Winning strategies

According to Bryan Pearce, Director, Entrepreneur of the Yearand Venture Capital Advisory Group at Ernst & Young: “Our Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists and winners have ‘cracked the code’ for achieving extraordinary growth in challenging economic times.”

Well, if they’ve cracked the code — you and I need to see it.

So without further ado — let’s peel it back and extract 8 reasons these entrepreneurs are in contention for Entrepreneur Of The Year and how you can apply this code to your own entrepreneurial aspirations:

1. Have a Unique Perspective on Risk

This one seems like a no-brainer. What other segment of society is willing to step out with crazy ideas like entrepreneurs? But here is the deal for those of you on the fence — get your tail off it. According to the report, “a majority of entrepreneurs indicate they believe entrepreneurs are born — not made”.

So see? You were born to do this. But you have to take a risk and start. You have zero — repeat zero — chance of winning the game if you’re not in it. Starting today.

2. Demonstrate Resilience and Rapid Recovery

Tenacious as a bull-dog — rock star entrepreneurs simply don’t give up. Yes — they get things wrong from time to time. And yes — they get knocked on their rear once in awhile. But guess what? They get up and try, try again. Most times in a new direction.

3. Embrace Innovation

Hurling through space at the speed of 67,000 miles per hour. Can you imagine it? Yes — that’s us here on planet earth as we fly around the sun.

Now take the break neck pace of technology and knowledge advancement we’re experiencing in our current time. Dare I say it’s whipping along at the same ridiculous speed. Which means you better build a culture of innovation into your business lest you get run over from behind.

According to the report; “Entrepreneurial companies are the predominant sources of radical innovations. While older and larger companies can also innovate effectively, more established companies tend to resist radical innovation that might displace their existing revenue streams in the short term. Successful entrepreneurs know their ability and propensity for innovation can make them an attractive investment, acquisition or partnership target.”

Key takeaway? You better always be thinking ahead about the next big thing.

4. Focus on Core Competencies

Basically, the best entrepreneurs become laser focused on the things they do best and outsource the rest. Perfectly rational — but you’d be surprised at the number of entrepreneurs who miss this part. You simply cannot be all things to all people — and you should never try. So nail down those things you and your team really excel at and focus on those.

5. Plan Your Strategy – S.A.M.

No matter what industry you’re working in, the classic acronym SAM – Specific, Achievable, Measurable – applies to all winning strategies. Your ultimate goal, tempered by the lessons of the past and lessons from your competitors, must be all three. If they are not, start over. If they are indeed specific, achievable and measurable, then you have the foundations of a winning strategy. Just remember to stick with it for the long term.

6. Competitors’ Successes and Failures

While it’s human nature to marvel at your competitors’ products, grow envious, then try to copy them, it is not always the most profitable route. Take for example Apple’s seminal iPhone and iPad, which revolutionized smartphones and tablet computers, and the slew of imitators that followed. The imitators, mainly from Asia, were unable to match Apple’s numbers, and instead lost money while giving Apple free advertising with inferior products. On the flip side, however, Japanese automakers like Toyota and Honda were able to imitate American automakers Ford and General motors so successfully in the 1980s that they almost caused the collapse of the Motor City in 2008, and created the perception that Japanese autos are cheaper, better made and more fuel efficient, which persists to this day. Imitating your competitor’s success is a 50/50 venture, although the later entrant to the competition will always start at a significant disadvantage.

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