There are no guarantees in life. All we can do is find the best path that will help mitigate potential failure. For business owners with a 65% chance of being out of business by year 5, it becomes an imperative action that you need to take from the beginning of your idea right on through every year of your business. There will be lots of things you can do to ensure you are successful, including plans, marketing channels, niche markets, target clients, brand image, etc. Let me give you three foundational skills I see most often in successful people. I have also noticed that these three traits are often weaker or missing in those people struggling and failing.
Do Something You Love
Many people start a business doing something they are good at and often it is not necessarily something they love to do. I know because I have seen this many times in new business owners and my first business was based on this. I had been a technical writer for over 15 years and in technology for over 2 decades when I started my business Clear Comm Information Design, a company that writes for medical device manufacturers and software development companies. Being an expert at technical writing certainly did not make it easier to be motivated and driven when times were tough. If you want to last the course you need to be driven to do the work when the work is not fun. Loving what you do makes that much easier. In fact, this rings true for all aspects of your life. It is why our children are part of our lives even after they go through their teens <smile> because we love them and we are driven to do what it takes to see them successfully reach adulthood and beyond. You will be sidetracked, mislead, overwhelmed, disillusioned, out of money, out of time and simply exhausted building your business. If you don’t love it then it will be more difficult to develop, plan, grow, and continue to add your energy to get the best results.
Know The Outcome
What are these results I talk of? You have to know what you are working for. It is very hard to get engaged in the first place when you don’t have a goal to work towards, let alone be driven enough to stay motivated through any challenge you might encounter. If you know from the beginning what the business will mean to you, your life, your partners, employees, your clients, and your community, then you can stay on track when building your brand. Great leaders in business bring their values, mission, and brand into their business systems so that everyone knows what they are buying into and how to support it. Check out the philosophy of Zappos.com president Tony Hsieh and the business strategies that have made them billions of dollars.
If you get to a point in your business and you think you have everything in place to start taking advantage of your creation, you will soon be dealing with new issues. Be prepared to continue to grow for the entire life of your business. There is never a time when you should not be reviewing your industry, new technologies, business strategies, opportunities, and simply keeping skills current. Never stop learning! The companies that learned in the 90’s that SEO was going to get them more business as the world moved to internet shopping are the companies that moved ahead of their competition. Those that learned social media before it was an expected need of marketing were better positioned to take advantage of their virtual relationships. Don’t be the one saying, “There is too much to learn, I just can’t keep up.” Be the one that reads new books and accepts new ideas and then pick and choose which to implement. Start with these three foundational skills to help you and your business have the best odds to succeed well beyond 5 years.