tips to succeed in business
Be a Salesperson
. Never underestimate how important it is to be able to sell. Its at the top of the list on purpose. Even if you never have to sell to clients unlikely , you will have to sell your ideas to investors, sell your company vision to prospective employees, and sell consumers or customers on your brand. Selling is absolutely critical to your success, so if you have an aversion to it, youd better get over that fast.
. No business is successful on day one. Almost no businesses are successful after year one. If you think entrepreneurship is the ticket to instant riches, you need a reality check. Not only will you have to work hard for a long term goal, you will probably have to work hard in the face of what seems like certain failure at times.
. Discipline isnt just about working hard, but you do have to do that. Discipline is also about managing your entrepreneurial tendencies. Many natural born entrepreneurs are blessed with a mind that is an idea generating machine. The good news is that some of those ideas are gold mines. The bad news is that if you continually pursue new ideas, old ideas never get developed to fruition. And Ive watched one multimillionaire in particular run his busi
. Just leaving the rat race is a huge risk in an of itself. No wonder so few people do it. And if you have a spouse or significant other, realize that they are risking with you whether they like it or not. Everyone has a need for some level of certainty, so if you cant find it in your business, plan on finding it elsewhere maybe for several years at a time.
. Note that this is not called Making Friends important, yes, but not the same thing. Building rapport means building respect, a reputation, and hopefully key alliances along the way. Donald Trump doesnt seem to be the kind of guy youd call your BFF. But he does have the ability to get people to listen and trust him. You will need to build relationships as an entrepreneur, no business is an island.
Be a Leader
. While you may be a natural born follower, as a business owner, you will have to be able to lead. That means trusting an inner compass to guide you when there are no outside indications as to what step to take next. It means having people rely on you. And it even means forgoing the road less traveled for bushwhacking your own path.
. Nobody thinks that running a business is easy. But generally people underestimate just how hard it can be. There can be times as a business owner that for months on end you will be in a state of stress, worry, anxiety, and discomfort. Being an entrepreneur means being able to live and function in this state for extended periods of time, and being able to find a way to shut it off so that it doesnt consume your personal life as well as your career
. To be an entrepreneur you need to be inspired. You will likely have to inspire others such as employees and your first customers who will have to believe in you with no track record. But most of all you will continue to have to inspire yourself, because sometimes your vision is the only thing that can lead you out of one phase of your business and into the next.
. Related to discipline is focus the ability to tune out noise that can distract you from your goal. That noise could be people who doubt you, busywork, doing too much social networking, or perhaps worst of all, the noise inside of your own head of self doubt, fear, or unrealistic expectations of yourself. Personally, Ive only heard about these things, I cant say I know this from experience.
. I am extremely number challenged. Im the biggest of big picture thinkers. So there are times when I am working on a project that I think is going terribly only to finally force myself to build a spreadsheet or break out the analytics and find that Im actually doing better than I had thought. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true, when I think that Im kicking ass only to find that the actual return on investment of time, dollars, etc. isnt wher
. Related to being able to understand the numbers is the ability to look at the numbers in a variety of ways. Sometimes what looks like a dip in traffic/sales/whatever might also be a roadmap to a previously undiscovered opportunity. There are benefits to being a stats a holic, which can often times be a key source of consumer insights that larger companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for.
Ask for Help
. Quite honestly, I dont know one entrepreneur that embraces asking for help. We seem to have a natural aversion to it, in fact. It doesnt make it any less important
. Every entrepreneur has strengths and weaknesses. A good entrepreneur plays to his or her strengths. A great entrepreneur plays to their strengths and builds a business that can compensate for their weaknesses. That means knowing what you arent good at, admitting it, and structuring your workflow so that you dont get in your own way.
Balance Ego with Humility
. You have to have high self confidence to make it in business. Id go so far to say that a little bit of a big ego can actually be an asset it helps to get people talking about you and can help to increase your visibility. But there is a very fine line between a healthy ego and being an egotistical maniac. But bring too much humility to the game, and it comes off as self doubt. Walking the line between the two will never please everyone, either
. Most of all, to get out of the rat race, you need persistence. You need to fall on your face and get back up. You need to make big mistakes and learn from them. Sometimes you even need to fail it may be the only way to succeed. To quote some of my wonderful peers, Your recovery strategy is whats important; avoiding mistakes is not.
