There is so much talk about what you must do to succeed in business. Everything from sales to marketing to measuring your performance to developing the right personality, knowing the right people, having a good brand, knowing your audience, and too many other things to mention.
You name it; someone has declared that it’s important to be successful. And while I agree that some of these things are important I believe that if you don’t do these four things everyday everything else is a waste of time.
You can spend thousands of hours on learning to sell, or developing a marketing strategy, but if you don’t grind, get better all the time and learn. You’ve wasted your money and time.
The most difficult and challenging aspect of running a business is the ability just to grind away every day. 14-15 hours a day 6-7 days a week, not for a month, a year, two years, whatever it takes. While your competitors are on holidays or just slacking off. You’re still working, learning, developing your business, stealing your competitors customers.
If you don’t keep grinding away, you’ll never succeed. Thomas Edison epitomises this attitude. When asked if he failed with the light bulb. He said, “No, I just found 10,000 ways it didn’t work.” And of course, he finally did invent the light bulb. When asked why he kept going after thousands of failures he responded, “with every failure I get closer to success.” And that is the attitude required to be successful in business today.
The challenging part for most people is that we have developed an instant gratification attitude. Corporations have given us the credit card, the own now pay later opportunities. Financial institutions have developed lines of credit. All these things are designed to give us what we want NOW! The problem is we’ve become accustomed to this way of living. So when we hear you will have to work hard for years and years before you have any return, it is no surprise 80% of people just give up within the first 12 months.
Never settling, learning from mistakes. Just focus on getting better all the time.
That’s what’s has made us successful, (4x) was just getting better? Better at knowing our customers, better at producing the product. Better at communicating with our audience. Better at customer service, better at everything that matters to our industry, our market.
The great thing about having a CI attitude is that as you learn more, you adjust your product, service, and systems, to deliver a product to meet the needs of your customers. With this strategy, you can constantly stay ahead of your competitors.
Being open minded to new knowledge is important; learning from others, from customers, competitors, from successful entrepreneurs in other industries. Constantly learning new skills and learning to be a better entrepreneur. Every successful entrepreneur I’ve met has been clever enough to know that they don’t know everything. If you ask a successful entrepreneur many of them will say, they were lucky. Successful entrepreneurs are humble enough to know that it is not possible to know everything.
A very successful entrepreneur in Aviation told me many years ago, he said he didn’t know the key to success. But the key to failure was not knowing what it is you don’t know. And not bothering to find out what it is that you don’t know, was, in his experience the key to failure.
Jim Rohn was always fond of saying, “education will get you a job, but self-education will make you wealthy”. Brian Tracy, said, “it is important to be a lifelong student. Because the more you learn, the more you earn and the more self-confidence you will have.” Self-confidence has been shown to be one of the most important attributes of successful entrepreneurs.
So what is it that you must learn. I believe that there are four areas that you need to develop.
A). Your knowledge about your niche, and your market. Know as much as you can about what makes the key players successful in your industry. What do your customers want? Understand their pain points. What drives them to buy or seek your service. And of course, know how to satisfy that need.
B). We all carry baggage around success and money. It is important to know and understand yours. If you grew up in a poor family that regarded the wealthy with disdain, it is important to address that issue if it is part of your belief system. Or maybe you don’t believe you’re worthy of success. It is important to deal with that as well otherwise that could keep you from achieving the success you desire. Firstly, know what your views and beliefs are around money and success and seek to work on yourself. You are the most important element of your business make sure you have the right attitude. So many first time entrepreneurs achieve success and yet their beliefs about money or success sabotage them. Constantly work on yourself, it’s an important to be successful.
C). Creating a successful business requires a whole host of skills and knowledge. From managing people, negotiating contracts, finding and managing suppliers, working in a team, training your employees, understanding how to create and keep a record of all your financial transactions.
D) I’ve kept this one separate because so many people get into trouble when they don’t learn to manage their money. I think this is one of the most important aspects of operating a successful business. Many people I’ve met are so scared of numbers and money they pay a significant portion of their income to an accountant. What’s worse many of them are losing money and are still paying an outsider to manage their day to day finances. That is not a clever move.
The net cash you’re left with will determine whether or not your business will survive. So at the very least you need to know the difference between expenses and income and you should keep a log of all in the incomings and outgoings and record it no less than once a week. You should know, to the dollar how much it costs you to operate your business on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and if there is any seasonal variation.
We talk a lot about commitment but if you’re not able to recover from a bad week or month, then the rest of this information is useless to you. Let me give you an example. Are you the type of person when you are having a bad day you become angry with the world and take it out on everybody around you. Do you start thinking, I’m no good, this isn’t going to work? If this is your MO, this is disempowering and will not contribute to your success.
Being resilient is attributing the anger and frustration at the thing that is causing you that frustration, not take it out on the world around you. Furthermore, it’s ok to feel frustrated it’s not ok to blame all and sundry for it.
People who lack resilience will take one experience and extrapolate it to the rest of their life. For instance, I’m no good at numbers. Then they extrapolate that out to the rest of their behaviour – because I’m not good with numbers I’m useless.
That is irrational because everyone has weaknesses and it doesn’t make one a useless person. If you believe you are not good with numbers doesn’t mean you can’t run a half-marathon. That attitude makes no sense. We do have a tendency to think like that and that does not serve us well.
Becoming an entrepreneur is not easy, there are so many things you need to learn. We have a tendency because of our instant gratification way of life that we become impatient after a few weeks if things don’t work out the way we want them too.
Remember becoming an entrepreneur is a marathon, it takes a lot of effort. It’s not a race; it’s a commitment. So if you are serious and want to be successful as an entrepreneur. Realise you have to keep grinding, work on getting better and keep learning. Finally, it’s not how many times you get knocked down that matters; it’s how many times you get up.