I’m often surprised that people in the beginning phases of building a business or even those thinking about building a business miss some critical success strategies.
I hear them talk about what their business will look like, how wonderful the outcome will be… but… they aren’t taking action on the key strategies that bring a business to success.
I listen to these ideas, I listen to complaints, and it takes me back to my experiences over the last 20+ years. As soon as I do that I’m forced to remember all of the things it takes to simply get a new business off the ground and to get it profitable.
Of course every experience is different but I’ve been through a few start-ups and I suspect that most seasoned entrepreneurs will recognize these few strategies as critical.
This is not an exhaustive list, this is just a short list of some of the more difficult strategies. Sometimes the most difficult challenges we face provides the greatest reward… if we can master them.
Businesses don’t build themselves. If you think that starting and building a thriving business takes only a 4-hour work week, well, you’re in for a big surprise. Most start-up businesses take 12 hours days. Why? Because taking action on every possible angle of your new business is critical. Not just perfecting the product or service, but marketing it so that you’ve got someone to sell it to.
Taking constant action builds momentum. Taking constant action is hard.
Let’s face it, some of the tasks we do in our businesses are fun and rewarding. Others are dull and boring. And, yet, each of them matters. I remember cleaning bathrooms when I first started my automotive business because I wanted it to be the cleanest shop in town. Trust me… I hated that task.
Here’s the hard part… just when you think you’ve done everything you can… you need to do it again and again until you get results.
This is a big one. Not everyone can handle it. Sacrifice.
What are you willing to give up in order to succeed?
I have had to give up a lot over the years, not just time and money, but possessions, friends, vacations, family time, living comforts…
But once you’ve succeeded you realize that you’ve gotten them all back and generally it’s more than you had before.
For years I didn’t read books. Now, this is big deal because I can’t imagine life without books. But for those first few years I gave reading up because I needed to spend that time building my business. When you read articles that tell you to give up an hour of TV to spend on your business… well, they aren’t kidding. Even today I limit my TV time to about 2 hours, and that is generally while I’m eating dinner and clearing my brain before I start to do more work. There are no House of Cards marathons or hours spent reading a good fiction paperback. All those sacrifices of time and possessions and even activities helped me to create productive habits.
You may have to give up the extra sports car (I did), the cable television habit, video game habit, vacations, lunches out, parties, but it’s temporary.
The thing is you have to be ready to make the sacrifice so that you can build a better business. When I see someone who isn’t ready or willing to make the sacrifice, I know that a struggle to build a thriving business comes next.
Time. Money. What are you willing to invest in your business? If you take all your hard-won profit and go on a cruise after only six months in business… are you making the right investment?
Investing in your business isn’t just about putting in the hours or spending money on new tools, it’s about attention as well. I am constantly thinking about how I can improve my business, how I can generate more leads, how I can better serve customers…
More importantly I take action on those ideas. Some of them will work, some of them won’t. Deciding what to spend time and energy on is part of making a daily investment in your business.
Sometimes it means investing in yourself by gaining new skills, more knowledge, taking a class, buying a book, or hiring a consultant.
Every business requires investment but in the building stages the requirement is much higher. If you are cutting corners early on you are hurting your ability to build something great.
Action, sacrifice, and investment three critical strategies for building a successful business and yet, often times overlooked, ignored, or worse – attempted haphazardly. All strategies require consistency to be effective.
The next time you feel like you aren’t making forward progress, I task you to look at these three strategies and think about how you are executing them.
I suspect in most cases you are not giving them as much attention as they deserve. Put in some extra time taking action. Look around and figure out where you can make an additional sacrifice. Determine if you can invest just a bit more.
I guarantee you’ll see results.