Self Made Entrepreneurs

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Almost all highly successful Entrepreneurs built their businesses from scratch.

That means they did not inherit their wealth. Nor, incidentally, did they marry it. They did not start in business with a pot of money. Most come from modest backgrounds, many from outright poverty — growing up in homes with no indoor plumbing, or in inner city ghettos, or other similar circumstances.

That means they did not begin by stepping into a family business – the few in this group who did, turned tiny, ordinary businesses into much more exciting, much more profitable businesses. They did not purchase already established companies.

And most started in their first businesses with little or no directly relevant education or apprenticeship. Many came from mundane jobs: car mechanic, hotel busboy, waitress, and so on.

Most have focused on ‘renegade’ business ‘models’.

Many have, by deliberate strategy and preference, kept their businesses ‘small’, in terms of numbers of employees and money captive in buildings, equipment or infrastructure, even in terms of gross sales — yet NOT in terms of net profit taken home.

People assume that growing business and wealth is about more staff and more offices – but true Renegades find their wealth grows significantly as they reduce both.

So from where comes the wealth and the success?

The answer is simple: positioning.

Successful Entrepreneurs come to realize the major part of success is to be found at the higher end of their market – no matter what that market it. The traditional view of business is to compete on price and to make up with volume of sales for the dramatically reduced profits that come as an inevitable consequence of the price-wars that always result.

But this never works – first, because all their competitors drop their prices, too, so the market-distribution falls back to what it was before the price-war; and secondly, in the very rare cases where sales-volume does increase, the extra work involved can be crippling.

On the other hand, selling to the high end of the market means profits are higher, the work easier and less daunting, and the class of customer or client better (price buyers are hard to please, love to complain and are responsible for most of your headaches). Fact is, it’s easier to sell one Rolls Royce at $100,000 than it is to sell a hundred $1,000 used cars.

Successful Entrepreneurs, then, deliberately position their businesses and themselves as the experts in their niche.

They do not try to be all things to all men and women, and by cultivating an air of aloofness and even mystery, they assure the demand of their market for them (after all, no one jumps through hoops to visit the guru at the bottom of the mountain).

-chris cardell