drkv - 8 Steps to Entrepreneurial Freedom

drkv - 8 Steps to Entrepreneurial Freedom
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    Running your own business is great, it is what you always wanted to do.
    But why aren't you happy with the result?
    The answer is simple – the internet is full of great advice and people shouting from the
    roof "Quit your job!
    Quit this hardship!", they fall victim themselves in believing that a job can be online-only
    with some marketing and growth hacks.
    My name is Michael Kirchhof, and I am sharing with you 8 vital steps to build your business.
    To avoid any confusion – the focus here is not to start-up a business directly after
    graduation; the focus here is on real-world businesses with entrepreneurs with "skin
    in the game".
    Building a respectable business is not rocket-science yet requires a professional approach.
    Entrepreneurs and business owners are plagued with feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and
    to make matters worse; they are often pressured by salespeople with random annoying calls.
    Sounds familiar, right?
    This doesn't have to be this way.
    But how can this be fixed or even avoided?
    The underlying issue is that your strategy is not as sound as you thought.
    Remember that phrase "setting oneself up for failure"?
    As entrepreneurs, we need to be mindful to set ourselves up for success – and success
    means to allow yourself to focus on delivering great service.
    And it also means to allow your clients to see you as relevant to solve a really painful
    problem they have now!
    So let us look at eight steps which help you to ensure building a sustainable business.
    Step 1: The Lean Canvas A good starting point is the Lean Canvas,
    which allows you to summarise your business idea on one-page while making sure that all
    elements of an operating business are covered.
    This process requires several iterations typically as the elements of the business are interacting
    with each other – you as the entrepreneur have to take care of the ripple effect in
    your business.
    Step 2: Business Model With the matured Business Strategy, it is
    then time to focus on the positioning of your company – I am deliberately not talking
    about your brand, as this is something to put your energy on later.
    The positioning is particularly important as it drives the perception of your business,
    how you are communicating it to the outside world, and what long-term measures you have
    to put in to create a solid fundament just big enough for your admired goal with some
    "wiggle room" of course.
    The positioning answers questions like how many product lines are planned, what your
    typical clients are, and how time critical your services and products need to be.
    The sourcing is then about how you can provide these services and products to your customer
    which should be strictly in line with your personal values and your company's mission
    statement.
    Last but not least, it is now time to identify over which channels you are providing your
    services and products (online or offline, if online how where when?) as well as on which
    channels you are spreading the news and insights about you, your company and of course your
    services and products.
    Step 3: Offering and Pricing The beauty of the previous two steps is that
    we now have a solid base to craft the offering and the pricing strategy.
    The first part is based on the positioning and the inherent target group – called by
    some your "niche".
    Your offering needs to aim at solving an actual problem of your clients – not just a service
    you think they will buy without question.
    Remember: You have to have insights into your buyer, you cannot just guess what the other
    one wants.
    Well…you can imagine, but that would be an expensive game to play, maybe even one
    taking you close to ruin.
    Trust me that is the case more often than not.
    Once we have done that analysis, it is time to discuss the pricing.
    In simple words, you have to choose between trading your time for money, or to price based
    on production costs, or if your services and products are mature enough to be traded for
    value earned.
    Depending on your niche, this can be done rather quickly, or it takes some further thought
    into your business and how mature and unique your expertise is.
    Step 4: Year 1 Strategic Goals Now it is time to get serious – time is
    money, as some say.
    What are the most important things to achieve within one year?
    Let me elaborate on the importance of that time frame of one year.
    We choose one year consciously, as it represents a significant chunk of your lifetime (nobody
    wants to waste a year!), it allows your business seeds to grow, it eliminates seasonal effects,
    and it is a reasonable time frame in which you can invest in a business without running
    your bank accounts empty.
    Remember, we aim for sustainable business and not for fame and quick and easy cash.
    It is a marathon, not a sprint.
    We typically recommend taking a helicopter perspective on the business and yourself:
    Where do you see yourself in one year?
    What should be the reputation of your company after one year?
    How should your client list and partner network look like?
    Who and how many should be proud team members of your enterprise?
    Step 5: Q1 OKRs OKR stands for "Objectives and Key Results".
    They are the evolution of successful goal setting and creating the right atmosphere
    and mindset to achieve ambitious targets.
    Leading companies like Google and Apple base their activities on such objectives and key
    results.
    For you as an entrepreneur, you should copy this best practice in an adjusted fashion:
    Assuming you are starting on your own or working with a small team, the approach is simple.
    We set out OKRs quarterly, as this allows us to incorporate the current resources and
    seasonal effects.
    Also, it provides you with waypoints within sight towards your strategic goals.
    The process is easy: For each strategic goal, you define one or a few objectives – for
    each objective then you define one or a few key results.
    Let's look at an example: Assume one of your strategic goals is "The business
    should break even in the monthly accounting."
    The objectives for this goal could be "Attract new customers."
    and "Serve customers well and get paid on time."
    Each objective is then quantified, e.g.
    "Ten new customers signed up." and "Order entry value 20k." – the time frame for
    these key results is derived by our set up of one quarter.
    This simple example shows the power of OKRs – they allow qualitative objectives
    as a very intuitive way to drive behaviour while maintaining accountability by being
    measurable.
    Step 6: Focus on execution With the solid foundation in place, you can
    now focus on the execution – and with the focus, we mean relentless action which is
    in line with your mission statement and contribute to your objectives.
    You see, in the execution phase you don't need to be checking over and over again your
    strategy – you have done your homework and got your briefing.
    In my company, we have those OKRs always in sight on our office walls – maybe that's
    something for you as well!
    Focused execution also means to eliminate any waste in auxiliary tasks, like bookkeeping,
    accounting, payroll admin, invoicing, etc.
    Make sure you have those things covered and don't let them creep into your valuable
    time.
    Oh, and please do underestimate the time you spend on social media promoting your business
    – this is a key pothole for many entrepreneurs.
    If you are one of them, then let's talk to get you out of it.
    Step 7: Cashflow plan and monitoring Every week, it is time to check your lifeline.
    Running out of cash is the main reason for entrepreneurs and also larger corporates to
    go out of business; it is not profitability.
    Even here our focus on the current quarter with an outlook onto the year ahead comes
    in handy.
    You don't need a full set of accounts for this – we apply a simplified approach, which
    incorporates substantial monthly commitments (e.g. office rent and wages; remember to include
    your own expenses), tax payments like employer's contribution and VAT and incoming payments
    according to invoicing date and payment terms.
    This simple calculation is sufficient for now.
    If your projected available cash is greater than 2 months of your regular commitments,
    you are fine – if not, you need to take action on your bottom line.
    Also, take this opportunity to keep your bookkeeping up to date – your accountant will be very
    happy, and it will save you a big headache later.
    Step 8: Spread the word consistently Now as your engine room is set up and running
    smoothly, it is your responsibility to be the most prominent advocate of your business.
    It is important to communicate regularly with your clients, your partners, your network,
    your co-workers and business friends.
    Thank for joining us today!
    Take action now and schedule your personal call to take your business to the next level
    now.
    Click on the link below now and get better now.
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