Success in Business
Is every step you take towards achieving your goals a struggle? Then it’s time to take a different approach.
Like everything, failure has a pattern, and success has a pattern. It’s getting the right combination, in the right sequence for it to work.
Here are 10 well documented rules for achieving success by great achievers:
Rule 1: Be Decisive – You become the person you are by the decisions you make. The direction of your life changes the instant you make the decision as to which goals you want to achieve.
Rule 2: Keep Focused – Whatever you focus on will grow, so put that focus on what you want to achieve rather than what might be a distraction.
Rule 3: Write Down Your Goals – Use ‘smart’, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed to set out your goals in detail.
Rule 4: Have a Detailed Plan – Having a plan helps you to orchestrate all the steps you need to achieve your goal. You may change the steps as you progress of course but make sure changes are part of your overall plan.
Rule 5: Build a Success Team – Surround yourself with people who can help you achieve success and steer you on to bigger things. Ignore the nay- sayers.
Rule 6: Failure Is Good – Don’t let failure take you out. Make a decision to learn the lesson. Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. Even if you have to down tools for a while, it’s okay because this gives you the time out to re-strategize and re-launch again.
Rule 7: Purposeful Action – You can have a great plan, but without taking action you won’t be going anywhere. So take daily actions towards your goals, no matter how small those actions might be.
Rule 8: Track & Monitor – Make sure you observe in detail everything that is working (and those things that aren’t so you may eliminate those) mapping out the progress against your bigger plan.
Rule 9: Reward Yourself – Always! No matter how small the successes…celebrate it in some way that is meaningful for you.
Rule 10: Commitment – Make it a personal commitment to yourself that you will achieve your goals. Make a personal promise to achieve what you set out to do.
If you never get round to writing a business plan (let’s face it, they’re only really necessary if you wish to get a loan or attract investors), always have a marketing plan.
A marketing plan will:
- Keep you on track
- Allow you to measure results
- Know where to adjust your marketing strategy
- Spend only on ‘what works’
- Test and measure on a small scale
- Enable you to plan constructively
- Lowers risk and needless spend
- Enable you to have fun!
It’s necessary of course to implement both online and offline marketing strategies. But try not to do everything at once – or you’ll end up totally overwhelmed and do nothing. Just start on one strategy at a time.
But by not planning your marketing activities you will likely have the following:
SYMPTOMS include …
- Adhoc marketing activity
- No idea of return on investment
- No system in place to test on a small scale
- High marketing costs but little return
- Cash flow is erratic
- Vision and direction is unclear
- Uncertainty in what actually works
Try adding one new marketing strategy per month. At the end of the year you will have implemented 12 strategies.
Always test small and track what is working and what isn’t. If something is going well, let it run! If something needs adjusting change one thing at a time and measure the response.
Here are 12 quick and easy marketing ideas you can implement:
- Join the conversations on Twitter, Linked-In, Face book and other social networking sites that might be of interest – great for creating an online presence. Join me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/wendyhoward
- Add an interesting video or clip of your company to You Tube, make sure you include a link back to your website. Visit www.youtube.com
- Start blogging or set up your own blog for free at www.blogger.com
- Submit articles to publications which are of interest to your target market.
- Share helpful tips by email or online networks.
- Approach local radio by offering to give a professional view on an article of personal interest that is currently in the news – this is very popular with broadcasters.
- Offer interesting talks to local groups – preferably ones with a large following of your target audience.
- Offer a free ‘how to’ report or free tips from your website.
- Send a weekly informative or helpful email just to keep in touch with your database.
- Gather testimonials and use them to promote your business.
- Set up a referral system and make it easy for people to make referrals. Sometimes it’s as easy as asking.
So there you have it, 12 easy to implement marketing strategies and best of all – they are all FREE!
Most marketing doesn’t work. Your job is to find out what does work. Have fun and be creative, but ensure you are consistent in your approach and track and test everything you do on a small scale first.
