4 Ways to Channel Your Background into Running a Successful Business

As a long-time advisor to new entrepreneurs in the U.S, I’ve long been convinced that each and every entrepreneur–from the U.S or otherwise–has something unique to bring to the table. When starting a business, you can make your heritage and background the key to your competitive advantage.

All successful entrepreneurs seem to display a common set of positive traits, which I believe should be high on the priority list of every entrepreneur and business professional, no matter what your background is. Here, a deeper dive into how you can channel your individual experience to strengthen these traits.

1. Use multi-cultural insights and unique experiences to your advantage.

I find that most new business innovations are ideas from one discipline or culture, applied to another. Everyone has the opportunity to apply what they know to different contexts, and all must continually broaden their thinking and knowledge base.

2. Look at the world as today’s global market.

With the advent of the internet, every opportunity is global, since every customer can see you from anywhere in the world. That means you need to tune your advertising, business model, and product features to meet multiple cultural norms, and have the broadest appeal. Think and act like a world traveler.

That doesn’t mean that you should try to roll out your business globally with your limited initial resources. But it does mean that every move is made with global consideration. For certain, don’t choose a long-term strategy that does not scale from local to global.

From a business perspective, every professional needs to recognize that their domain is now global, not local, and expand their thinking and learning accordingly. This applies not only to finding customers, but also to manufacturing, financing, and future growth. It starts by not giving your company a name that means something totally offensive in some future important market.

3. Go out of your way to meet and learn from others.

Creating and growing a business today is no place for the lone inventor. In this world of rapidly evolving technologies, as well as changing customer expectations, it is hard for anyone to keep up with all they need to know. Success means seeking complementary partners and relationships from backgrounds that differ from your own.

4. Realize that a business requires much time and effort.

Aspiring entrepreneurs need to understand that starting a business is not for short-term returns. Investments all have risks and require a bold commitment of key resources. People moving to unfamiliar environments must understand this investment mentality and stay focused on the desired result.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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