. To be successful in business you need to be organized. Organization will help you complete tasks and stay on top of things to be done. A good way to do this is to create a to do list each day as you complete each item, check it off your list. This will ensure that you re not forgetting anything and you re completing all the tasks that are essential to the survival of your business.
Keep Detailed Records
. All successful businesses keep detailed records. By keeping detailed records, you ll know where the business stands financially and what potential challenges you could be facing. Just knowing this gives you time to create strategies to overcome the obstacles that can prevent you from being successful and growing your business.
Analyze Your Competition
. Competition breeds the best results. To be successful, you can t be afraid to study and learn from your competitors. After all, they may be doing something right that you can implement in your business to make more money.
Understand the Risks and Rewards
. The key to being successful is taking calculated risks to help your business grow. A good question to ask is What s the downside? If you can answer this question, then you know what the worst case scenario is. This knowledge will allow you to take the kinds of calculated risks that can generate tremendous rewards for your business.
. Always be looking for ways to improve your business and to make it stand out from the competition. Recognize that you don t know everything and be open to new ideas and new approaches to your business.
. The old saying that Rome was not built in a day applies here. Just because you open a business doesn t mean that you re going to immediately start making money. It takes time to let people know who you are, so stay focused on achieving your short term goals and give the rest time to come together on its own.
Prepare to Make Sacrifices
. The lead up to starting a business is hard work, but after you open your doors, your work has just begun. In many cases, you have to put in more time than you would if you were working for someone else. In turn, you have to make sacrifices, such as spending less time with family and friends in order to be successful.
Provide Great Service
. There are many successful businesses that forget that providing great customer service is important. If you provide better service for your customers, they ll be more inclined to come to you the next time they need something instead of going to your competition.
. Consistency is key component to making money in business. You have to consistently keep doing the things necessary to be successful day in and day out. This will create long term positive habits that will help you make money over the long term.
Find your niche
. This should be something you are knowledgeable about and have an interest in.
Maintain self discipline
. When you own a business, you get freedom. Quite often this freedom paves way to complacency. Your business will only survive if you buckle down and work at it. You have no one to answer to but yourself.
. No tree gives fruit overnight. For the fruit to appear, the tree has to undergo several phases. Similar is the success in any business venture. You need to be patient to reap the fruits of your toil. You need to keep your effort through the lean phase. You need to be steady and focused.
. A brilliant idea alone will not ensure success in business. You need to learn to adapt your idea to the present day needs. Your idea should reach maximum customers with ease. In the initial years, customers will not come to you. You need to take your product or service to the customer.
Get people to cooperate
. Always keep in mind that other people don t care what you want they want to know what s in it for them. By approaching negotiations with an attitude that allows both parties to win, you ll be more effective at eliciting cooperation and ultimately getting what you want.
Be proactive about your career growth
. Approach your performance review strategically by soliciting feedback on your progress, identifying new goals and growth opportunities and hammering out a long term promotion plan. When asking your boss for a raise, be prepared with a list of contributions that have positively impacted the bottom line.
Establish profitable relationships
. Business networking is a valuable tool to gain information, increase your visibility in your field and make connections that will help you move forward in your career. Seek out new contacts and potential mentors whom you like and admire and whose interests you share. On the home front, don t expect your boss to figure out what you re all about. Determine her priorities, find out what she wants from you, and brainstorm ways to surpass her expectat
Learn the business
. If you work for a sizable organization, and perhaps if you dont, chances are your business has considerable complexity. Take time to learn not just your particular role thats table stakes you have to know it , but also to gain a broader understanding of the business: the competitive environment, the market forces at play, the companys value proposition, sales model, pricing model, etc. No ones expecting you to become expert in all these field
Make yourself indispensable
. Take time to really understand what your manager needs. Not just what is needed from you in your current role, but what are the troubling problems that keep him or her up at night? Is it help with PowerPoints, an upcoming presentation to a hostile audience, delicate personnel problems, or dealing with regulators
Provide solutions not problems
. The normal state of senior management is too much to do in too little time. When wrestling with difficult issues in your own area, naturally you cant always solve all the problems yourself. But it definitely can be worth the extra time to not simply make your problems your managers. Instead, present your manager with a carefully thought out range of viable options
Be a great collaborator
. Good team players are valued. Large complex projects always require people with diverse skills. Attitude matters; effective collaborators often find themselves in demand. Consider taking the time to volunteer for a large project that may be understaffed, even in an area outside your core expertise. This can be a way of broadening your skill set and business knowledge, plus demonstrating your motivation. Management appreciates self starters w
Come early stay late
. The best point I can offer here is a story of my own. While Im an advocate in theory for as much work life balance as possible, the fact is, if you want to get ahead, there will be periods in a career where there are no substitutes for grindingly long hours. There was a period in my own career where I was especially motivated by the prospect of advancement and all that went with it, and had great respect for the organization and the work we wer
Have a written plan
. Without a plan, it is merely a dream. It doesn t have to be a book, but you need a few pages outlining specific objectives, strategies, financing, a sales and marketing plan, and a determination of the cash you need to get things done. Writing it all down is a crucial first step.