What does your personal image say about you? How important is it to have a positive personal image? Can it increase your business success?
You may consider the image of your company, your logo, your website, your business cards – all of which give a message about you and your business.
But when it comes to your personal image are you aware of the message you’re projecting to your potential customers? Or how important that message is as to whether or not they do business with you?
Research has shown that by making a few simple adjustments to the colours of the clothing you wear, it has the potential to increase your sales by as much as 33%.
Personal image can be adjusted to help increase your confidence at interviews, sales and giving presentations. And it’s important to present yourself in an authoritative light during meetings or to project an assertive manner when in direct confrontational situations. If necessary, your personal image can be softened, to make you appear more approachable and to gain rapport in more sensitive situations.
Understanding personal image, impact and presence allows you to ‘read’ others well, and enables you to present the image that gets your message across as you want it to be read. Your personal image is a powerful communication tool.
How well do you think you fare with your personal image and ability to use it to communicate with presence and impact?
SYMPTOMS include …
- Not feeling confident in personal dress sense
- Missing subtle body language or hand gestures
- Thinking image doesn’t really matter
- Dress down Fridays means wearing jeans and a tee-shirt
- Saying that ‘people have to accept me as I am’
- Inability to adjust pace and tone of voice to meet the situation
- Feeling tired, faded or outdated
Go through your personal image step by step. Make a conscious effort to co-ordinate your clothing and accessories. Become more aware of body language and any subtle gestures. Observe your voice, your tone and pace of delivery during meetings and other day to day situations. Change one or two things about your personal image and take note of the effect on others.
Being aware of your personal image and using it to project a positive and confident image is immensely empowering.
Step 5: Ability to Present with Confidence
It’s our greatest fear – public speaking!! In fact, it’s often said that people fear it more than they do the act of dying.
And yet, delivering a powerful presentation has the effect of propelling you forward as an expert in your field quickly and easily. It’s also one the greatest ways of selling to wider audience. Why sell ‘one on one’ when you can sell ‘one to many’?
But why is it so difficult?
Fear of presentations can cause your fight or flight mechanism to go into overdrive. This can make you tremble, sweat profusely and feel physically sick.
For many people the fear of presentations can stunt their career or become a barrier to business growth.
In other words, you owe it to yourself and your business to master this skill. Presentations give you the opportunity to show others how talented and fabulous you and your business is.
Do you fear giving presentations or just lack the skills to do them well?
Check out the following:
SYMPTOMS include …
- Avoiding situations where you have to speak publicly
- Feeling overwhelmed at the thought of presenting
- Unsure of how to plan a presentation
- Feeling light headed or shaking with nerves
- Self-conscious or lacking in confidence
- Uncertain of what to talk about
- No format to follow
Make a list of short topics that might be of interest to your potential clients. Choose topics you are comfortable with. Use case studies and weave success stories into your talk.
Your business will only grow to the extent that YOU do. Giving presentations is a key leadership skill, but few know how to do it well. Good presenters are not born, they are made. They follow formats, and master techniques that allow them to deliver with ease.
Note: Overcoming deep fears of presentations is something that requires training in techniques that really work. This report is too short to go into this and the techniques are best practiced in a positive and safe environment. See G.R.O.W. Giant Results, Opportunities & Wealth programme.
Step 4: Build Your Key Relationships
“If you could do it by yourself, chances are you’d have done it anyway by now”, how many times have you heard someone say that? Reality is most people struggle on by them-selves trying to do everything in their business. This is fine if you want to end up exhausted, working all hours available and still not reap the rewards you know you deserve. It’s an easy trap to fall into.
The truth is most activities while vital to the smooth running of your business, do not earn you an income. They are expenses. If you’re the business owner then you need to concentrate the majority of your time on sales and marketing to grow your business, while outsourcing everything else.
