The younger of my two daughters called this morning and told me about her excitement for the 2010 edition of the San Francisco International Film Festival to be held in April. According to their website, “…Founded in 1957, the San Francisco International Film Festival is the longest-running film festival in the Americas.….” Her husband’s company handled the tech solutions for the 2009 festival which allowed her to attend many of the functions. During our conversation she told me about some interaction she’d had with the director this week and some ideas she had and I was impressed with her initiative taking. She talked about the importance of building relationships. After we said our “love yous” and “have a great days” I realized that two important ideas came out of our conversation that apply directly to entrepreneurs:
- taking initiative
- building good relationships
Initiative has within it the idea that you go with an idea. It is a “doing” word and means that you take action. Successful entrepreneurs are those who can start something new and follow through. In this time of economic downturn, more small and home-based businesses are starting up. For some, a job layoff is an opportunity to follow a personal passion by starting a home-based business. It takes initiative to:
- turn an idea into a business entity
- take that business entity to a functioning business
Once a business is up and running, it takes daily initiative (that ability to give energy to plans and tasks) to grow and prosper.
Building good relationships is what business is truly all about. Relationships with:
- customers and clients – these are the people who already know you, love you (at least like you) and your products and services; these are the golden relationships because you want (1) repeat business and (2) referrals and (3) feedback. Your current customers, if you ask them (take the initiative) will give you a heads-up on what they like and what they think could use improvement.
- potential customers and clients – how do you build a relationship with people you don’t yet know? You make your public face approachable; you make your storefront friendly and inviting; you hang out a “welcome” sign.
- other publics: build good relationships with your community (through giving back, volunteerism – whatever fits with your business plan); your industry, your competitors
It’s not a rule that you should take initiative, nor a rule that you should build good relationships, but both are good guidelines in building and maintaining a successful business.