Life Lessons For Entrepreneurs – Barry Dunlop Reveals His Entrepreneurial Secrets
Updated 1st October 2016
It appears that a lot of you enjoyed the interview with my father last week (He keeps reminding me!) Anyway, what you did not know was that my Dad actually recorded his replies as an audio (Podcast) and then had the replies transcribed. Now some of you commented about the length of the interview – but it could have been much longer to start with — as today’s Podcast will prove.
Also a lot of you emailed / contacted Barry after the interview with questions. One recurring theme was “What does it take to be in business and stay in business for so long?”
In today’s slightly shorter piece, Barry reveals his: Life Lessons For Entrepreneurs
Life Lessons For Entrepreneurs – By Barry Dunlop
Sub-Title: Things I wish I Had Known As A Young Entrepreneur
No1: There are NO guarantees.
Let me say it again, there are no guarantees. I quite often meet people who have gone into business and one year down the line, two years down the line, or even just one week down the line they are all depressed and down in the dumps, because somehow somewhere they made a mistake. They actually thought there were some guarantees that come with being an entrepreneur. Regrettably there are not.
There will be occasions when your customers will not pay you. Terrible, I know, but it will happen. Secondly, there will be occasions when the people who supply goods to you, or services to you will let you down. That is just the way it is, accept it.
And thirdly, and possibly the most important, a lot of the time your customers will think all of these issues are actually your fault, and it is not. Just get on with it. Really there are no guarantees.
As an example, I was recently speaking to a Young Entrepreneur who was involved in Affiliate Marketing – who had just discovered that almost $1000 of commissions that was due to them would not be paid because the company they promoted had gone bust. I have to say, in fairness, this individual had a pretty positive attitude about it. They had accepted that was one of the things they were going to have to put up with and were getting on with their business.
Yet I have seen other occasions when people have been so down in the dumps. Sure, they have lost 1,000 dollars, but they are so down in the dumps after losing 1,000 dollars, that actually, in fact instead of losing 1,000 dollars they have lost 10,000 dollars, or even 20,000 dollars because they lost FOCUS in their business.
When you have your disappointments, which you will often have as an entrepreneur – get over them ASAP. Actually, get over them before they start, because there are no guarantees.
No2: Know the Numbers
I can’t tell you how many times I meet entrepreneurs who don’t know the numbers. They don’t actually know if they are making money or not making money with a business.
I don’t consider myself an accountant or somebody who is particularly good with numbers but I do understand this – I have to have more coming in than I have going out.
If you don’t know for a fact that that is the case, then stop what you are doing right now and go find out. If it so happens more is going out than coming in – then ask yourself what you can do about it? Take less salary? Reduce your “entertainment” costs? There is always ways to save money in a business.
Of course sometimes in business (especially if it is a start-up) you will have less money coming in than you have going out for a little while – in that case, it is even more essential you know the Numbers!
No3: Perfection is for suckers.
I think I originally said Perfection is Over-rated but really SUCKERS makes the point much better.
Some of you will have already heard me say: “That good enough is good enough” or mention the 51 percent rule. If you are right or correct 51 percent of the time you are a winner. Take those odds to Vegas and you would bet all day at 51 percent.
Too many people decide that being in business is about being perfect. Let me tell you it is not about being perfect. In fact, being in life is not about being perfect. We are imperfect beings and we will continue to be imperfect all of our lives.
Please remember, perfection is for suckers. Remember good enough is good enough. Sometimes getting a product created, just getting it out there is all that really matters.
I will be fair; I will give one exception to this. If I was in the hotel business, or a restaurant or something like that, where it is a real intensive service business, sometimes good enough is not good enough — then you would perhaps aim to for a good deal better than 51%
But listen, if you are creating a website, or you are getting a new product or service out there and you are working and fine tuning it, you could fine tune it for the next six months. Get it out there. It is just a simple fact as that. It will not be perfect, but you can perfect it later, and you can start to make money sooner.
The longer you wait for perfection the longer you wait for money and the longer you wait for money the less likely you are ever going to get started in the first place.
No4: Tame the ego
Wow this is an amazing one. Tame the ego!
So many of us in life are always, always, always wanting to be the center of attention, to be seen as the big person. I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in my life.
Tame the ego. The ego will fool us and will trick us.
Another way of putting it is: please, please, especially if you are a business owner, give credit (praise) to others. The people working in your organizations, the people who are working with you are partnering with you.
