Building a Successful Business – The Power of Thinking Big and Small

In many successful entrepreneurs’ life there will be times when the big picture is not as crystal clear as you would like it to be meaning that you do not know exactly where your business is heading. This is not something that we are always proud to announce although it is a fact that many successful entrepreneurs will attest to.

You may have worked for a couple of years with a big picture/vision in mind only to find that your achievements successful or not does not really fulfill you they way you intended it to. If you find yourself in a position like that many a consultant would probably tell you to “work hard, follow though and soon you will create the results you are looking for.”

My take on this would be from a different perspective. First let me state that in order to achieve the success that you desire it is very helpful to have a crystal clear vision in your mind of what it is that you want. However, sometimes visions simply are not as crystal clear as you would like it to. The reason for this could very well be that you have been taking almost too much action and you are now finding that your cup is too full for any clarity to enter.

If this rings true with you these are a couple of suggestions that I recommend for you to consider:

1. Free yourself of the burden that you need to be crystal clear about your vision at all times. Sometimes it is okay not to be crystal clear and to accept that you may be in a “in between” period of building your business

2. Evaluate your business network. If it is not serving you rather resign than stay. Some networks can be very pushy and you do not need that at a time like this. It simply serves no purpose other than added pressure

3. Allow yourself as much time as possible to evaluate what has worked for you so far and consider what you would like more of in the future (you may want to allocate a certain period of time for this)

4. If you need to finance some free time, you may consider doing some temporary work that is not at all related to what you normally do (this frees up your thinking)

5. Do surround yourself by people who understand that you may be in transition and whom are supportive of that. No one needs the added pressure of having to explain or justify where you are at and how you feel at this stage

You will find that after some time of emptying out you will begin to feel in touch with your vision as you make time for it to slowly emerge. Maybe you are finding that your original vision is reappearing ready for a “makeover” meaning you might want to do the same in some other form or perhaps you are finding that you are moving in a different direction.

Giving yourself permission to move into “small/slow mode” can turn out to be a very wise decision. In a nutshell what it does is that it allows for the vision to unfold itself rather than you trying to make it happen.

Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Successful Business Owner?

I consider myself very lucky to be doing something I love. Having my own business doesn’t feel like work and I happily start each day filled with enthusiasm. My only regret is that I didn’t start working for myself much earlier and save years of feeling bored and unfulfilled. Back when I had ‘a job’, I didn’t even consider owning my own business to be an option, I didn’t know anyone who had their own business and thought they were a breed apart!

Perhaps they are. Having met with and studied the owners of many small businesses over the last decade, I have seen many whimper and fall by the wayside while a select few have gone from strength to strength. Here, in no particular order, is a list of traits of successful business owners for you to model:

1. Determined - to overcome the many challenges that will undoubtedly present themselves. Don’t stand by helplessly hoping that someone will bail you out. Look for a way over, under, around or through whatever obstacle is standing in your way.

2. Quick to take action – opportunities come and go and have to be grabbed with both hands! Those business owners who adopt a wait and see attitude will often miss out. Taking action quickly can literally be the difference between success and failure.

3. Single Minded – it’s so easy to be distracted by all the great business possibilities out there but this can lead to a lack of focus and dilution of effort. You need to avoid becoming distracted and deal with one goal at a time.

4. Far-sighted - having a clear picture of what you want to achieve really makes a tremendous difference. Keep that image in their mind and watch it take shape as they complete each step.

5. Flexible - this attribute helps enormously when plans go awry! When something doesn’t work out, you need to learn from it at find another way to move forward. Sometimes a short detour is needed before you get back on track.

6. Ready to listen – if someone’s already been there and done that, it pays to listen to what they have to say. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel if there’s a perfectly good one that you can use.

7. Optimistic – while it’s foolish to hope that a miracle is going to happen and make you succeed against all the odds, staying optimistic and upbeat will help you through some of the difficult times.

I suggest you print out this list and keep it where you can easily see it. Review the points every day and ask yourself which you need to work on right now. Oh, and don’t forget to let me know what difference they make in your business!

© Louise Barnes-Johnston, 2008

Successful Businesses Begin With the Basics

Who to believe? Some say that the economy is great, others say the sky is falling. Honestly, I don’t know who to tell you to believe, but I do know that when the economy gets this way it is a perfect time to start a small business. Have you, or will you be one who takes that step and start a small home-based business this year; possibly joining some network marketing company? If so then you MUST read on.

Business Failure Statistics

Not to start out negative, but… The small business failure rate is initially very high; the chance for a small business to succeed increases after the five year mark. According to a report in the May 5, 2004 issue of USA Today, the failure rate of small businesses is as follows:

  • First year: 85%
  • Second: 70%
  • Third: 62%
  • Fourth: 55%

Why Small Businesses Fail and What You Can Do to Avoid the Statistics

You just read the statistics, but what are the reasons? More importantly, what can you as a small business owner do to avoid becoming one of those dreaded statistics? In this article, the basics of your business will be briefly discussed.

