by Robert B. Pamplin Jr., serial entrepreneur and author of 19 books
In a saturated and increasingly competitive market, the first steps toward a prosperous entrepreneurial career begin with a strong imagination, belief in yourself and your abilities, and refusal to quit in the face of adversity.
To achieve entrepreneurial success, it is crucial that you believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities. Oftentimes what you imagine can appear as a fantasy and outside the realm of possibility, but it is important to bring thoughtful innovation to the table, identify practical solutions and develop workable ways to achieve your goals.
Here are nine guidelines for success, addressing imagination, discovery, risk/reward analysis, improvement, continued learning, challenging others, the mighty three (origination, communication and facilitation), need and originality:
1. Use Your Imagination.
The key to success as an entrepreneur is having an idea and developing a strategy to make that idea a reality.
2. Discover the Problem.
Find the hidden value of your imagination and determine how you can make your ideas and solutions valuable.
3. Analyze Risk vs. Reward.
There is truth to the old saying “The greater the risk, the greater the reward,” and it is important to analyze the appropriate balance between risk and reward. The more risk involved, the more pronounced the degree of hard work and personal sacrifice required.
4. Determine Points of Improvement.
Look at an existing problem and uncover the most effective way to improve a situation, business or community.
5. Expand Your Learning.
Continuing to advance your learning and broaden your skill set is critical to achieving your goals. Learning can come from a variety of platforms, including educational programs, experts in the industry and hands-on experience.
6. Challenge Others to Get Involved.
Success as an entrepreneur goes hand in hand with developing a following and inspiring people to believe in your cause. You can further your mission by inspiring others with opportunities for involvement.
7. Originate, Communicate and Facilitate.
To be an entrepreneur, you must identify a need and develop a strategy to meet that need, communicate your solution and how it will make the company or community better off, and use the tools and resources at your disposal to turn that idea into a reality.
8. Identify Needs.
Recognize that what a person wants can be much different from what he or she needs. You may be able to create a want for something for which there is no perceived need. Matching the need to the want is essential.
9. Be an Originator.
A true entrepreneur follows through with the traditional process of planning, organizing, applying and controlling but continually evaluates the situation and environment to determine what is missing from the equation and how the original model can be improved.
Robert B. Pamplin Jr. is a businessman, philanthropist, farmer, ordained minister, educator, historical preservationist and author of 19 books, including two Book-of-the-Month-Club selections. Pamplin’s business interests include media (the Portland Tribune and 25 community newspapers), textiles, construction and agriculture. He has served on presidential and state commissions, and he has been chairman of the board of trustees of three colleges. Pamplin is widely recognized as America’s leading historical preservationist and foremost diversified entrepreneur.