If you are in business now or are thinking about buying an existing business, here are 7 potent and unusual tips to help you reach success much faster. Lets just jump to it.
1. Don’t do what you enjoy.
This throws people, and I understand that. But the truth is, most successful business owners love what they do…they don’t do what they love. This distinction may seem semantic. I assure you it’s not.
I love playing drums. I might have been able to launch a successful music business, but the odds were against me. For every musician that makes it there are at least 10,000 who do not. Those are not odds I liked so I didn’t even try. Instead, I looked for entrepreneurial ideas where I had an edge and I threw myself into them. I worked hard and grew to love what I do. Maybe you think I sold out but for me, the life I wanted for myself and my family was more important than anything. It was #1 priority. For that reason, I looked for a business where I just had to be very good in order to make a living. Not one where I had to be a virtuoso.
I believe it’s much easier to express yourself in your work and then fall in love with what you do when you are successful.
Find a business you have an edge in, work your tail off and you’ll fall in love with it. Of course, to do this, you have to believe in what you are doing and that you are helping your customers and clients. Most successful business owners love helping their clients. The profits flow from that.
Most of the successful entrepreneurs I’ve met love what they do, but they didn’t start their business out of love.
2. Have a negative attitude.
OK…that might be a little skewed. What I mean is, don’t leave things to chance. Successful entrepreneurs have a business plan that is based on very conservative projections as well as having a Plan B just in case. Make sure you have much more capital for your small business than you think you need. This way, if things don’t go your way, you won’t be put out of the game.
In business, there is so much uncertainty that you simply have to be prepared. It goes without saying that in order to do that, you have to track what’s going on very carefully. So watch what’s going on by doing the books yourself and watch those expenses like a hawk. Look for what might go wrong – while you hope nothing does.
3. Stay grounded.
Over the course of many years, you’re going to have your ups and downs. You must understand that the good times won’t last forever and the bad times pass too. Often difficulties comes one after the other, and it can feel like the Universe is telling you to get out of your business and go back to work for someone else. Sometimes this is true, but make sure you aren’t reading things into the situation.
Lets say you’ve hit a few bumps…OK. Is it reasonable to assume that the business will survive? How severely does this event impact your long-term survivability?
Many people catastrophize events and project out too much negativity. It’s important to be realistic about what’s happening in your business and make the required changes. But understand the real implications and don’t overreact.
4. Be pushy.
Again, maybe I’m overreacting. But you have to believe in yourself and your business. When people ask what you do, tell them how you help people. Don’t be afraid to ask for business. If you believe you are helping people, do others a favor by inviting them to take advantage of your services. Remember, just because you build it doesn’t mean they are going to come. Get out there, share your gifts with the world and don’t be shy. This same advice applies when it comes to starting out. You need to get out of your comfort zone, interview people, find out what potential customers value and follow up. Being self-employed is not for introverts Pilgrim.
5. Spend money.
You are probably going to have to invest in your business all the time, and technology is the number one best investment to make because it’s very scalable. Every dollar I spend on technology returns at least $3 or $4 every year. That’s a pretty good investment.
Look for ways to apply technology to your business that will cut out waste and errors and improve efficiency and customer service. That leads to another place to invest – your staff. Offer potential and existing team members better benefits than your competitors offer… but expect much more from them. Your clients, your team and you will benefit big time.
While we’re on the subject, don’t try to do everything yourself. Hire good people to offload some of the tasks you do. I try to find great people to do things I can’t do well myself. I also hire other people if by doing so it frees me up to do more important things for clients. You should use this too. This will provide a better experience for your clients and help you too. You don’t want to get burned out and fall out of love with your business.
6. Procedures vs. Personalities
You can’t run a successful business if you rely on a single person – even yourself. A business has to run itself. Yes…you need great people…but people come and go. Your clients deserve an excellent experience regardless of who shows up for work today.
The only way to guarantee that experience is to have excellent systems and to stick to them. Get organized. Think about the work flow. Document everything, and then strictly enforce your procedures. This is one of the most important characteristics of successful entrepreneurs that I can think of. If you don’t implement this idea, your business will be hostage to the whims of your staff. Your clients won’t stand for it, and they shouldn’t. Make sure you have procedures in place.
7. Fall in love.
You must find a way to fall in love with your clients. If you don’t care about them, they’ll find another company that does. Having said that, you have to remember not to take things personally. If clients offer criticism, you should be thankful.
They might even fire you, but that could be a blessing too. Remember, they are providing valuable feedback about your business and telling you what you need to change. Just because your business has a problem doesn’t mean you’re a flawed human being. Welcome criticism with the understanding that if one client says something negative, 10 other clients are thinking it.
If you’re already a successful entrepreneur, what tips can you share? What one thing has helped you more than any other?