What Makes for a Good Entrepreneur?

There are a lot of “beliefs” about what makes for a good entrepreneur. Here’s a great article talking about the 5 Myths About Entrepreneurs that should either support or dispel most of them.

Are you an entrepreneur?  Or are you a victim of circumstance? Did you choose the biz you’re in or did it somehow choose you?

Some might say that doesn’t matter, but I think deep down, everyone knows that it does matter.  Some of us find ourselves running a business that we somehow inherited, and we’re not really even sure we like it.

The problem is, if you don’t like it, your lack of passion and interest can impact how your clients and customers see you and your business.  So you’re going to have to ask yourself a really hard question: “Do I stay in this business or not?”

If you decide to stay in the business, then you somehow have to figure out how to fall in love with it and your clients and customers. Is there a micro-niche that you could serve that would be more interesting to you than those you currently serve?

Could you put a slightly different spin on the business, making it uniquely your own? Can you educate yourself about your business, products, and clientele so that you become the expert they’re looking for?  Once people begin to come to you as the expert, helping them to solve their problems, you might change how you view yourself and your business.

If, however, you answered, “No!” to the above question…the why are you still in business?  You really should either sell the business, or get someone else to run or manage it for you, because your lack of interest and desire to run it will eventually drive it into a slow death spiral.  Without that spark of entrepreneurial enthusiasm, innovative thinking, and deep interest, the business is lifeless.  Your clients and customers know that, too.

This isn’t something you need to decide in the time it takes to read this article. But you do need to do some heavy thinking. Seek guidance from someone who is not financially or emotionally involved in the business.  A business coach is a good place to start to see if you are in the right place, or if you need to make some big changes in your life.

Scary thought, but in the long run, life’s too short to do something you hate for the rest of your life.

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Rural Business Must Not Be Forgotten

Carrot varieties horizontalWhile I frequently write about business that you may find in your city or town, we can’t forget that our most basic roots are in our rural communities.  I grew up very closely associated with the land.  My mother grew up on a farm and as a result I worked on the farms of my aunts and uncles from the time I was young.  I learned that you picked what was available and ate it.

Sometimes you picked corn at 4:30 am, and if you were hungry, you ate raw corn as you picked for the Farmer’s Market.  I learned that produce doesn’t keep.  It must be eaten as fresh as possible, because that is when it tastes best.

Our rural businesses have a very unique set of problems, and yet in order for our country to survive, for our cities and towns to survive, our rural business cannot be left behind. Without our local farms, we wouldn’t have local fruits and vegetables, local farm-raised meat and eggs, local milk and cheese. What would life be like if all the food we ate and drank tasted like cardboard?

There are several grass-roots movements afoot about supporting local agriculture such as Farm to School, Community Supported Agriculture, Farm to Table, Locavore, etc. I will be covering these topics in greater detail when I have the opportunity.

Update: 9/2012 Here is the link to my Farm to School Article in Acreage Life Magazine.

Every Entrepreneur is in the People Business

http://chialichien.com/cal/blog/242-a-living-lesson-in-integrity.html

When you are in business, no matter what it is, you are in the people business.

What people, you ask? Every person you interact with.  And this may seem counter-intuitive to you, but treating your employees better than your clients and customers will result in a better business all around.  Treat your employees like family and they’ll return the effort a thousand-fold.

I have a friend who works for a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and she works hard. They work very long hours both in the fields where they tend to the vegetables, planting, weeding, and harvesting. They also work very, very hard preparing the bags of produce for the end customers (people like me who like to support locally and eat delicious organic local food). The last time we spoke, I asked her why she was so willing to work so darn hard and she said it was because she and her co-workers are all treated like family. Everyone works hard, TOGETHER!

That was a telling statement. I’ve known people who seemed to have truly “cushy” jobs and yet because they weren’t treated well by their bosses or managers, they were willing to just up and leave for the next possible opportunity.

Being in biz means you are in the people business  and in order to stay competitive, you must treat your people well.