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Think Like an Entrepreneur

Learn the four habits you need to cultivate to build the million-dollar business of your dreams.

Most self-made millionaires in America are entrepreneurs, business executives or self-employed professionals. By becoming knowledgeable, proficient and skilled in the operations of a successful business, you dramatically increase the probability that you'll earn a lot of money, achieve financial independence and become a millionaire yourself in the years ahead. As it happens, all business skills and behaviors are learnable through study and practice, and the most successful businesspeople in every area practice important habits. Your job is to adopt these habits and then apply them in all your business activities.

1. Understand the purpose of a business. What's the purpose of a business? Some people say it's to make a profit. But according to Peter Drucker, "The purpose of a business is to create and keep a customer." All profits are a result of creating and keeping a sufficient number of customers and serving them in a profitable manner.

The most important habit you can develop for business success is the habit of thinking about your customers all the time. Develop an intense customer focus. Put yourself inside their hearts and minds, and see everything you do from your customers' point of view. Morning, noon and night, you must develop the habit of placing your customers in the center of your thinking in all your business activities.

2. Achieve the power of clarity. Perhaps the most important word in business and personal success is the word "clarity." You must be absolutely clear about who you are as a person and what you're trying to do or accomplish in your business or work. You must develop the habit of thinking carefully about every detail of your business life, and then take the time to achieve absolute clarity in several different areas.

Begin with your vision. What's your vision for your ideal business future? Just as you need an uplifting and inspiring vision for yourself and your life, you need a vision for your business. Make it a habit to continually define and clarify this picture. Practice "idealization" in the creation of this vision. Imagine that you have no limitations and that you can create your business any way you want.

3. Determine the perfect business description. Think about the words you'd use to describe your business if it were perfect in every respect. What would they be? What words would you want your customers to use in describing your business to other potential customers? If you could select the ideal words and put them into the mouths of your customers, what words would you choose? What words do you want the people inside and outside of your business to use to describe you and your business activities?

For example, if everyone around you described your business with the words "excellence, quality, wonderful customer service, high integrity, great people, best products, speedy follow-up" and so on, would this be helpful to you? If so, how could you organize your business activities to assure that these are the words people use when they think and talk about you sometime in the future? The greater clarity you have with regard to this ideal description, the easier it is for you to do the things that are necessary to make these words a reality.

4. Choose your mission and a measure. What is your mission for your business? A mission is always defined in terms of what you want to accomplish with your business for your customers. A mission always contains a measure of some kind that you can use to determine whether or not you've completed your mission.

For example, for many years, the mission at AT&T was to "bring telephone service within the reach of every American." It took almost 100 years for AT&T to complete this mission, but the mission never changed until it was achieved.

A company might say, "Our mission is to supply our customers with the best products, backed by the best customer service in our market and, as a result, achieve sales and profit growth of 15 percent per year."

With a mission like this, strategic planning, marketing, sales, policies and procedures all have a central focus that make it much more likely this mission will be accomplished. What's your mission for your business and your customers?

The very fact that there are many hundreds of thousands of men and women who've started from nothing and become millionaires in business and entrepreneurship means that you can achieve these goals for yourself, if you just learn how. The only limits on your results are the limits you place on yourself with your own thinking. By developing the thinking habits of successful entrepreneurs and businesspeople, you'll eventually overcome all your obstacles and difficulties, achieve all your financial goals and become financially independent. Nothing can stop you.

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