10 Simple Secrets Smart Entrepreneurs Know — And Broke Entrepreneurs Ignore

1. Put your money where your foot is. Mouths don’t do anything but eat and talk. And occasionally drool. Feet, on the other hand, are profit centers. No wonder so many successful entrepreneurs have corns and calluses: It’s all about mileage.

It’s all about asking the question, “What’s the next action?” Remember: Your feet are your balance sheet’s best friend. Better engage your pedometer. Profitability comes from steppability. What massive action did you take today?

2. Honesty shouldn’t HAVE to be a policy. If you have to remind your people to tell the truth, you need new people. On the other hand, if your leaders cleave to truth and practice radical, rigorous honesty, your people will follow suit.

Truthfulness speaks volumes, begets trustworthiness and accelerates followership. Policies are for amateurs. Have you introduced a steady stream of truth serum into your leadership diet?

3. A man is known by the company he keeps AWAY from. Show me who you refuse to hang with, and I’ll show you who you are. That’s perhaps more indicative of your character. On a deeper level, also think about the people you refuse to listen to. Same thing.

It’s all about whom you let participate in your life. Because it’s too damn short to surround yourself with people who don’t challenge and inspire you. How much time are you spending with people who haven’t learned how to value you yet?

4. If you can’t think of anything nice to say, you’re not very creative. Everybody hates somebody. Personally, I could name ten people – right now – that I would just LOVE to watch take a bath in hydrochloric acid. But as much as dislike them, I could still say something good about every one o them. It’s all about making the choice to attend differently to people.

You have to ask yourself questions like: How could this person positively affect me? What makes this person special? What is the hidden treasure inside this person that maybe others don’t see? What character qualities do I admire in this person? What potential, ability and wisdom do I see in this person? What has this person accomplished that needs to be celebrated? Remember: There’s always something nice to say. What do you see when you see people?

5. It is what it is. Wrong. It ISN’T what it is. “It” is what you’ve chosen it to be. “It” is what you’ve given yourself permission to accept. “It” is what you’ve allowed to exist into your life. “It” is what you’ve assumed you’re stuck with.

Screw “it.” I loathe the word “it.” The word “it” is a personal responsibility dodger. It you don’t like “it,” change “it.” Is it (really) what it is?

6. Shtick gets your foot in the door, but only substance keeps you in the room. Shtick is necessary, but it’s not enough to sustain you. Customers demand substance. Meat. Value. Sustainability. They want a sweet candy shell AND gooey, delicious Tootsie center.

Sadly, too many entrepreneurs are all shtick and no substance. Like Dum-Dum pops: All sugar, no payoff. The secret is being remarkable (and) relevant, worthwhile, marketable and brand-consistent. Otherwise the milk from your Purple Cow will taste sour. What substance will keep you in the room?

7. Only the WRONG survive. Be incorrect more. Encourage aggressive mistakes. Go screw something up – then go learn from it. After all: The wronger you are, the stronger you become. But only if your wrongness of action is punctuated with rightness of reflection.

Remember: Mistakes are springboards. Mistakes build instincts. Mistakes precede truth. Mistakes reframe creativity. Mistakes reveal individuality. What do you have to learn from this mistake to make it no longer a mistake?

8. Opposites attract, but that doesn’t mean they endure. Especially if there’s no commonality of constitution. No foundational harmony. No overlapping value systems. Because as much as we’d like to think life is like a Beatles song, love isn’t enough.

Love isn’t all you need. Not if you seek sustainability, that is. What are your 2010 relationship goals?

9. The best way to bring home the bacon is to raise your own pigs. That way, you’re the only shot caller. No permission. No committees. No compliance. No decision-making hierarchy. Just you. Wow. Can you imagine how much time, money, effort, energy and stress you could conserve by in-housing your next project?

Ask yourself: What if you bought your own equipment and made it yourself? What if you built everything proprietary and created your OWN studio? What if you never had to hire anyone ever again because you learned how to do it yourself? Just a thought.

After all: Having done it yourself makes you a more educated entrepreneur. Plus execution occurs faster. Maybe being a pig farmer isn’t as bad as it sounds. Maybe Thoreau was right when he said, “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” How much (more) money could you be earning working solo?

10. Your ship never comes in – only your dock gets bigger. Stop waiting for things to happen to you and start happening to things. Practice purposeful impatience and start taking action toward what you desire. Don’t wait for permission. Don’t wait for perfection. And certainly don’t wait until you know what the hell you’re doing.

Just go. It’s only a matter of time before the captain says, “Welcome aboard!” Of course, none of this happens without an eagerly desirous, raring-to-go, restless expectation and dislike of anything that causes delay. That’s the construct of an impatient person.

Remember: Triple your impatience = Triple your proactivity = Triple your profits. What one step could you take now to start moving forward to your ideal future?

What epiphany will you have this week?

For the list called, “65 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me When I Started My Company,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!

Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur

Never the same speech twice.
Always about approachability.

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