I used to be an avid Body Builder and Personal Trainer and kept in great physical shape. As a result, I was often approached by people asking for my “secret formula” to achieving similar results. But when I openly told them my so-called “secret,”they were a bit disappointed. Why? Because the “secret” is not a magic pill, or a simple diet or exercise plan that requires little effort. On the contrary, the secret is dedication and learning to exist in state of consciousness so that you eat the right foods and avoid the wrong ones, exercise hard and smart, and remain consistently focused. Generally, we humans always seem to want a shortcut to reaching the apex of whatever we want to achieve, and most of us don’t seem to learn differently. The multi-billion dollar infomercial industry provides an example of this, if you look at the number of infomercials promising weight loss from a pill, or millions of dollars generated in a month after attending a seminar, and the list goes on. No wonder it’s a multi-billion dollar industry! I have many times heard the phrase “he got lucky,” or “she was in the right place at the right time” as the reasons successful entrepreneurs have achieved greatness. The truth is, some athletes have great genetics, geniuses have high IQs, and successful singers have natural talent. But should we give all the credit to naturally occurring phenomena? Or could it be the true recipe for their success was consistent hard work, determination, strategy and, yes, some luck? When it comes to running a successful business, however small or large your goals may be, applying full attention, consistency, and having the intuition to shoot for the best but prepare for the worst can serve as the platform for success. Take Baby Steps Entrepreneurs often set long-term goals that are years or decades away. Having long term goals is great and gives you something to strive for. But there are many factors and elements at play when starting a business, many of which are outside your control and may ultimately skew your long-term vision. Break your long-term goals into smaller milestones. I always think of the movie “What About Bob,” in which Bill Murray was told to take “baby steps” by his psychiatrist. It’s a comedy that has some truth behind it: Setting small, short-term goals allows you to achieve or supersede the long-term goals you started with. And over time, these baby steps will get you to a larger achievement you had in mind. Know Your Product Whether you provide a product or a service, know everything you can about it What makes it special? Why should a consumer be interested in your product over the tens or hundreds of others out there? Find the niche needs your product addresses and expose them to your audience through marketing and awareness campaigns. Creating a professional websitecan help you raise awareness of your product online, so others can understand your product as well and so are infographics and interactive presentations. Listen to Your Customers There is a saying, “the customer is always right.” When it comes to understanding your customers’ needs, this couldn’t be more true. Your customers are your userbase and your target audience, and because they are the consumer, they know what they want better than anyone else, including yourself. If they crave something and ask for an improvement on a feature or service you offer, see this as an opportunity to better fulfill their needs and satisfy their cravings. And remember that more often than not, for every customer request, there are tens of other requests that have not been raised, but are just as worthwhile, so don’t be afraid to ask for your customer’s feedback. Budget and Watch your Bottom Line One of the advantages of running a client-based business is that I get to see and experience how our clients’ businesses both flourish and, at times, face failures. As a business owner myself, in addition to what I have witnessed with clients, I know that some reasons for failure are outside your control, but there is one element to running a business that you have both the oversight and ability to prevent: budgeting overflows. No matter how satisfied your customers or how great your product, at the end of the day, supporting your operation, customers, and growth requires positive cash flow. Without it, your business will bleed to death. You don’t have full control over how much revenue your business can generate at any given time, but you can control your expenses and, in turn, manage your bottom line. Remember, don’t take in more than you can chew. Whether you are a bodybuilder or a business owner, or anyone else for that matter, the “secret” to being the best is that there is no secret other than dedication, focus, and remembering these four steps toward success.
from our mind to yours
The ultimate secret to running a successful small business
September 14, 2015Payman Taei