Like beauty, success is generally in the eye of the beholder. When you started your business, you determined what your revenue needed to look like to justify all of your start up and ongoing expenses. You determined how many people it would take to staff the operation and what marketing strategy is required to get you where you need to be. The results look different for every business owner. Whether you are a veteran in business or just launching your business, there are some basic truths that help business owners achieve the success they are looking for. These 10 tips apply to everyone in the business arena.
1 – Be Organized. You need a calendar to stay on top of your schedule so that nothing falls through the cracks. And speaking of cracks, make sure your work space is always tidy so that you don’t lose important documents like receipts, messages or even legal documents. Keep papers filed as appropriate. If you digitize most of your work, take the time to reorganize your computer files if they are in need. Its worth the couple of hours it takes and your computer is generally happier with the clean up, too! Don’t forget to do your disk cleanup and defragmenter….your hard drive will thank you.
2 – Maintain Detailed Records. If you’re not using financial software, now would be a good time to start. You always need to know where your business stands financially. Keep detailed info about your clients as necessary, file notes from meetings, and don’t delete your emails….at least not for awhile. Having the information available will make answering tough questions later much easier. Your accountant will like you much more as well!
3 – Know Your Competition. You need to know what your customer’s options are. It’s one thing to have a great product or service available, but if don’t establish your competitive advantage with your audience, they have no rational reason to choose you. You have to know your competition to know what you’re up against and what you need to do to grow and retain your audience.
4 – Engage in Creativity. No one goes into any business knowing everything. There’s always room to learn and grow. Be open to new ideas and find creative ways to stand out in your competitive landscape. Without a creative energy driving your business, growth with be stagnant.
5 – Be Willing to Lose. Lose sleep, skip lunch, missing weekends….there are all sacrifices business owners need to be willing to make in order to be successful. As your business becomes more profitable you may lose more sleep and miss more meals because you’ll love the results you’re seeing. Revenue growth is what prepares you and your business for a long, successful future.
6 – Remain Focused. Patience, as you continue to be told, is a virtue. Businesses seldom are successful overnight, if ever at all. While everything is possible, likely you’re going to have some slow, unsteady times as you continue to grow your business. No one truly expected coronavirus to shut down the nation’s economy as it did. Businesses in coastal states aren’t always prepared for the impact of hurricanes. 2020 has been unbelievable in terms of the amount of things that can impact a family or business. One never knows what’s around the corner so its always important to stay focused and prepare for the most difficult times when you can.
7 – Customers are Everything. If you don’t provide great service, someone else will. You can have the greatest product at the greatest price, but if your customer experience is lacking, you may as well offer to drive them to your competitors storefront, because they’re going to make it there anyway. “The Customer is always right” isn’t just a meaningless cliche….it means even when they aren’t correct, you treat them with the greatest service and respect so that they will return. A lost customer is likely a loss of several because an unhappy customer will talk.
8 – Consistency is Key. Doing what works and repeating the process is what will sustain your business overall. Interrupting great systems or habits will create instability for yourself, your staff and even your customers. Whether its how you present your brand, the experience of your customers, or the quality of your product or service, consistency is everything. Remember the last time you went to a restaurant who, any other time cooks your steak perfectly, but the last time it was overcooked? You remember that AND you talk about that experience. Keep consistency as a dominant value in your business.
9 – Understand the Risks and the Rewards. It can be a bit of a balancing act, but to be successful in your work, you need to take risks sometimes. Whether it’s a new hire, a strategic purchase, or the decision to manage an aspect of your business different, there are consequences. With a full evaluation of your decision, with an examination of all the facts, there’s always a degree of risk involved and you can’t always see everything clearly. Educate yourself and do the calculations, this will help to mitigate against any risks turning into major losses.
10 – Be Positive! You will not continue to see growth in your business if you do not have the right attitude. Attitude is everything. Negativity does not breed positive results, it merely feeds your stress levels and blocks your mind from seeing the possibilities. Be positive, and if you can’t, talk to someone who can help you get through the dark days. The dark days are real, but can be shortened AND managed.