In order to succeed, you must create your own rules and disrupt before being disrupted. No doubt we live in extremely transformative times. With the fourth industrial revolution and a stream of technological innovations rapidly creating whole new industries, products, services, and occupations, the race to seize this upside of disruption is off and running. I have learned the entrepreneurs who are more disruptive grow faster, create more jobs and attract more capital. You can’t disrupt the market by doing the same as everyone else
Putting yourself out there can be tough, it was for me! I’m naturally shy and so I had to force myself to become a “joiner” and not be afraid to walk into a room not knowing anyone there. I looked for positive role models that I admired and found supportive communities to help me think bigger and learn by example. And, I’ve found that if you ask for help, people are very willing to share their time and knowledge. Just be prepared to learn from successful, influential people wo have already made their mistakes! I have made some amazing connections that will help propel my business to the next level. Without my constant networking, it would not have been possible.
One thing I decided early on is that I wanted to run a business on my own terms, which meant I wanted a business with purpose. I wanted my company to stand for sustainable values and do no harm and I set out to work towards that unified purpose.
Purpose-led companies are focused on doing work that makes a real difference, so they are committed to becoming the best, rather than the biggest. When ‘purpose’ becomes a company’s compass, it spurs creativity, which in turn drives innovation and customer focused growth. While it has not always been easy, there’s a great deal of satisfaction that comes with knowing you have stuck to your values and got everyone aligned to achieve business success.
It’s tough to get a business off the ground without money, and no one wants to finance you when you don’t a have a track record, three years of good numbers under your belt and a 5-year business plan! In my case, I was awarded a small agricultural diversification grant to test the waters with my new invention – a new approach to rodent control. With the assistance of the North Dakota Ag Department, I was able to bring new jobs to the state as my business grew. You have to get really creative at the beginning and then surround yourself with very smart people as you grow. Good financial planning is key to the health and wealth of your business.
There are times when you will doubt your sanity. When those around you think you should just go and get a “real job”. But it’s your dream, your destiny. If you care about what others think then get out or get a thicker skin. Tough it out—especially when the going gets tough, as it will. But above all else believe, in yourself, your idea and your ability to make this happen.