Are you ready to succeed in business in the 21st century? The challenges may be different, but the basics of entrepreneurial excellence remain the same. Here are some questions to help you assess if you have what it takes to make it in today’s competitive landscape.

Are you in step with technology?

As we move further into the 21st century, technology will continue to play a bigger role in how businesses operate. This means that business owners need to stay up to date on the latest trends and technologies if they want to remain competitive. One of the most important technologies to be aware of is electronic transactions. This is where businesses will conduct most of their financial transactions. It can have a major impact on how businesses operate. For example, electronic transactions can narrow the time-lag between receivables and payables, which can save businesses money.  Savvy business owners should start preparing now for this shift to electronic transactions.

Are you flexible?

Because the world is constantly changing, and it’s more difficult than ever to predict what will happen next. 54% of small business owners say that flexibility is one of the secrets to their success. So if you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to be able to adapt quickly to new developments in technology and changes in consumer trends. Being flexible doesn’t just mean being able to ride the wave of change. It means being the first to get to shore.

Are you focused?

In a world of constant change, it is essential to know the strengths of your business and stay niche. Flexibility must be balanced with focus, so that you are ready to expand or diversify when needed, without compromising the heart of your business. As winds of change blow stronger, knowing your niche value is more important than ever. So ask yourself, are you focused in the 21st century? If not, what changes do you need to make to ensure that you are?

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is a great example of a company that is focused in the 21st century. The company started with one small shop in 1942 and has since expanded to new franchises all over the country. What has made Krispy Kreme so successful is its focus on its trademark doughnuts. In today’s business world, it is essential to be focused in order to succeed. 

Do you have a plan?

While rapid change may make a five-year plan seem too long-range, the length of vision is not as important as its intensity. The chief value of a business plan is the hard thinking that it engenders. It forces business owners and managers to face issues head-on and examine closely the virtues versus the pitfalls of whatever next steps the business might take. Planning is key to balancing between being too flexible and too rigid.

In an age where variables increase exponentially in every possible area, it is more important than ever to have a business plan. This document will mean nothing without the correct entrepreneurial spirit behind it. Successful business owners live by their goals. Although a good business plan will contain specific, realistic, measurable, and time-driven goals, this has never been more important than it will be in the 21st century. Having a plan is the first step to success.

Are you prepared for your “next life”?

Many business owners make the mistake of waiting until their business is down before selling. However, good timing is the secret to a successful sale. Last year might be too late. Instead of waiting for bad times, sellers should understand that the best time to sell is when business is good. This way, you can get the best price for your business. Being prepared for the next step in business will help you be a successful entrepreneur.

As we head into the 21st century, more and more business owners are preparing for their eventual exit from their businesses. Selling a business is a complex process. With the help of a professional business broker, it can be an educated one. A broker will help you access national and international databases for marketplace information, advertise and qualify buyers, and handle the paperwork necessary for the sale. They will also present and assess offers, and help you structure and negotiate the sale. Even if you’re not planning on selling your business anytime soon, it’s never too early to start preparing a strategic exit plan. After all, the final triumph for any business owner is profiting from its successful sale. 


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