Thankfully, we don’t have to guess or wonder what it takes to be successful in business. The answers are in the stories behind every successful businessperson, who has been kind enough to share them.
Here are 4 things I have seen over and over again, in every successful businessperson I have ever studied:
1. Expert advice
Successful businesspeople invest in expert advice. As a result, they make better decisions and take the right actions, for what they need to achieve. Unsuccessful businesspeople do the opposite. They try and do too much themselves and immediately lose ground to their successfully guided competitors. They literally set themselves up to fail, under the misguided belief they are actually saving money.
The stock reply whenever I speak with someone, who refuses to pay for specialist help, is that they can’t afford it. The belief here, is that every small business, other than theirs, has access to a stack of money. The reality is very, very different.
It’s about priorities!
I spoke with a guy recently, who “can’t afford” a professionally designed logo – yet he “can afford” $4 a day (over $1,200 a year) on a “grande” cappuccino.
I’ve discussed this bizarre approach to business with scores of people over the years and the general consensus, is that this is what happens when someone without a business mindset, decides to start a business. These guys focus on loss, so they lose. Successful people focus on achievement, so they achieve.
2. Comfort zones
All business owners will tell you that they work hard, and most of them do (really hard.) However, hard work is not the key to success. If it were, our grandparents would have been millionaires!
Here’s where the difference is: Successful businesspeople work hard doing what needs to be done, whilst their less successful counterparts work hard doing what’s most comfortable. Successful business owners love what they do, but realise that they often need to break out of their comfort zones if they want their business to grow.
Less successful business owners only really leave their comfort zones, when pushed by external factors – like the loss of a major client or another problem that forces them to s-t-r-e-t-c-h. As a result of this unwillingness to grow, their business reaches a certain point and stays there, spinning it’s wheels; until they retire, go broke or learn how to take action!
As human beings, we are all of equal value. However, in business, we each have a value; based on what we bring to the marketplace. This is why some hard working people earn minimum wage and others work the same number of hours and earn 7 figures every year.
Here’s what we know about people who are commercially successful. We know that they associate with other, commercially successful people. This is because they understand the massive power of association. As my friend Michael told me, when I was starting out in marketing, 25 years ago:
Jim, hang around with enough people who are going nowhere and one day, everything they have will be yours!
You should always be aware of the impact your associates are having on you and your happiness / success. Why? Because everything we come into contact with has an impact on us, either positive or negative. When it comes to our associates, especially those with whom we habitually associate, it pays to ask ourselves some questions about the impact they are having on us. For example:
- What have they got you reading?
- What have they got you saying?
- What have they got watching and which other voices do they have you listening to?
- What have they got you believing?
Even well intentioned associates can knock us off course, without meaning to. It’s up to us, to filter out the negative influences and spend more time around those who help us be happier and more successful.
The most successful businesspeople I know, are lifelong learners. I don’t mean they just read books, buy programs or attend seminars / training events. I mean they learn from life. They know that if they try something and it doesn’t work, they need to learn from it and move forward. They see a bad result simply as valuable feedback. This attitude means they become better decision makers and action takers, because their “mistakes” are of value to them.
Now, compare that approach, to the approach used by people whose businesses spin their wheels. These guys keep repeating the same errors. It’s why they make so little progress.
Remember: If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!
A common example I see in my profession, is when business owners waste years, trying to improve their marketing by doing it themselves. They grab information from the Internet / newsletters etc – NONE of which has been developed for them, their business or their skills or resources. This actually costs them massively more in both time and money, BUT it’s comfortable and as said in the previous section, they love being comfortable above everything else.