its strengths and weaknesses, but the truth is you need all these roles filled (at the right times) for your venture to succeed.

Which role is your natural role? John Maxwell says in his Law of Magnetism that we tend to attract others just like us if we don’t find a way to connect people through a strong vision — something for them to have in common. What is your vision? How do you share it with others? Why not share your thoughts in the comment section? I would love to hear your perspective.

9 Leadership Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs by Martin Zwilling at entrepreneur.com.

 

Recipe for Winning Business Ideas

[Fish market, Bergen, Norway] (LOC)

(Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Entrepreneur-Inventor-Educator Stephen Key had a recent column at the Entrepreneur blog about the five essential ingredients of a winning business idea.  As a guy who has been creating products and helping others do the same for thirty years, he just might know what he is talking about:

  1. A substantial market. If your idea doesn’t appeal to people, you might spend too much time and money getting the item to market. Sure, revolutionary products don’t have markets yet. But, you can do research to find out whether there would be a market for your product before committing too many resources.
  2. Existing manufacturing technology. If it must be built, and the technology must be created to manufacture your product economically, someone will have to invest in that technology. Again, this doesn’t mean that you cannot succeed, but it is one thing to have to work hard to succeed, and another entirely to have to work hard so that you can begin to start working hard to make your idea succeed.
  3. An acceptable retail price point. If you don’t have a good price point, then you will have trouble getting retailers to stock your product. If your cost to manufacture is too great to support the retail price, you need to reconsider your strategy. Perhaps you can find another way to produce? Can you position your product differently?
  4. A benefit that is summarized in a single sentence. Benefits, not features are what people buy. If it is too hard for people to understand (or remember) why they should buy your product, you will struggle. Einstein said that people haven’t mastered a subject until they can explain it simply. Can you explain your product’s benefits simply?
  5. A user-friendly interface. We often think of “interface” and computers, but if your users/customers cannot figure out how to use your product, will they continue to use it? Key shares a story about a rotating label technology that he created. He put a picture of a hand turning a label on the label so people would know what to do.

5 Essential Ingredients of a Winning Business Idea at Entrepreneur