I discovered that the more credit (praise and acknowledgment) I gave to other people somehow the more credit I got myself. I can’t really explain it, but the more credit I give away the more I get back.
I think it was Zig Zigler who said, that you can get everything in life that you want if you help enough other people to get what they want. . Please tame the ego, I promise doing that will serve you well.
When you can be the modest entrepreneur who is raking in millions and taking it to the bank, that is an absolutely awesome feeling. Of course don’t confuse this with having low self esteem – no successful entrepreneur has that. What I am saying is that in your organization and as a LEADER you build yourself up by building others up. Do not go around as the BIG Ego / superstar — even if you might think that is the case.
No5: You will never have an AWESOME / Out of this world Idea in the office
One thing which I especially have worked out in recent years is that you will never have a really awesome, mind blowing, out of this world idea in the office.
I am not saying that you won’t occasionally have some ideas in the office or while working in the business but I will say I have had my best ideas away from the traditional working environment.
I get some of my best ideas when out for a walk or even on the treadmill at the gym. One of my favorite pastimes is to walk the dog along the beach here in West Sussex in England – these days I take my iPhone with me and make NOTES on it when I have ideas – but you can also use a voice recorder or just a sheet of paper and pen.
Please, please get out of the office or normal work environment more often. Go to places where you can relax and just let the subconscious take care of whatever your challenge is. Your subconscious mind is your most obedient servant. What you ask it with intent -it will answer. But if you don’t ask and don’t get in the right environment, it will not answer.
Thinking hard does not work, but relaxing hard does.
No6: Success, is not the goal. Happiness is the goal
Success, whatever that might be, is not the goal. Happiness is the goal. When we go into business some of us think, “All right, success is the goal. I want to make this amount of money, I want to have this car, I want to take this holiday, I want to live in this home.
Those may well be some of your goals and they may well be worthwhile goals, and maybe they are goals that you will achieve. However, I would emphasize and just change it slightly and say, “Really, happiness is the goal.” This is a bit of a metaphysical situation here, I don’t want to go into it in detail, but just remember that happiness is the goal.
No7: Winners are Givers
When I first went into business, or first got into personal development people said, “Barry, associate yourself with winners. Hang out with winners and you will be a winner.” It is a good saying and I agree – but recently I have changed it a little.
You see, as I have got older I have discovered that the real secret is that Winners Are Givers.
Winning entrepreneurs are always givers. They are people who, obviously, support worthwhile causes, support charities. But they are also the kind of people who will lend a hand with a tip or some encouragement at a critical moment in your life.
<<< Barry is a very enthusiastic supporter of Heal.co.uk – a charity that provides education for Children in India >>>
I mentor a number of young entrepreneurs (and even not so young) – people that I love and I care about. This is just one way it is possible for me to “repay” the help I have received from my many mentors over the years. You see, what goes around, really does come around.
I believe fervently that entrepreneurs make the world go round. I know free enterprise and capitalism is much maligned and much put down, but for me being an entrepreneur is one of the best things in world to do. Entrepreneurs set both themselves and others FREE. Imagine what the world would be like without entrepreneurs?
Winners are naturally givers and entrepreneurs are naturally givers in my experience. Be proud to be an entrepreneur.
No8: Fall down seven times, stand up eight AND Money grows on the tree of persistence
Both of the above quotes are actually Japanese proverbs
I like them because for me they represent the essential secret to success in anything and especially as an entrepreneur.
Listen; there will be many times in life when we will fall down, the important thing is to stand up again. Get up again.
I have probably fallen down a lot more times than seven times. But I have stood up a hell of a lot more times than I have ever fallen down. That is possibly the single most important lesson that anybody needs to learn in life.
Life is about evolving, it is about becoming, I hope, a better person as we move along. We certainly shouldn’t be becoming a worse person.
Don’t give up if at first you don’t succeed, because you won’t succeed at first (no one does)
And for me, there will be times when you are going to be down. There will be times when you feel quite down. But the important thing is to get back up again. Fall down seven times, stand up eight. That is a grand mantra, that is a great motto for any entrepreneur to take forward with them.
Thank you to all the people who contacted me after my last interview. There are some links below of a few of the websites I am involved with.
You can also follow / contact me on Twitter and Facebook
BARRY’S WEBSITE LINKS:
Have an AWESOME Day