As an aspiring entrepreneur, you might have found yourself occasionally staring off to the left, wondering, “Is it always going to be this hard? When am I going to arrive? How do I achieve the elusive business success?”
If you’ve found yourself asking these questions a time or two, you’re not alone, and today we are going to address the whats and hows of achieving success in business.
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What Is Success in Business?
When you were a kid, business success meant that you sold enough lemonade to buy a toy. As a teenager, you felt successful once you’d mowed enough lawns to purchase your first car.
As an adult…? The line that separates successful ventures and not-so-successful ones gets a little blurry.
For some entrepreneurs, business success is defined as the bottom line: they want to be in the black as quickly as possible.
Other people believe that having happy, healthy employees with a good work/life balance and low turnover equates to business success.
Some see themselves as successful when a magazine or blog asks them to be a guest writer.
Still others think that they’ve arrived once they make their one-millionth sale of hand-knitted earmuffs.
Do you see how varied the definition can be? Simply put, business success is defined by your personal values and company goals. Once you figure out what you want and what you’re willing to do to get it, you can set your course for success.
Why Is It Important to Be Successful in Business?
First, let’s talk about why it’s important to shoot for business success in the first place. Probably the most obvious reason is that no one likes to fail. Sure, there are lessons you can learn from tanking your company…
“yadda yadda…Thomas Edison failed a thousand times before finally figuring out how to make a lightbulb…”
…But for the most part, people want to avoid that outcome at all costs.
Other reasons to try and make your business successful is because it affords you the independence you might not get working for a traditional employer.
No one ever got rich working for someone else, and achieving business success lets you spend and invest your capital how you want. You have the financial freedom to divvy out your money where you think it will do the most good. There’s something to be said for having complete control over your vision.
There isn’t a single secret to success, but there are certainly business success tips that can help you with building a successful business. While this is, by no means, an exhaustive list, here are seven entrepreneurial success factors to help you achieve small business success.
7 Tips for Success in Business
1. Be Kind to Yourself
No matter if you are a novice or a seasoned entrepreneur, getting your business off the ground is tough. You suddenly find yourself with new demands and situations that you didn’t before, and the learning curve can be steep even when you have the background knowledge.
It’s easy to lose yourself among your fledgling business’ demands, but few things could be worse for you and your business success than to offer up your health upon the altar of your business.
Here are a few ideas for taking care of your body, so you avoid burnout:
You’re probably your own worst critic (most people are), so if you end up spiraling downward, stop and redirect your thoughts. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t say those things to a young child or your best friend, you shouldn’t tell them to yourself.
You also need to plan each day with a few breaks – non-negotiable. The mental and physical health benefits are immense. From more focus to less fatigue, greater productivity to increased job satisfaction – taking a break at least every two hours is an oft-forgotten secret of business success.
A strong body is crucial to your business success. Make a point to exercise a half-hour per day at least five days a week. The physical exertion will help with healthy stress-relief, and your brain will function better.
You also need to schedule seven to nine hours of sleep per night, stay hydrated, and eat healthy foods. It’s tempting to reach for a bag of chips and soda, but try to surround yourself with good foods and beverages.
2. Create a Plan
Successful entrepreneurs make a plan but remain flexible. When you sit down to work on your business plan, start by mapping out how you anticipate raising the ceiling. Many people find themselves really busy but getting nowhere.
Pro tip: “Busy-ness” doesn’t necessarily mean success.
You need to figure out how you’ll scale your businesses early on, so you’ll know what to do when you get to the point that you can grow.
Before starting a successful business, you also need to learn as much as possible, so you don’t have to outsource right off the bat. Don’t get us wrong – outsourcing certain things is an amazing way to scale your business – but to begin with, you probably want to keep things close to home.
Learning the basics in financing, web design, and management can save you a lot of money initially, and a communications course wouldn’t hurt either. Most local or junior colleges offer these classes for pretty cheap, which makes them great for your ROI.
Most importantly, you need to decide what you stand for and what you’re willing to do to get ‘er done. To have any amount of online business success, you have to figure out what you consider to be successful, and then map out the steps you need to take to achieve it.
3. Work Smarter, Not Harder
Working smarter without working harder is a fantastic way to avoid burnout while getting the most bang for your buck. While not exactly difficult, working smarter does require a little bit of conscious thought.
