Over the past 15 years Ive started several companies and helped thousands of others. In doing so, Ive seen tremendous successes. Ive also witnessed tremendous failures.
In assessing what Ive seen, Ive identified the following 8 common characteristics of those entrepreneurs and business owners who have enjoyed the most success. If youre not doing any of these, nows the time to start.
1) Have a Crystal Clear Vision
If you dont have a crystal clear vision of the company you are trying to create, you cant possibly create it. Figure out exactly the type of company you are trying to build. For example, in five years how many customers will you have? How many employees? What will your revenues be?
2) Have a Written Strategic Plan
Your vision is your dream. Your plan details how you will achieve that dream.
Your plan should identify what you must accomplish in the next twelve months to get on the right path to achieving your long-term vision. Among other things, your plan must document your product strategy, marketing strategy and human resource strategy.
3) Set Shorter-Term Goals
The most successful entrepreneurs and business owners also set shorter-term goals. Specifically, they identify what they and their company need to achieve in the next quarter, monthly and week to meet their annual goals.
They also meet with their teams to ensure all employees understand these goals and work together to achieve them.
4) Ongoing Education
To succeed requires continual education. This includes reading books and magazines (offline and online), attending events and networking with other successful entrepreneurs and business owners.
Having business mentors is another great way to get ongoing education and advice.
5) Satisfy Your Customers
If you cant satisfy customers, your business will fail.
Always keep your customers top of mind. Focus relentlessly on their needs; not just on your needs.
6) Be a Great Marketer
If you are truly satisfying your customers, you will grow through word of mouth.
But in most cases, you want or need to grow even faster. So make sure you have a comprehensive marketing plan in place. Of particular importance is your promotion plan, or your plan to attract new customers.
The key to your promotion plan is to leverage as many marketing channels as possible. For example, if you are attracting new customers from radio ads, pay-per-click advertising, partnerships, direct mail and newspaper ads, you will get many more new customers than competitors who may only leverage one of these channels.
7) Be Laser-Focused in Your Work
As an entrepreneur or business owner, you are constantly faced with new opportunities and ideas. The key to your success is staying focused. By creating plans and setting (and sticking to) goals, you will achieve more.
Thats not to say to avoid all new opportunities. Rather, make sure you focus on hitting your short-term goals first, and then set up periodic meetings (perhaps monthly) to consider new ideas or opportunities.
8) Never Give Up
The life of an entrepreneur or business owner isnt easy. Theres always more work to be done. And on any given day there may be significant ups and downs, such as landing or losing a big client.
Never give up. Build up a tolerance to the downs and realize that if you keep focusing on attaining your goals, you will.
We should all cherish the opportunity we have to run a business. By following these eight practices listed above, you can get the most out of your business and achieve the success you desire.