Don t marry your plan
. Every great military general in history has known that even the best laid plan sometimes has to be thrown in the fire when the bullets start flying. Adjust, confront and conquer.
Keep your ego
. Advisors are crucial because you need people to bounce ideas off, inspect what you re doing, and push you to greater accomplishments, holding you accountable for what you are committing to do. Always be good to your word and follow through on commitments, even when difficult and challenging. This isn t about you; it s about the business. Don t take things personally and stay out of emotion. Do not let your ego take control.
Keep track of everything
. Create written systems for everything, because you will reap benefits from them later on. This is how you train your employees and retain consistency. Know your numbers and check them daily and make all decisions based on what they tell you. One of the most important calculations is cash flow pro forma. Determine how much cash you need to do the business, and do not start without the required cash on hand.
Use the Internet
. It is incredibly powerful and very cost efficient, but it takes time and some skill. It is about creating a community, using social media networking such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogging to build rapport with your market. You need to get on the train and do it, because your competitors are.
Reinvent your business
. It is net profit, not gross revenue, that you want to focus on. Separate yourself from your history and create a new competitive advantage, be it a focused niche or super service, but not by discounting.Above all, have fun. Being an entrepreneur is your choice, so make it work. It can be done. You can survive, emerge and succeed in this downsized economy, if you follow the right path.
Have passion for your business
. Work should be fun. Your passion will help you overcome difficult moments and persuade people to work for you and want to do business with you. Passion can t be taught. When it wanes, as it surely will in difficult times, take some quiet time. Whether it be an hour or a week, take inventory of all the reasons you started the business and why you like being your own boss. That should renew your passion.
Set an example of trustworthiness
. People have confidence in trustworthy individuals and want to work for them in a culture of integrity. The same is true for customers.
Be flexible except with core values
. It s a given that your plans and strategies will change as time goes on. This flexibility for rapid change is an inherent advantage of small over large business. However, no matter the pressure for immediate profits, do not compromise on core values.
Make timely decisions
. It s okay to use your intuition. Planning and thought are good. But procrastination leads to missed opportunity.
The major company asset is you
. Take care of yourself. Your health is more valuable than the most expensive machinery or computer software for the company. You don t have to choose between your family or your company, play or work. Maintain your health for balance and energy, which will, in turn, enhance your mental outlook.
Keep your ego under control
. Don t take profits and spend them on expensive toys to impress others. Build a war chest for unexpected needs or opportunities. This also means hearing out new ideas and suggestions no matter how crazy they sound.
. You need to believe in yourself, in your company, and that you will be successful. This confidence is contagious with your employees, customers, stakeholders, suppliers and everyone you deal with.
Maintain a strong work ethic
. Your employees will follow your lead. It will also help you beat your competition by outworking them, particularly when your product or service is very similar.
Rebound quickly from setbacks
. There surely will be plenty of ups and downs as you build the business. Learn from the setbacks and move on. You can t change the past.
How you treat people
. I believe in this. I don t think you really have to right to abuse people. Some people think that certain groups of people are okay to abuse. I am not speaking from a standpoint of race here either. These people think that it s okay to abuse the help i.e. countless waiters and waitresses, assistants, maids, children. They also think it s okay to abuse what they deem fat people or people they believe are ugly . They believe it s okay to treat
Commitment to the journey
. Here is what I believe is the number one key to success for an entrepreneur. Are you committed? What I am trying to say is that in all of my observations, and from my own experience, I find that the journey is always the same. It s a long road of self examination and improvement, skill examination and education. It s making judgment calls about people, things and situations. You continually correct the course until you are headed in the right d