You go to work every day and you wonder if there is more to this. The daily drag of getting to a place of employment where you dread almost every moment is a far too common story. You may dream of starting your own company to achieve… something different than what you are doing now…to start loving life with the work you do.
How do you do that? The new book Main Street Entrepreneur: Build Your Dream Company Doing What You Love where You Live (Entrepreneur Press; May 2016), which captures the best lessons learned and stories from these entrepreneurs who operate successful businesses from Main Street USA.
Looking to find what it takes to create a successful and thriving business, lifelong entrepreneur, business consultant and university professor Michael Glauser geared up for an adventure. He visited more than 100 cities across the USA, and interviewed 100 small-town entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs found a community that they love and then found things they loved doing in that community in order to create a business to take care of themselves and their families.
Mike Glauser and the team are encouraged about the future of small town businesses.
Here are some of the key strategies to success they garnered:
- Start with a Clear Purpose.
Successful entrepreneurs are driven by a purpose bigger than themselves. While they realize they need to make money to be sustainable, none of the 100 entrepreneurs we interviewed mentioned money as a primary driver. It is not what motivates them. Instead, they want to do something they are passionate about, solve a problem that intrigues them, create jobs in their town, provide phenomenal customer service, and change the world in their own way.
- Build on What You Know.
Successful entrepreneurs build companies in industries they understand. About one-third of the entrepreneurs we interviewed worked in the industry in which they started their business. Another third had worked in a related industry. The remaining third were serious and frequent users of the products, so they understood the industry from the customer’s perspective. The better you know your industry, the greater your chances for success.
- Launch Opportunities Not Ideas.
Ideas and business opportunities are not the same thing. Our business failure rate is high because people launch ideas. A true business opportunity meets these conditions:
- Customers, and
Your chances for success go up significantly when you prove there is a need for your product, you have adequate experience, you bring together sufficient resources, you have customers committed to buy, and your business model is sound.
- Develop Your Supporting Cast.
Successful entrepreneurs thrive on the experience of others. They recruit talented individuals to fill in the gaps in their skill set. They build teamwork at three levels:
- they create a “Brain Trust” of mentors with expertise they need,
- they build a core team of partners who join them in the venture, and
- they develop strategic partnerships with individuals and companies who can help them grow their business.
Talented teams can go further and faster than any individual working alone.
Glauser points out that many jobs are going away because of technology, and many baby boomers are staying in their jobs longer, which means self-employment has to be a bigger part of the picture.
“The truth is, not everyone can build a Facebook, Google, or Amazon, but anyone with passion and tenacity can do what these entrepreneurs all across America are doing. All you need is a powerful purpose, real world experience, passion and tenacity to start living your American Dream,” says Glauser.
Entrepreneurship is increasing in small towns. It is evolving and changing. There is a surge to wanting a simpler life. People want to move out of bigger cities and many of them are moving into smaller towns.
Main Street Entrepreneur describes who is operating businesses successfully in small towns across the United States and identifies how they are doing it.
“These are business owners who are experts at creating more with less in terms of money and resources,” Glauser observes. “They are experts at building community and rallying people around them to help support their businesses. They are able to pivot and make adjustments to their businesses based on what the community is telling them. And they focus on providing service, building community, selling great products and/or services.”
It doesn’t matter where you live any more. If you can find a tribe or a community of people who love what you do, that can benefit from the product or services that you’re offering, provide phenomenal support, have a cause behind it, then you can be one of those successful folks who live in paradise in a small town outside of a metropolitan area.