My tough love approach (heavy on the love) focuses on bringing order to chaos, and creating solid (and straightforward) strategic plans. I take surveys for fun, never met a process I didn’t like, and am a big believer in personal growth as a keystone to business growth.
If you were to ask a hundred small business owners what makes their companies successful you might get a hundred different answers, but after you collected those answers you’d see them all falling under three general areas. These are the absolute requirements for making things happen in your business, and without them you can expect to struggle much harder.
Take the time to seriously check yourself against each one of these, and think about what changes you can make to execute these even better than you have before.
Never let a day go by where you can’t specifically point at something and say: “This is what I learned today.” That might be:
Looking at one of your failures and working out how to make it a success next time
Skills improvement, both in providing the service your business provides as well as general business skills
Finding out more about the people you serve, what their wants and needs really are, and how they're evolving and changing
Tracking market trends, seeing where your clients are spending their time and money when they're not with you
Personal development, becoming a healthier, smarter, better person inside and out
One method that works for a lot of people is to pick one of these areas and focus exclusively on that topic for about a week. Once the week is up, switch to the next one. For instance: spending all of your time on self-awareness won’t help if you don’t have a good handle on new problems your clients are facing that you should have been helping them with.
The learning process is never-ending, but it can’t be accidental. Attack it head-on.
Related blog article: 3 Reasons Why Processes Change Everything
#2 – Set Specific Goals and Stick To Them
Goal setting is great, but have you ever met someone who keeps changing their minds about what they want? It gets frustrating quick. The same thing applies to having too many goals: if you have a dozen things you ultimately want to accomplish, that’s the same thing as having no goals at all. Having your energy and attention scattered in a dozen different directions is a sure way to get nothing done.
This is why Mission Statements exist, and why people create a Vision for their companies. Get these brief, clear and public statements well-defined. Work on them until they are absolutely perfect. Then, print them and frame them so they won’t change, and put them where you can see them so you never forget what everything you do needs to be aimed at.
Related blog article: One Crazy Simple Powerful Productivity Tip
There is just no such thing as a successful business owner or entrepreneur who lives in a bubble. At the very least you need to meet people who can direct you to new clients, as well as people who can offer you the benefit of their experience. You can save yourself years of frustration and headaches by listening to the advice of people who've one where you're going before you.
Just remember: not all networking opportunities are made equal. It’s important to hunt around for the specific people who have achieved success, are in your target market, or have massive life experience.
For instance: if you spend all of your time at “business breakfasts” filled with a dozen Scentsy reps, real estate agents, and accountants, but your business is selling iPhone accessories in a booth at the mall, you need to look for another setting where you can get more value.
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