Building a successful business is about ‘relationships’ and finding those key people who will make it all happen for you. Firstly, it’s about the team you build around you to grow your business. This team should consist of experts specialising in their particular expertise. For instance, my team consists of a virtual assistant for administrative tasks, technical support for online marketing, design/graphics persons for creative flair, and a book-keeper for accounts. I also use a number of specialised services already set up and easy to use. This allows me to concentrate my time on supporting my clients, business development, and sales & marketing activities. And if you notice, my team is a ‘virtual’ team.
The second part in developing key relationships is in putting together a high performance team that matches your business needs. You need to be able to identify those people who compliment your personality and skills and fulfil a valuable role on your journey to success.
Build a virtual team around you to grow your business, giving you the right balance of complementary skills. Understanding team dynamics of motivation, nurturing, challenging and working through stressful times are skills used in all successful relationships.
Building relationships is also about setting firm boundaries and guidelines with those people you work with, do work for, or go into joint ventures with. This prevents you from falling into difficulties (or falling out with someone) at a later stage.
Let me give you an example of lax relationships that could cost you your business. A building firm found out to their great cost that they should have set up a firm contract at the beginning of the working relationship. But they were so busy doing the work for the client that they’d not got round to setting up a firm payment structure. By the time the building company got round to invoicing for their work, they were owed over £265,000. The client, who was a ‘good friend’, went into liquidation and the building company never received any payment for their work. This almost cost them their business and yet, it’s totally avoidable.
Often small, family run businesses have difficulties because they’ve brought people into the business based on an emotional decision rather than what is best for the business. For instance, to help a family member who needed a job! Or, to motivate someone to do something positive with their life. The reality is these people are not always the best choice for your business and if you’d interviewed them under normal circumstances, you’d never have given them a job!
Most problems with relationships or teams will often show up as follows:
SYMPTOMS include …
- Arguments, bitching or placing blame
- Lack of motivation or lethargy, lateness, absence
- Low commitment to personal role
- Not following regulations
- Speaking negatively about the business, team or individuals
- Poor contribution in the workplace
- Complacency in their role
Use your list of business activities you set out in step 1. Do the tasks match up to the person currently completing them? Does the relationship work well? If not, why not?
Are you still doing everything yourself? Then it’s time to look at outsourcing some of those tasks and building your virtual team. Who would you like to have on your virtual team? Make your list.
Do you set firm agreements with everyone you work with?
Do you have a firm agreement when setting up work contracts or undertaking joint ventures? Are your payment terms and conditions clear? Do you state your lead times? What do you say about your delivery and quality of service? What’s your cancellation policy? What is your guarantee?
Relationships can make or break your business. Setting firm boundaries or formalising arrangements early on prevents problems later. It also says a lot about you, and your expectations for your business success. People will take you much more seriously. They are more likely to trust you and want to work with you when you have set clear boundaries. This gives your business a professional front.
Step 3: Discover Your Leadership Style
I’ve always found it fascinating to learn about my own leadership style and how amazingly accurate some of those analysed reports are!
A key part of growing as a person and also in growing your business is to learn all you can about ‘you’ and your leadership style. And I’ve yet to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy learning more about themselves.
But what’s the point of discovering more about your leadership style?
Well, in many instances you’re conditioned to do the work you do because it’s what you know (and sometimes fell into out of personal circumstances) rather than what you’re good at. So learning more about your personality, your innate qualities, gifts and talents is often like discovering ‘you’ for the first time.
And secondly, we’re a society that tends to concentrate on fixing weaknesses rather than promoting strengths. The problem with this is you rarely get to use your natural gifts and talents for the majority of the time. You put so much effort into fixing your weaknesses and trying to mould yourself into someone you feel you ought to be in order to please others, rather than who you should naturally be.
Identifying your leadership style allows you to know your personal strengths and weaknesses and then you can work on developing the natural path for you in business.
