I have many times heard the same question asked in a myriad of ways, “How do you succeed in business?”. Over four decades of working in diverse industry sectors with multinationals to sole traders, I would answer that this requires a multi-faceted response. There are so many sides to success (even the term success can be defined in many ways) that it would take several books to address the question in any depth. We are going to look at a few dimensions that I would argue are almost indispensable. Here is part one of two articles.
Inspiration and perspiration
1% of one and 99% of the other. Nothing will substitute for effort. Having said that, many of the businesses I have seen fail have relied on the false premise that hard work will deliver success. Beware those who profess “Build it and they will come.” This only ever worked in the movies. Sweat most certainly will not bring success on its own; but an absence of hard work will inevitably deliver failure.
A thirst for knowledge
Very few of the successful individuals I have known (both in business and personal life) were absent of this trait. Knowledge is both wealth and power. The process of acquiring knowledge can be compared to diamond mining. An enormous amount of overburden needs to be processed to present you with the odd gem. But if you can take that gem and use it every day in your life, you will benefit from the process.
Follow, lead or get the hell out of the way. The truth is that few of us are truly inspirational such as the likes of Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela or Emmaline Pankhurst. But each of us can help others grow and develop. It may not be flashy, but over time growing those around you will set you aside as a leader. Suffice to say that an absence of people policies in business, success will be elusive.
Each of us has a value set whether we like it or not. Assuming you have a strong value set (you are highly unlikely to succeed in any area of life without one) you need to ensure that those values are projected on to all stakeholders in your business; employees, clients and suppliers. If you can surround yourself with good people, your chances of success increase immeasurably. Write down your values and publish them. If nothing else, it will provide a measuring stick.
Grow a thick skin
Being sensitive to the thoughts of others may be a desirable trait to some. But in business (and life in general) this will stunt your personal development and cost you focus. If you can’t hear valuable criticism it is simply not possible to improve. In a seeming contradiction you must be able to filter out negative and irrelevant disparagement. In life there is no shortage of opinions. Ignore those without value.
Almost indisputably the primary reason for that oft quoted statistic – 75% of businesses fail within the first three years (or whatever your personal variant is). Failing to plan is planning to fail. Consider your business journey like a road trip. You would not open the car door without knowing where you wanted to go and what time you had to be there. For reasons completely beyond me, the vast bulk of business entrants do not pass this most simple of tests.
If you are not doggedly determined to succeed – you won’t.
It’s as good as it gets at the start
Business is all about relationships. This rule is worth remembering. If you are embarking on a new relationship; be it business, social or romantic, if it is awkward at the start it almost certainly won’t improve. First impression count for a lot.
If you would like to improve your success in business contact Warren Maris on 0438 008 593 for an obligation free discussion. You have nothing to lose except perhaps an hour or two of your life. I can guarantee that you will walk out of that meeting with new ideas to help on your journey to success.
“I have not failed, I just found one thousand ways that don’t work.” – Thomas Edison