There is much talk of business failure, even more talk of unemployment.
The world economy is tanking, for now at least. A lot of people are worried I hear it in most conversations. They are worried about their livelihood, about the bills, about just about everything.
Now what I’m not going to say is that everything is going to be all right.
But what I’m not going to indulge in either is sterile lamentation ending with the words: ‘we’re all doomed!’
Rather I want to remind you of what it takes to be successful – in the past, now and in the future.
Let’s begin with something often over looked but crucial to any venture, namely, being positive. With so much negativity out there, it is time to recharge your positivity batteries.
It is true that we are the sum total of the six people we associate most with. It is also true we are the sum of our daily thoughts. If you go around with gloomsters while thinking negative and self-harming thoughts all day every day, well, expect failure. The body follows the mind, and the mind is reset every day by your thoughts – roughly 60,000 per day. Today more than ever you need to chuck out any negative thoughts. You need to fill your mind with a positive ‘can do’ attitude that makes things happen.
All successful entrepreneurs have this characteristic. They can appear a little crazy to the non-entrepreneurs such is the energy coming off their ambitions but I have never met a successful businessman or woman who has the wrong, that is a pessimistic, attitude.
This positive attitude will change you. And that attitude and its resultant change are needed for success. It’s not that you become a buzzing person always up. If you are people won’t think you’re positive they’ll just assume you’re on drugs! What is needed alongside a positive attitude is a transparency that lets people see who you are and what you can do. Your speech should be as measured and realistic as it is positive. You will be judged on your record not just your claims. People like working with honest straightforward people. It is an attitude, a disposition that can be cultivated. I suggest you develop it now – and the quicker the better.
These two attributes alone – positivity and transparency – will increase your chances of success by a long shot already. But you need to have more than just a likeable personality in today’s competitive marketplace.
So create something! Creating value is the cornerstone of any success. Think about the most successful people you know. They have created a business, a product, a service – something! They have then gone on to craft that so that it is of value to the needs of their customer base and in so doing have expanded that customer base because, obviously, people like value for money; in fact they’ll pay for that.
Whatever it is your doing or want to do, ask yourself: how can you create value for your customers? Can you see how I’ve flipped the usual selling mantra about getting people to buy from you? No! Sell to them but with such a great customer service that they’ll be wowed by what’s on offer, so much so that they’ll come back time and time again.
Now here’s another curved ball to think about: add to the quality of people’s lives by what you are doing. What I said about adding value to the customer by the products you are selling wasn’t about mere monetary gain. I’m talking real value – something transformative. Go big or go home as they say. The real businesses that stand out are often selling a product very similar to other businesses but those latter businesses do not stand out. So what’s the difference? Customer service and the belief on the part of the customer that you are making a difference to their lives, so bear that in mind.
And I’m not talking altruism here. I’m not asking you to become Mother Teresa. Keep your business wits about you and still make a profit, but what I am saying is that you will make even greater profits by looking out for your customer and not just making a sale, not just doing a transaction but building a relationship.
And let’s not forget the 80/20 Rule, as set out by my good friend Perry Marshall.
That is that around 80 percent of your results come from about 20 percent of your efforts. In sales, this means that 80 percent of the sales come from 20 percent of the customers. It goes further than that. Start to consider that within that golden 20 percent of effort, there’s another 80-20 Rule that applies, and so on.
Really successful people do not do all the work themselves. Any CEO who runs a company like that may have success in the short term but he will also have a heart attack. No, successful people observe where it is they can make the most amount of profit with the least amount of expenditure of time and money and then act accordingly.
So focus on that which is producing the best results with the least effort. This is about targeted productivity – four hours per day can be as productive for successful people as 18-hour days are for the unsuccessful. This is all about a mindset.
And if you need help recalibrating your mindset then contact Mount Bonnell Advisors. We’d be happy to help.
Oh, and one last thing: learn to sell.
Until you master that skill you will get precisely nowhere. No matter how good you or your product is, if you can’t sell it to the customer then you have wasted your time. And in this newly hyper-competitive world you need to be as great a salesman or woman as is your product.