Understanding your leadership style also allows you to gain more insight into those people you work well with, and those you don’t get along with. Often for the first time you will understand ‘why’ others may differ to yourself in making decisions, approaching problems, or being reactive or proactive in various situations.
How well do you know yourself? Complete the following questions:
- I work best with people who are …
- I like to make decisions based on …
- I’m better to delegate the following to others …
- My strengths are …
- My weaknesses are …
- I work better in an environment which is …
- I don’t suit working in an environment which is …
- The type of person that frustrates me the most is …
- My natural tendency to problem solve is to …
If you’ve never discovered your natural leadership style and nurtured your innate qualities then perhaps it’s time to do so. But how do you know when it’s time to discover your natural leadership style? Look for the symptoms that say it’s time to learn more.
SYMPTOMS include …
- Frustration of current circumstances
- Inability to make the progress you’d like
- Conflicting views with others you come into contact with
- Confusion as to what work suits you best
- Feeling like a square peg in a round hole
- Boredom, or simply drifting along with what you currently do
- Feeling like a fish out of water
Imagine you are re-writing your life story again. What would you choose to do, be and have in your life? Write it all down.
Analyse your strengths and weaknesses and pay particular attention to your natural strengths.
How can you promote your natural strengths through your work or interests?
Identify your weaknesses and decide whether there is any benefit to improving these. Often it’s easier to find someone with the skills and aptitudes you don’t have who will compliment your strengths.
Many small business owners waste precious time and effort trying to do everything themselves. This limits the life of your business and stops growth. Identify what YOU should be concentrating on while delegating or outsourcing everything else to others.
Leadership is being true to oneself, discovering innate qualities and gifts, and continuing to learn and develop your unique intelligences.
To go back and read the 1st Crucial Step to Achieving Giant Results – click here
Step 2: View Sales as the Lifeblood of Your Business
How do you feel about sales or having to sell to someone? Chances are you don’t particularly enjoy the activity. If you do, that’s fantastic, you are in the minority.
Sadly, in my experience it’s often the most dreaded activity of small business owners and solopreneurs. Picking up the phone and cold calling, or following up with prospects doesn’t happen as often as it should.
Infact, the No.1 reason most businesses fail is not because they have an inferior product or service. Not because they lack desire to be successful, or are afraid of hard work. Not because they don’t have knowledge in their particular field of expertise. They fail for one reason and one reason only – they can’t or are reluctant to sell. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
It isn’t just the lack of skills to sell; it goes much deeper than this. It’s the inability to overcome the ‘fear’ of making those sales in the first place. And that’s what stops you from picking up the phone and making those sales calls. It stops you from following up on those leads. It stops you from making that final call that should have closed the sale. It’s your emotional response to the sales situation and the inability (lack of skill) to handle the sales process. This is what kills your business.
Sales is a skill anyone can learn. It’s a simple process of opening, presenting and closing. But if you are weak in any one of these areas, then that’s where your sales process is breaking down.
On the other hand, if you are someone who finds yourself doing mundane activities (its called procrastination) instead of picking up the phone, or following up that lead then it’s most likely you have a deeper psychological reluctance (or fear) to sell. In which case, your emotional response in the sales situation will be taking you out.
If this is you then please don’t be alarmed as you’ll be in the majority of small business owners and solopreneurs if this is the case. But let’s check this out right now.
Do you find yourself saying any of the following when faced with a sales situation?
- I’ll do follow-up calls tomorrow, or later in the week
- I don’t like to bother people when they’re busy
- I’m sure they’ll think I’m a nuisance, or being too pushy
- They won’t like me if I keep calling them
- Perhaps I’ll send a letter, email or brochure instead of calling
- I don’t want them to ask me something I don’t know
- They haven’t replied so must think I’m too expensive
- I don’t want to be a pest, I’ll leave it for now
- I’ll do it after I’ve had another coffee or filed these papers, walked the dog, got myself organised …
- And more …
SYMPTOMS include …
- Low £-turnover
- Poor customer service
- No sales system in place
- Inconsistent follow up
- Feelings of anxiety
- Depression and low self-belief
- Business failing
The good news is there is a cure!
