Keep Calm And Entrepreneur
Pina Patane is the founder of Optimum Entrepreneur. She has been self-employed since 1993, is a serial entrepreneur, and has never looked back. She is a business mentor and advisor. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs succeed and be self-aware. She teaches the Business Model Canvas and facilitates group-mentoring sessions.
Her background is in entertainment, food import, deli and coffee shop and psychotherapy private practice.

Q 1:
What are the most important hurdles you have overcome in your business?

  1. Lack of structure caused chaos slowed my growth: I learnt it is absolutely vital to have a structure for the business. Once that was in place, it guided me and my business grew organically.
  2. Exit plan: I had no idea how to sell my business and learning how to prepare it for the sale was one of the most important learning’s’ in business for me. James Caan states you should think about your exit at least 5 years in advance or from the beginning.
Q 2:
What is the most important piece of advice to someone starting a business?
  1. Do the Business Model Canvas
  2. Get a good business mentor
  3. Know your values so that your brand represents them well
  4. Be congruent with your branding
  5. Have integrity and work ethically
  6. Know your target market very well
  7. Know your competitors business well and watch them at all times
  8. Do detailed, good market research
  9. Do not think that funding is the be all and end all (Bill Gross TED talk
  10. Timing is paramount, does your target market need your product or service when you launch (refer to Bill Gross TED talk)

Q 3:
Did you use a strategy to map out your business? If yes, what strategy would you suggest?
I did and I do. I suggest you answer these strategic questions:

  1. Where is the business trying to get to in the long-term? (Direction)
  2. Which markets should a business compete in and what kind of activities are involved in such markets?
  3. How can the business perform better than the competition in those markets?
  4. What external, environmental factors affect the business’ ability to compete? (Environmental)
  5. What are the values and expectations of those who have power in and around the business?
  6. What resources (skills, assets, finance, relationships, technical competence, facilities) are required to be able to compete? (Resources)

Q 4: Would you suggest a mentor to a start up company/entrepreneur?
Yes, hugely important; lowers the risk of mistakes and business failure. With mentoring, it is about building a trusting relationship that can move your business and you as a business owner forward more smoothly.

Q 5: How important do you think personal development is, for the entrepreneur? Paramount! You are your business, so your development is your business development too.
It is very important to have self-awareness in business.

Last bit of advice…?

Two important questions to ask: Is my business solving my customers’ problem or fulfilling a need of the customer. Business is about fulfilling a need and solving a problem. Do not stray from this, this question should be asked regularly.

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