[HR] A Blueprint for Business Success?
As children, we’d dream big and not let anyone mess with our imaginative vision. We’d go for what we wanted and constantly stick with it until we get it. But as adults, every day, millions of us talk ourselves out of greatness and limit our ideas of what’s possible, all because we decided to sell out our dreams to someone else’s opinion, and we allowed ourselves to be influenced by thoughts of conformity, being incapable or “less than”.
Failure, in business, as in life, is the inevitable result of an accumulation of poor thinking and poor choices. Simply, it is a few errors in judgment repeated every day. But when failure is perceived as a negative, what usually follows is the inclination to “take your eyes off the eight ball” and no longer focusing on your goal. Logic gets in the way of course correcting and moving forward, and then we begin to question whether we’re good enough and if we can ever reach our goals.
So that’s brings us to success. There’s quite a bit that’s been said and written about this word made up of just 7 letters – What to do, how to do, when to do, formulas, theories and methods – but the key I believe, is to consider what successful people do, more often than the rest of us. Here are the big 5 tips to begin with.
1. Surround Yourself with Right People & Find Great Mentors.
Why re-invent the wheel? Learning from other people’s mistakes and successes is a great way to avoid making your own mistakes. So, associate yourself with a team of great people. People who know what they’re doing and have the necessary emotional intelligence to work well with others at the same time. From these, find a mentor and consulting with them frequently. Mentors are the people who keep you focused, call you out when needed, monitor your progress, constructively question your motives and play “devil’s advocate and help you through situations by getting rid of the “box” so you’re thinking outside all the time.
2. Have a Continuous Learning Mindset.
Never stop learning. You’ll never know it all. Adopt a student’s mentality, in which you rethink everything from the ground up. Be on a constant fact-finding mission. Persist. Leave no stone unturned. At this stage, gather information. Gather the best insights from the people in point 1 above. It is possible some have done what you’re attempting to do. Seek out like-minded people for advice. Understand the topic at hand and know that it takes time to achieve anything worthwhile and definitely, a bit more so for big goals. When you do all of this, you’re not forced to remain within outdated or irrelevant constraints, but look for new, innovative solutions. Additionally, you’re no longer focused on how others view you, you’re focused on growth. That gives you the liberty to pursue bias for action, to experiment and make mistakes–and transform these into new learnings.
3. Be Frugal & Bank for a Calamity.
If you burn through all your cash, you won’t be around anymore. Worse. If you have nothing to show for all that burning, no one is going to believe you, or back you again. Remember all business has ups and downs. Part of surviving the down cycles is to not blow all your cash during the up cycle. Basically pretend that you’re a single parent in today’s tough economy – you know that you’d probably disapprove any spending that was not absolutely necessary to survive, operate and thrive that precious think we call family. Your business = your family.
There’s down cycles, and there are calamities. Cash will get you through times of hardship better than an empty bank account or endless loans. Bank your excess cash and keep at least six months of operating capital in reserve. Chances are this’ll help you survive even the deepest of downturns.
4. Have an Idea & Take Advantage of Opportunities
The main difference between a good idea and a great one may not be much, so take your time (but not forever, as a competitor might pip you to the post!), to make sure you have a great, well-crafted idea before bringing it to market. Like buying property, which is a great opportunity, if you don’t do your homework, that “fixer upper” you thought would cost only a few hundred to fix can quickly turn into a very expensive money drain in the long run. There’s no additional cost involved if the initial execution is flawless. So try to identify holes or problems that need solving. Focus on what may be lacking or could do with improvement. Then find out if you have the expertise of filling those gaps. Given what you’ve learned, compare your weaknesses and strengths. Does one offset the other nicely? And is there an opportunity for you to not only step in, but to excel?
5. Ge Your Act Together & Play the Long Game
Bringing a new concept to market, or solving major problems is never easy. To master anything, you first need to study it and figure out what makes it tick. Understand the rules you need to play by, and who the players are. What’s been successful before, and what has not? No point in trying to reinvent the wheel. You’ll need all of this critical information if you’re to succeed. Once you have it, you’ll need a plan of approach and action. Get together a “roadmap”, a “blueprint”, and incrementally determine how you’re going to get from point A to point B. Who or what your resources are and what’s your “plan B”. Your map may change over time, but a solid infrastructure is crucial to avoid a crash and burn situation. Look for opportunities to capitalize on the mistakes and take advantage of the opportunities that have been uncovered by those who’ve gone before you. Lastly, learn to be patient, and craft a pitch based on the knowledge you’ve accumulated, the uniqueness of your plan and your best assets. This adds value like nothing else.
“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, I’ll always get up, after I fall, and whether I run or walk or crawl, I’ll set my goals and achieve them all.” – Anon.