- Do you have a step by step sales process taking prospects through to paying customers? Review what you currently do.
- Do you regularly track your sales progress and identify where you can make improvements?
- How do you feel when making sales calls or following up by phone?
- How do you feel when dealing with sales face-to-face?
- How confident and competent are you at giving a sales presentation to a group of people?
- How competent overall do you rate yourself in sales on a scale of 1-10? (1 = poor, 10 = excellent).
Emotional barriers (often subconsciously) and lack of skill prevent the sales process from moving forward. Fear of sales manifests in self-sabotaging actions and subtle messages you give yourself.
True sales training will enable you to change on a psychological level so you feel confident at every step of the sales process. It’s also one of the fastest and quickest ways to bring immediate cash into your business. In short, sales training is the best investment you will ever make. It brings benefits to all areas of your life – as well as your business!
To read the 1st Crucial Step to Achieving Giant Results – click here
Step 1: Review Your Personal Performance
Your success, whatever your field, whatever your qualifications, whatever you do, does not rely on the economy and the fluctuations in the market place.
It really does all begin with YOU.
How is your current performance? How is the performance of your team or those you choose to work with? How well are you navigating the difficult waters during fluctuations in the market place?
One of the problems faced by many small businesses and solopreneurs is the daily struggle to ‘get it all done’. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day to day running of the business that it leaves no room for working on business strategy, or marketing. If this is you, you’re not alone. It’s a very common problem.
You probably went into business because you wanted to have flexibility, more choice and at the very least some financial gain. But, being busy and working long hours, often for little financial reward is not how it should be. It’s crucial to take some time out to work on your business rather than in it. And yet, it’s a trap many fall into only too easily.
The reality is that when I ask a group of small business owners ‘how many of you have a business or marketing plan for your business?’ almost 95% don’t have one.
When I get into the deeper day-to-day running of their business, the reality is that it’s often very chaotic. For instance, business direction is unclear and the focus is on survival. Marketing is a random activity and the thought of sales, cold calling or making sales presentations is often terrifying! When you’re in that position it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees – or get the results you’d love.
The reasons are often very similar:
- Lack of concentrated working time
- Inability to concentrate on those tasks which make a difference to the business
- Inability to step back from the business as too busy working on day to day issues
- Lack of tools & techniques to enable working smarter, not harder
- Vision and direction is unclear
- Inability to plan effectively
- Lack of delegation skills
- Resistance to change
- Prioritising ability is poor
- There’s only ‘me’ to do everything
- And more …
SYMPTOMS include …
- Stress, often high level
- Erratic levels of income (feast & famine)
- Poor business growth
- Low concentration levels
- Lack of focus & direction
- Make a list of all your business activities. Include every task that you currently do.
- Set out each business activity under a main heading of Administration, Accounts, Sales, Marketing, Personal Development, Product/service development, Strategy/Planning.
- What percentage of time are you currently spending on each of these activities?
- If you were able to concentrate only on the tasks that brought income into your business and allowed it to grow, what tasks would you choose?
- How would your business look if this was to happen?
Amazing results in personal performance can be achieved by making a few simple adjustments. Learning key skills to set goals, delegate, prioritise, plan, and work towards a clear vision sets you apart in business.
WHAT’S YOUR SUCCESS & FINANCIAL BLUEPRINT SET FOR?
If you are not getting the results you want in life and business it will be due to one of two things, possibly both.
Firstly, your personal blueprint which is not set for the level of success you aspire to. What happens then is self-sabotage (even if you don’t recognise it as such).
Secondly, your business blueprint is not set for success and that is down to finding a strategy for you and your business aligned with your personal blueprint. Until you get these in place how can you ever hope to achieve your big financial results from your business? Success is not an accident!