While speaking with a delegate at an event I recently spoke at, I was asked about our company name ‘Team Titanium’ and in particular the concept I touched on called ‘Titanium Thinking’; I simply replied that it was a lifestyle choice; a choice to continually learn, change and grow, giving me the abilities to support others in their quests to make a transition from employee to entrepreneur.
He then asked me for any tips to help him to stay focused so that he too could make a successful transition from employee to entrepreneur. I suggested three simple things; always put yourself in the arena; always play to win and always play by the rules.
Let me unpack this for you; always putting yourself in the arena simply means that you need to be in an environment where you can learn change and grow.
Let’s take baseball for instance; to be good at baseball you have to be able to do a few simple things very well. You have to be able to pitch the ball, catch the ball, bat the ball and run. Sounds simple, but if you practice all of those skills in a garden that resembles a postage stamp when compared to a full sized baseball diamond then you will never develop the necessary skills to become really good at baseball.
Recently my good friend ran and completed the London Marathon; now to practice she could have gone on to her local race track and ran around numerous times until she completed that magical 26.2 mile mark, but in order to train properly and achieve the great time she did, she got into the correct arena and took to the streets to learn, change, grow and succeed.
In making the transition from an employee to an entrepreneur, you can’t just read about business while attending business events and playing at business by your own rules and expect to start a successful business.
At some point you have to get into the arena and start performing according to the rules of success; whether it is laying the solid foundations of creating a good business plan or getting a good mentor or a coach to guide you on your journey. That way you put yourself in the right position for growth.
I’m going to take the next two points together; ‘Playing to win & playing by the rules’.
Being in the arena is one thing, but once you are in there you have to put in the effort and play by the rules of that game. For instance; it’s no use being on a baseball diamond and giving it everything you’ve got, while displaying your very best football skills. The two just don’t match.
Playing to win and playing by the rules in business also doesn’t necessarily have to do with other people or businesses; it has mostly to do with you. You see, most people in business fail in business all by themselves, long before they ever actually face any real competition.
I’m talking about the simple things that so many entrepreneurs do wrong; like side stepping making a plan for business; instead they do things that makes them feel good; like setting up a Facebook page and begging friends and people they don’t even know to like them, or creating a website and filling it with useless rhetoric because they haven’t completed a business / marketing plan so they don’t know what they should be saying.
Caring more about who likes your latest picture you’ve uploaded as opposed to concentrating on how your marketing plan is shaping up is a sure indicator you are soon to be out of business or will never make the successful transition to even get started.
Sadly in any given week I can easily point to 10 or more businesses slowly but surely, playing to lose while violating the rules of business success. Don’t be surprised by that figure; every year in the UK over 100,000 businesses start up and over 75% fail in the first year; I’m just watching a weekly tiny trailer of a blockbuster disaster movie.
You’ve got to get into the correct arena, and while you are there, it is essential that you play to win and by the rules; otherwise you can blame no one but yourself for the inevitable.
In closing I shook the gentleman’s hand and told him; there are two kinds of people I meet in business; both sets walk up to speakers after events and ask advice; one set listens but go off to play at business based on their own rules and what makes them feel good; then they actively avoid people like me in the future, until they dream up their next venture to fail at. The other set listens, goes off and gets into the arena, playing to win and by the rules of success. Those people always come back to share their success with me.
Anthony Charles, CEO Choices Magazine
Pick up some top tips from Anthony at the 2014 Expo on 20th May.