The above statistics are, of course, reflective of small businesses in general. There are many important aspects to running a successful business today. Such as: financial requirements to get the business started, generating/developing revenue, managing and controlling growth.

But there are a few questions that you must examine and ask yourself first.

  • Passion – What is your passion, and why do you want to start your own business?

How do you find your passion? A question we all should ask at least once in our lifetime. The three questions below will get you on the road to finding your passion.

  • What would you do if you could do anything and not fail, and money was not an option?
  • What people-group touches your heart?
  • What story in the news causes you to take action?

The answer to these three simple questions is quite possibly your passion.

  • Vision – What is your vision, and do you know how to communicate it?

To communicate your vision it must be:

  • Crisp – you must be able to share it while on an elevator ride
  • Clear – when the people walk off the elevator they should be able to explain it to others and
  • Compelling – those same people on the elevator will want to get involved with you to help reach that vision.

If you are like many who are asking, “How do I find my personal vision or a vision for my organization?” the following questions will help you on your quest:

  • Look within you: What do you feel?
  • Look behind you: What have you learned?
  • Look around you: What is happening to others?
  • Look ahead of you: What is the big picture?
  • Look above you: What does God expect of you?
  • Look beside you: What resources are available to you?
  • Understanding that you no longer have a job, you are the boss. What is the difference?

Are you really good at what you do, so good that people continually complement you on your products, services, and/or your attention to detail? Then one day you decided (or are planning) to leave the world of getting a W2 and entered the world of being an entrepreneur. All of sudden everything is up to you; you are the boss. A boss now working more hours than ever before, getting paid less, and carrying more responsibility than when you were an employee. The good news is there is hope – your business can be all that you dream it to be. A business that provides you with a great living and utilizes your talents and skills. However, in order to reach this plateau you must have a plan of action, operational systems and a great business coach to help put your business on the right track.

  • Systems run successful businesses, and people run the systems. What systems are needed in every business?
    • Profit Analysis – Increasing your bottom line by analyzing your prices, margins, and costs.
    • Marketing – Understanding how you attract your customers, and how to attract even more.
    • Time Management – Maximizing your time by working more “on” your business.
    • Organization – Without structure you will never be able to build a long-lasting business.
    • Staff and Leadership – It has been said before, but it is true, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
  • A well equipped team will result in a thriving business? How are you developing leaders in your business?

Not only do you need to be growing your leadership skills, you need to be growing your staff’s too. But you must first hire them, and how you choose them is critical. What should you look for in a team player? The list below was provided to me by Pat Williams of the Orlando Magic.

  • Assess ability – Choose team players well, according to how well their strengths and skills fit the goals and tasks of your organization. Ask yourself, “Why does this person want the job? Ambition, a love for this kind of work, a sense of calling, an eagerness to succeed in our organization? Or has this person simply failed in three or four previous jobs?”
  • Choose coachable people – Coaching keeps a team synchronized, harmonized, and growing together. A team without coachable players is not a team. It’s just a collection of flying egos.
  • Think “Chemistry” – Talent sticks out; chemistry is harder to see. It’s the magic ingredient of a winning team. What we call “chemistry” is really a combination of a lot of factors: ability and skill levels, drive and ambition, personality, emotional makeup, values, communication, and people skills.
  • Strive for balance – it is very important to balance skills in order to generate effective team success. No team is full of Michael Jordans, therefore, you have to find people with specialized skills to fill the positions on your team.
  • Recruit the best – build a quality team out of quality people who are always reaching for the next level of excellence, both individually and as a team. This will help you work smarter rather than harder.
  • The final – and perhaps most important – think about acquiring top talent to build a successful team: Invest for the long term. Make today pay off tomorrow. You have to plow some ground, plant some seeds, and do some watering if you’re ever going to reap a harvest. You must invest in your team.

Internet Business Success – Consistency & Action

Internet business success has a few key components. One of the most important is consistency.

Consistency appears in your business in a number of ways.

Let’s talk about consistent action in this article.

Many business tasks are routine. Let’s take building traffic for example, the life-blood of your online business.

There are a number of free traffic-building techniques that work over time. For example, blogging. Blogging is all about building a large website with rich content, all related to the primary focus of your web-based business.

The internet business accelerator is about accelerating your internet business. Notice the consistency in the headlines and subject material?

As your blog grows, your readers will come to expect a certain consistency in subject material, quality, and the way you express yourself. Variety is great, just stick mostly to one theme.

Consistency is also extremely important when it comes to how often you post. If you post twice in a day, then don’t touch your blog for months, expect a complete lack of results.

What you want to do is to repeat small, simple, effective steps time after time, with as little of your own time and effort expended as possible.

Speaking of blogs, creating and posting regularly to a blog about a specific subject is a great way to develop the discipline of repeating simple easy steps on a regular basis. If you can’t do that, it could be because the market you are trying to appeal to does not appeal to you.

You can not afford to get bored with your web-based business just when it starts becoming successful, because when it does, you still have to consistently deliver the quality material that got you to success in the first place.

Consistency is a key internet business accelerator.