Just the thrill of owning a business can be rewarding, but all business owners are ultimately in it to win it. There's no easy formula to succeeding in business- if there were, everyone would be able to do it! There are almost as many tips and guides as there are businesses themselves, and if you were to spend all day reading them, your company would surely fail due to your lack of attention. While there are no guarantees for success, keep these three simple tips in mind and you'll quickly be on the right track.
1. Don’t Get Comfortable
The worst thing you can do with a business is to kick back, get comfortable, and think it will run itself. Much like raising a kid, the job never ends. Just because your kid received a perfect report card this time doesn’t mean they won’t drop the ball next semester. With businesses, things can – and usually will – go wrong. You must stay vigilant!
The key is to push yourself outside your comfort zone, fix a problem, and move on to the next challenge. Define, fix, and repeat should be your mantra as you encourage yourself and your employees to see fixing problems and overcoming obstacles as a rewarding exercise rather than something to avoid (and push off onto other people).
If you don’t see any problems to fix, you’re either not looking close enough or you’re in denial. You should definitely celebrate the victories of the day or week, but also identify and be thankful for the learnings from the losses. It will ultimately be better for morale and productivity to highlight both the highs and lows, rather than creating the perceptively false illusion that everything is perfect and nothing ever goes wrong.
In facet, seek out uncomfortable situations and dive in. Add a new product to your line! Hire someone to do that logo redesign you've been thinking about! Don’t bust your budget, but take some risks. Even if a venture doesn’t pay off, you’ll gain valuable insights to use in the next round.
It's also important to take losses in stride and not immediately try to assign blame - you can lose a client in a minute without erring in any way. In fact, you may never know why some clients walk away. It's a very uncomfortable feeling, and much like a break-up, and not something you'll ever fully get used to. But, if you keep morale high and nurture new connections in the interim, you’ll always have a new prospect right around the corner to fill that gap – or at least offset the loss a bit. Figure out the best way to gather honest feedback from your customers and use that information to improve areas that need attention. Honest feedback can sting, but it's a good way to stay on track and keep on winning.
Every day is a new opportunity to build upon your wins and do better because of your learnings. Be prepared to begin each morning early and finish your evening late- you've gotta put in the hours to enjoy the fruits of your success.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan
In the military, there's an age-old formula that's used for missions: The 1/3 - 2/3 rule. Regardless of the size or significance of your task, spend one-third of your time planning and two-thirds of your time executing. Non-military folk may be more familiar with this old chestnut - "measure twice, cut once." The point is, know what you're doing and cover all your bases before jumping in.
Hopefully this won't come as a surprise, but- excellent planning produces excellent results. From choosing the best personnel for the job to successfully allocating time and money, a good plan doesn’t guarantee victory but will dramatically increase your odds for success. An added bonus to first-rate planning: your employees will be significantly happier and more productive when their budgets and goals are clearly defined at the onset of tasks rather than having to wing it through shifts in priority and budget.
Read next: 5 Business Practices to Keep Employees Happy
One common pitfall to avoid is getting overzealous and executing too many plans at the same time. While that strategy may successfully push you outside of your comfort zone, it can dilute the best parts of execution and result in scattered and low-quality work.
3. Back a Cause
While building your business and your culture, it’s great for your company to get involved in supporting a humanitarian cause that resonates with your staff and customer base. Helping those less fortunate keeps people humble, and it can be rewarding to work towards a cause everyone believes in. It can also help your business image and build rapport with your customers, staff, and community.
For example, StreetShares supports fellow Veteran-run business Combat Flip Flops, who works with Aid Afghanistan for Education, Mines Advisory Group, and THE STATION Foundation. These charities speak to causes that are very near and dear to the military and veteran community's heart. By purchasing from Combat Flip Flops, consumers can feel good about their money going towards such great causes- and employees can feel even better about the hard work they put in every day.
While there's never a quick and easy road to success, there are definitely things you can do to increase your odds. As a business owner, keep yourself out of your comfort zone, never stop planning, and find a cause for your business to believe in!
We have also created a FREE ebook, 9 Tips to Grow Your Small Business to give you more insights on new marketing trends including social media, how to maximize your customer base and actively measure success. Download it now.
This communication is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be an advertisement, a solicitation, or constitute professional advice, including legal, financial, or tax advice, nor is StreetShares providing advice on any particular situation.