We’ve been conditioned to think that a successful business owner works from dawn until dusk and sometimes into the night. Maybe you know someone who has forgone family vacations or attended them with a cell phone glued to their ear. Unfortunately, those “successful” people often neglect necessary relationships and personal health, which is almost guaranteed to impact their businesses negatively.
We’re not saying that you won’t have to keep your nose to the grindstone to achieve business success, but it doesn’t have to be hard all the time. No one got an award for working the most hours, and no one on their deathbed said they wished they could’ve worked more.
We are saying that it is possible to have a good work/life balance and keep things in perspective. By automating what you can, taking actual breaks during the day, outsourcing whenever possible, and working when your body works best, you are making the most of your time without working more hours.
4. Take a Few Minutes Each Day to Laugh
They say that laughter is the best medicine for a reason – it actually helps your body heal and prevents some illnesses. If you want to be healthy and available to run your business, you need to find a way to laugh every day. Some of the benefits to laughter include:
- An increase of “feel good” hormones
- Increased blood circulation (helps dust off the cobwebs if you’re in a slump)
- Happier feelings and motivation to work
- Strengthens your abs and your heart
- Increases general satisfaction – which then spills into job satisfaction.
If you like to laugh, but you don’t think you’re a naturally funny or lighthearted person, you need to be purposeful with your daily quest for laughter. Cut out or print out your favorite comic strip and tack it to your corkboard. Or find a playlist of funny YouTube videos and keep it handy for your breaks. Or buy a joke calendar. Or video call your toddler or funny friend.
Whatever you do, laughter isn’t something to push off until tomorrow. By taking a few moments to laugh each day, you are recentering your life and refocusing your perspective - two crucial aspects of achieving business success.
5. Constantly Put Yourself Out There
You can have the best product in the world, but if you’re not continually putting yourself out there, you probably won’t get far. Venturing into the networking world can be difficult even if you’re an extrovert, but it’s absolutely one of the keys to a successful business.
Unfortunately, a lot of times, it’s less what you know and more who you know that leads to business success. You need to network as much as you can throughout your company’s existence. Attending marketing events, reaching out to influencers, and collaborating with other businesses in your field are all ways to build a network.
In this age of social media, you also need to stay on top of your online presence. Consumers expect you to engage with them and answer their concerns and questions. Replying to both positive and negative reviews shows prospective buyers that you care about them as people. Additionally, prompt email responses go a long way.
Regularly posting on social media and your website are two more ways to put yourself out there. Not only can you improve your reputation if you do it right, but you are building relationships with customers at the same time. It’s a win-win!
6. Stay on Top of the Paperwork
Even though more people are going paperless than ever before, you still need to find an organizational system that works for you. Whether you have a specific inbox for business mail or you prefer the old-fashioned hanging file, you have to be able to stay on top of your paperwork.
Some ideas for organizations strategies include:
- Dedicate a specific time to go through your paperwork each day
- Use a scanner app to keep virtual copies of your paperwork and receipts
- Write your web material a few months in advance and auto-post
- Keep your office clean and clutter-free. You’ll find it’s easier to stay organized when you don’t have papers cluttering up every surface
- Automate what you can
Even if you have a capable assistant doing your filing, you still need to learn organizational skills to keep your headspace clear. Keep a to-do list to keep yourself on track, and invest in a good watch.
Whatever organizational strategy you choose, devote a little bit of time each day to putting things away. You’ll find that you stay happier and less overwhelmed, and both your office and headspace are healthier.
7. Keep Moving Forward
There is no question that you’ll make mistakes somewhere along your journey to running a business. You may feel overwhelmed at times or like the whole world is pushing back against you and your ideas. When you feel that way, the important thing is to keep moving forward.
Own your mistakes and analyze them to figure out how to correct and avoid them in the future. Talk and learn from other people. Family and friends often have great stories about personal failure, but an industry-specific mentor can offer insight into the business side of things.
If things aren’t working, don’t be afraid to redesign or rebrand your product, but don’t reinvent the wheel. Take a moment to do your research – on your product, on your competition, on your target market – and then apply what you learned.
Set Yourself Up for Business Success
Achieving business success means different things to different people. How you define it depends on your end goals and what you are willing to do to realize them. By being kind to yourself, creating a business plan, working smarter, laughing daily, putting yourself out there, staying organized, and moving forward even during trials, you are setting yourself up to succeed.
What steps are you taking for business success? Let us know in the comments below.