If you know someone who has invented a new product or dreams of working from home in their pajamas, you’re not alone. Entrepreneurship is sweeping the world, and more people than ever are stepping away from the cubicle to explore a more creative and independent life. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit or dream of making money from your inventions, it’s to your benefit to follow well-established entrepreneurs like Glen Wakeman.
Many up-and-coming entrepreneurs and inventors look up to Wakeman because he’s a revolutionary in the business world with a BS in economics and an MBA in finance. He’s also the CEO and Co-founder of LaunchPad Holdings, LLC and once enjoyed a 20-year career with GE Capital. What many do not know is that his success didn’t come with his academic achievements. It came partly from mastering the entrepreneurial mindset. Like many other successful businessmen and entrepreneurs, Wakeman knows that what’s in your mind determines what you do, and what you do determines all aspects of your life.
Wakeman is a respected market strategist, and he has helped many startups establish roots and transform into profitable businesses. He understands all aspects of business, including the difficulties surrounding funding. If you want to start your own business or you have a product that isn’t quite a business, it may help to peek inside the mind of a more seasoned professional like Glen Wakeman.
Your Idea Isn’t a Business
Discussing his role in the development of LaunchPad Holdings, Glen Wakeman was once quoted as saying, “…an idea is not a plan itself.” This hints at a serious mistake that many entrepreneurs make at the beginning of their adventure. They develop a new product that a segment of the population may find useful, and they think that they have a full business. Unfortunately, seasoned entrepreneurs know that you need a lot more than a great idea to establish a business.
If you have an idea or have developed a prototype for a new product, you’re off to a good start. What you need next is a detailed plan that will determine where you go with that product and how you turn that product into a profitable business that you can scale over time. This is a problem that every new business owner faces, and it’s the issue that prompted Wakeman to develop LaunchPad Holdings.
Number Crunching is Essential
Let’s talk about another mistake that many entrepreneurs make: overlooking the importance of analytical observation. Wakeman has shared general overviews of his daily life with interviewers, and the presence of number crunching in his typical day is obvious. He starts each day by reviewing sales and performance stats from the previous day, and he spends a significant amount of time researching his competitors and planning for the future. All of that planning is essential to seeing improvements in those daily sales and performance stats.
The takeaway for anyone aspiring to create their own successful business is to give the numbers the attention that they deserve. When you stand in front of an angel investor, they expect you to know your profit margin and detailed numbers regarding your past and projected sales. They may also want to know how much additional money you will need in the future and how you plan to spend the money collected now. If you don’t know the numbers, you won’t walk away with an investment.
Numbers tell investors whether your business is a sound investment, but they also serve as your guide. The numbers will tell you everything from which marketing campaigns are the most successful to which products are your bestsellers. If you’re not a numbers person, then you either learn or find a partner with that knowledge.
The Why Is Always Critical
Beyond knowing the numbers behind your business, every entrepreneur spends time thinking about and explaining the “why” behind their business. Wakeman has discussed the importance of this in interviews, explaining that he surrounds himself with inspired professionals who can help him understand why his products and services are needed. He stresses how important it is to know who your business will help, what problems your product will solve and why your product is better than all competing products.
There’s another why that every entrepreneur should consider, and that’s your personal why. Determining why you want to develop this specific product or found this particular business will help you identify whether this is the right business for you at this time. Without a powerful why, you won’t have the motivation and determination to push through the obstacles that are guaranteed to come in the future.
The Past Is Important to the Future
When asked what he would do differently if he could start over, Wakeman once said that he would have kept track of the people he met through the years. He has also openly discussed some of the horrible jobs that he performed before becoming a successful businessman and one Spanish language course that changed the course of his life (AboutGlenWakeman). What so many of his personal stories have in common is a respect for his past experiences. This is because your early experiences directly influence your later experiences, and so many entrepreneurs fail to pay attention to those experiences in the beginning.
If you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur or are still sitting in the cubicle planning your escape to a more independent professional life, you’re in the perfect position to do what Wakeman cannot. You can pay close attention to the relationships that you form today and in the near future. You can document your experiences no matter how miserable or unimpressive they seem now. One day, you will likely look back and realize how all of those people and all of those experiences pushed you to the next level of success.
Whether you’re a millennial jumping right into entrepreneurship or a parent with three children and a full-time job, this is an exciting time. Advanced technology has handed most people the resources needed to earn a living from home, and there are creative sparks leading to innovative products everywhere. It has never been more acceptable to serve as your own boss.
Whether you develop your own products or you dream of serving as a business mastermind like Wakeman, the odds are more in your favor today than ever before. The most important step that you can take is to shift from the mindset of a loyal employee to the mindset of a self-driven entrepreneur. Learning from masterminds like Wakeman can help you do just that.
More information on Glen Wakeman at http://analystoffinance.com/2017/12/glen-wakeman/