The Identity Crisis Plagues Entrepreneur Community

The Identity Crisis Plagues Entrepreneur Community

In the 1998 movie, The Truman Show, Jim Carry played a character who had no idea who he really was. He had no idea that his life was being recorded since his birth of entertainment purposes. He awoke from his identity crisis when someone told him who he truly was. This is similar to the identity crisis that the entrepreneur community is experiencing today.

Much of the problem is that entrepreneurs do not know who they are. Many of them lost their way, getting caught up with business activities, or they simply never knew their way in the first place. Typically when you ask entrepreneurs who they are or what they do (i.e how do you make an income?), they say that they are a owner of a business. As an example, they own a jewelry shop or they sell cars. But that is not what they really do or what really makes them money.

Business Owners are NOT Entrepreneurs

The entrepreneurs who fully understand who they are understand that they are not simply a business owner. Rather, when asked, the entrepreneur who understands who they are would respond that they make money. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But many people who say that they are entrepreneurs, aren’t really entrepreneurs; they are business owners or business managers. The fundamental purpose of the entrepreneur is to make money. Now, how that money is made will differ, but an entrepreneur is a person who makes money…not literally, but their actions result in a positive influx of cash.

An entrepreneur with this mindset has two identities. These identities are what establish them to be the “money makers”.

Marketing Should be Fun

The first and most important of the two identities is that above all else, an entrepreneur is a marketer. You may make and sell widgets, services, or information resources but if you don’t have customers, clients, or patients then you are dead in the water. You will have a lot of great products and services but no one to sell them to. I know that this is difficult for many entrepreneurs because they hate the concept of selling. They think of the used car salesman that sold them their first lemon and shiver with anger. But the reality of it all is that as you become an entrepreneur, you inherit the fact that you are also, or should also be, a marketer, an advertiser, and a salesperson. The beauty of it all is that you are an entrepreneur, so the concepts that you have regarding marketers, you don’t have to follow. You should follow effective marketing strategies but you don’t have to be that salesman that sold you your first clunker. Marketing should be fun. It should be an expression of who you are. If it is not, then you will always struggle with it.

“But Ralph, I just don’t like selling. I feel like I am forcing my product or service on potential clients.” So this brings me to my next identity. The business owner who has a skewed outlook on their offerings because they feel that when they market or sell their widget, they are forcing it on their potential clients. They are suffering from a major identity crisis. They see themselves and their offerings as a commodity instead of a necessity. Commodities come and go but necessities are constant. There is no better example of this than during a recession. The first things that cash-strapped people cut are the “nice-to-haves”. As an entrepreneur, if you identify your products and/or services as a necessity then your offerings won’t be the first to be chopped during the family budget meeting.

In order to identify your offerings as a necessity you have to first identify yourself (to yourself and your customers) as a problem solver.

Regardless of the industry, century, or location, the highest paid people are the ones who solve problems. Think about it. When you call a plumber, electrician, business consultant, graphic designer, or marketing guru, you are calling them to solve a problem. The highest paid ones solve problems well and provide a permanent solution to your current problem. As a business owner, regardless of your business, you should be a solution provider. If you sell jewelry you solve the problem for the husband who is looking for a romantic gift for his wife’s birthday. If you sell household cleaning products then you provide the solution of being more efficient and effective, saving your clients time (which, if I might add, is of immeasurable value).

Characteristics of an astute Entrepreneur

So, no need to visit your local psychiatrist to deal with identity crisis epidemic. You are an entrepreneur. You are a problem solver. You are a marketer. Identify yourself with the characteristics of an astute entrepreneur and you will see an increase in your business.

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Do you know what business you are in?

Do you know what business you are in?

Business Owners are NOT CEO’s

I can hear the answers now: “I am a seller of this thing…”, “I am the provider of this service…”, and even “I am in business to make money.” What I am about to say next will shock most and even more are going to disagree with me. Being a seller of a thing or a provider of a service is not the business that you are in. You are in the marketing business. Your title isn’t CEO but CMO – Chief Marketing Officer. Before you decide not to read any further, let me explain.

Never Outsourced What Brings in Money

How can you be a seller of a thing or a provider of a service if you have no customers? You could have the best product or service, but if you have no customers/patients/clients then you have nothing! Too many business owners focus 80% of their energy (if not more) on non-income producing activities (i.e. activities that could be delegated to staff or outsourced). “But Ralph, I can just outsource my marketing.” Sure you can, but consider this: There are two things that should never be outsourced in a business, the thing that brings in the money (marketing) and the thing that distributes the money (accounting). Every business owner should have oversight over the flow of the money.

God Wants Us to Increase our ROI

As Christians, God calls us to be good stewards over all that He has given us – our souls and the souls we have tied to us, the communities we have influence over, the bodies He has blessed us with, and His finances He has entrusted us with (Luke 16:1-13). God has given each of us a gift, an anointing. He expects a return on what He has given us…A return that should yield increase for the Kingdom of God (Matthew 25:14-28).

As a Christianpreneur, God is looking for a return on the business he has blessed you with. Outsourcing your marketing is a bad idea because no one knows your customers, your niche, and your product/service like you do. Effective marketing is less about telling your customers and prospects about your latest sale, product, or service and more about connecting people with what they need, want, or desire. Who is going to know that better than you – “the seller/provider of a thing”?

The “Set It and Forget It” Mentality

Now don’t hear what I didn’t say. Seeking help from copywriters, direct-marketing experts, and other professionals to assist you in building an effective marketing system is ok, in fact, recommended, but outsourcing your marketing is ill-advised. The ‘set it and forget it’ mentality is detrimental to your business, thus your marketing. Using that mentality, you would wake up one morning and wonder why your business is crumbling around you (Luke 16:2).

So the thing that you sell or the service that you provide isn’t what makes your business…it is the customers that you foster, through effective marketing.

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