Inspiring Rare Birds founder Jo Burston offers her top tips for business success.
1. Decide how badly you want it
As an entrepreneur, the biggest decision to make is, ‘Am I 100 percent in or 100 percent out?’ There is no middle ground, there never is.
2. Be comfortable with uncertainty
The idea of being comfortable with uncertainty has to exist. I never know when things are going to start coming at me that I can’t control. But that’s okay.
3. Master your emotions
I have the sense that I can choose how to respond to what happens to me. Emotional control, rapid problem-solving skills, and knowing and trusting in the infrastructure I’ve created all help me resolve the problem, no matter how big it is.
Equally, I never know when I am going to meet the next major opportunity on my journey. I am always mentally prepared for both. The strength of my resilience is a far greater asset than my overall knowledge.
4. Learn from your mistakes
The more mistakes I make, the more I learn and the better entrepreneur I become.
5. Bide your time
Time is always my truth. I never doubt this, my intuition or my gut instinct.
6. Create your vision of the future
With vision, I can start to think about my capabilities and resources. I’m not just talking about the tools, people, skills and networks I need, but how I can create a product that will stand the test of time; is totally scalable, hard to replicate or disrupt. I think about how it makes the lives of my customers more abundant and how it gets them closer to their personal purpose and vision.
7. Understand your purpose
My purpose is not a product, it’s a behaviour that drives an outcome. I want to see entrepreneurship as a choice globally for any woman, little girl and boy. Altruistically, this means that just like being an engineer, a nurse or a farmer there is also a choice involved with becoming an entrepreneur or business owner. Changing that script in the heads of people is my ultimate goal. I want all children to believe they can run their own company one day, if that’s what they really want.
8. Be passionate
I want to have a life where I live with a ‘profitable, smart heart’. I want to live unconditionally, knowing the abundance I create will fulfil me in the ways I want to be fulfilled during my lifetime – emotionally, spiritually and financially. I want to leave a legacy that changes heart, minds and has economic and social impact globally.
Essentially, I want to slide into home base one day, all scratched up, with dirt on my face and my dress flying over my head thinking, ‘If those four bases have been my life then whoa, what a ride!’
I’ve never wanted ‘simple’ or ‘easy’, because the challenge is what drives my hunger to learn more, do more and try more.
9. Look at the external environment
What is really going on out there in your industry and sector? I can absolutely lay hand on heart and say I am familiar with every player in my space. This allows me to create a sandpit they cannot fit into.
10. Create a strategy and stick to it
Often I see entrepreneurs start a strategy without understanding their vision or environment first. Strategy comes after these two elements.
11. Be an authentic, real, candid and vulnerable leader
I walk around in the same meat suit as everyone else. What differentiates my leadership is how I choose to lead – from the front, the side, the back and the top.
Each unique situation requires different leadership and that takes emotional intelligence. This means appreciating the differences between personalities, but also having a relentless, driving vision and an ability to think globally. I’m totally obsessed by what I do and I want people around me who are equally as obsessed.
12. Measure everything
Data can provide insights that are deep, enlightening and useful. It is my language for future strategy, based on past behaviours. I equip myself with resources that provide these insights – services like Xero, the cloud-based accounting software.
13. Sell yourself and your vision relentlessly
I tell anyone willing to listen about my global vision and mission. I would tell a million people my vision if I have a million people listening to me.
14. Back yourself and do it unashamedly
If you want to stand out, then go ahead and stand out!
15. Don’t think like a corporate
Thinking like a corporate doesn’t make you think big, it makes you incumbent and not an entrepreneur.
16. Surround yourself with relationships that matter, not just big networks
My advisory board and peers are world class entrepreneurs and business people. They make decisions. They control outcomes. They have knowledge I do not have and willingly share it with me, as I do with them when I know something they don’t know.
17. Think a decade ahead of where you are now
What do you want to be known for in 10 years’ time? I ‘forward cast’ my name to be associated with the world’s largest hub for women entrepreneurs.
18. Ask for what you really want, not what you may get
Focus on what you really want and don’t be afraid to ask for it. If you only ask for what you think is realistically achievable, you limit your own potential.
19. Be open to change to the point that you wish to be the change that makes others uncomfortable
This shifts paradigms and thinking. An entrepreneur’s polarising thoughts are often the most interesting.
20. Be curious
Read widely and frequently. An insatiable quest for knowledge will provide you with business answers when you least suspect it, and make you a more interesting and engaging entrepreneur.
21. Allow creativity to be a central focus of business, not the other way round
Creative thinking should be at the core of everything you do. Encourage ideas to flow – be creative, experimental and radical – and you’re more likely to produce original and exceptional concepts.
What are your tips for entrepreneurial success? Please post a comment and join in the conversation.