There is no such thing as a silver bullet strategy when it comes to business success , that being one action or activity that will miraculously build a successful business. We all intrinsically know this, but yet, so many business owners set themselves up for failure and disappointment by taking on for example the mindset of, “If I just do this one promotion, then everything will be fine”.
Not to put a damper on your efforts, but sometimes we do need a reality check. One of the key components of achieving one’s goals is that you must be realistic, very simple. If you want to build a sustainable business and avoid being a one hit wonder there are a few key components you will need to ensure are part of your business structure and business ethics.
Vision and mission
Before you excitedly start setting business goals, think about what your long term vision is. What is your ultimate goal and how do you want to be seen in five or ten years time? Once that has been defined then confirm your mission statement.
Completing your business vision/mission statement shouldn’t be done begrudgingly, rushed through or be viewed as an afterthought. Put the time aside to build this part of your business. Why? Your vision and mission are your guiding lights whenever a business decision needs to be made. They keep you focused in good times and very importantly they guide you when times are tough and there will likely be many tough times in your business. Therefore, establishing strong, powerful and bright guiding lights makes good business sense.
Courage, resilience and grit
In my opinion these are probably some of the most important character traits to have when running a business . Having the strength and courage to pick yourself up after failure will turn you into a survivor. If you have the ability to do this, you can achieve anything. These character traits do not always come easily and we are often only asked to prove ourselves when we have already fallen on hard times. No opportunities for test driving these qualities.
To boost these character traits it is advised to have a solid business plan and a business purpose that is true to your values. It can be tricky and extremely demotivating to be courageous if you don’t really believe in your purpose one hundred percent.
Being a business owner is not for the faint-hearted. So make sure you have a good strong pool of people you can call on during the tough times. This can take the form of business partners, family, friends, mentors, coaches or professional networking groups.
Support is also good to have in times of success, sharing your wins with your support network can be extremely rewarding.
Consistency in business builds trust and loyalty with your customers. Whatever your business goals are make sure you are consistent in your delivery, follow through and follow up. Customers will very quickly look elsewhere if you are inconsistent and unreliable.
To make sure you are consistent in your business, always have a plan. Yearly, quarterly, month, weekly and daily. There is much to be said about the saying, “proper planning prevents poor performance”.
Business success will be different for every business, depending on what the end goals are, however one thing that all businesses have in common, is the need to achieve the goals.
So, when you are planning your goals for the year or quarter ahead, also think about these components. Do you have a strong vision? How courageous are you and how would you persevere during tough times? Who is your support network and do you operate your business in a consistent manner? Some food for thought.
“If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability.” Brene Brown discusses this in her latest book, Rising Strong.
When I first read this quote I felt extremely relieved and a whole lot more confident with my own journey. As I mulled over the concept of what it is to be brave I decided to add to this quote by saying, ” The braver you are the more opportunities there are to fail and that’s okay.”
Why would I be relieved? Well, in some bizarre way we may sometimes justify to ourselves that if we are brave and take a leap of faith by moving out of our comfort zones it is purely a once-off occurrence. “Right, I’ve been brave. I can tick off “brave” in the check box and move back into my comfort zone and carry on with my life”.
However, in reality in order to grow and develop and move forward in life, you have to continuously be brave. Bravery is not a once-off action. You have to continuously deal with being uncomfortable and yes, feeling vulnerable. The relief then comes when you know that you don’t have to win every time that you are brave. Success is not the only end result of being brave. You can actually fail and that’s okay too.
We can put such pressure on ourselves to win and to be successful, so that if we are not 100% certain of a rosy outcome it, makes us think twice about being brave. Instead of just realising that the act of bravery in itself is a success.
So, when last did you stop yourself from doing something brave because you weren’t 100% sure of a successful outcome?
Did you regret your decision?
It’s okay not to win sometimes, just knowing that you are brave is a win all on its own.
I’m a total advocate of positive psychology and not only do I promote it, but I also try to practise it in my own work and personal life. When I came across this TED talk by psychologist Shawn Achor, I wasn’t just entertained, I was reminded yet again that by introducing very simple practices into your daily routine, you can re-boot how your brain works.
Shawn talks about how we have trained ourselves to believe that to be happy we firstly have to be successful. The problem is that once we have reached the goal, we then need to keep raising the bar in order to deem ourselves successful again. These repeated actions push happiness further and further away until eventually happiness becomes the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow which you never do find.
Shawn turns this whole “success = happiness” concept on its head. He introduces us to techniques that have us practising the art of happiness with no prerequisites, like having to achieve a goal or catch the carrot dangling in front of us.
This TED Talk is brilliant and funny and to assist you I have outlined the techniques mentioned below.
Being positive in the present
- 3 Gratitudes: List 3 new things you are thankful for over the next 21 days
- Journaling: Document 1 positive experience you have encountered during the past 24 hours
- Random acts of kindness
We have the capacity to dream big and create amazing worlds in our minds, where we are happy, successful and life is wonderful! So why do these amazing dreams remain just dreams for some of us?
One of the biggest reasons I find is that people become their own worst enemy and procrastinate. The skilful art of putting important stuff off and replacing precious time with miscellaneous rubbish!
So why do people procrastinate?
People procrastinate for many reasons, the one reason that I see appearing over and over again is the fear of failure.
So, if you are fearing the worst and have decided to go with the safer option of sticking it out in your comfort zone and thinking better the devil you know, then just think about this.
What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Try using the Disney Creativity Strategy to guide you through this exercise. Think and picture what your success would look like without being the critic. Yes, you don’t get to ruin your success before you have gotten out of the starting gates! Once you have created this amazing successful visual, change hats and become the realist. A realist only thinks about how the dream can be achieved. Remember to resist the urge to criticise and think like a realist. There are only ways of succeeding, not failing. For some of us this is a hard pill to swallow as we are serial critics, but humour yourself and give it a try.
As Jim Carrey so wisely stated in his 2014 commencement address at Maharishi University “You can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.”
Step out of your comfort zone. Dream big and get comfortable playing the realist role as opposed to the critic role, you might just like it.
Why be your own worst enemy? Why stop yourself from succeeding?