Going for Gold: 7 Tips to Ensure Small Business Success

                                                                                 By Anthony M Turner  http://www.manta.com/

Over the last six years working with more than 1,500 small business owners, I've heard a myriad of reasons about WHY people start a business but typically they boil down to one of three core reasons for embarking on one of life's riskiest journeys.
  • Reason 1 (the most popular one) - running away from a bad work situation with the belief they can do it much better themselves.
  • Reason 2 - receiving a payout from an employer and buying a business, which both sadly and frequently results in buying the lowest paid job of their career.
  • Reason 3 (the most successful one) - running toward a long held dream.
Irrespective of your motivation, I doubt you're going into business with a desire for failure and I suspect you might welcome seven tips that could enhance your chances for long term success.

Tip 1 - understand why most businesses fail to reach their full potential.

Yes, there are a multitude of reasons/excuses why business owners fail to reach their full potential--lack of capital, competition, unfair landlords and competition via the internet--but the two most common REAL reasons are that business owners are unclear about their goals (or have lost sight of their original goals as to what they want to get out of their business) OR business owners don't really know what's going on in their business.

We're no longer shocked by the blank faces of business owners when we ask them why they are in business. After talking for a while, they start to remember their original reason for starting. A balanced lifestyle is one of the most popular reasons but often hard to believe when we see them (the business owners) working incredibly long hours for little return and often feeling trapped like those hamsters on a wheel who keep running faster and faster whilst getting nowhere.

Not knowing what's going on in the business is also extremely common and relates to knowing your KPI's (key performance indicators) e.g. how many people you have to connect with to get the right percentage to walk through your door and the right percentage of those to purchase and the right percentage of those who purchase to become loyal clients and/or referrers of others to your business OR acceptable reject rates for manufacturing and managing against these.

Tip 2 - know where you are

This may sound stupid but in reality you must ALWAYS know where you are at in your business. You have to be able to identify your strengths and areas of challenge. You have to know when you require assistance (and have the courage to seek it). You have to know how much money you have and how long it will last. In other words you have to be constantly aware of your current reality rather than getting lost in the rose-colored glasses view of how you believe your world should be.

Tip 3 - know where you're going

As stated above, many small business owners (in fact I would say most from our experience) are in business as a result of habit rather than on a clearly defined journey toward a destination of their choice. Can you imagine a potential Olympic athlete who approaches his or her sport with the idea of, "If I turn up to training a few times I might win a race or get selected on the team and I could even win an Olympic gold medal one day."
As we all know, an athlete requires far greater dedication to achieve Olympic Gold and so do you if you are going to be successful in your own enterprise. Having said this, however, it's important to realize the size of obtaining your "gold" may seem overwhelming so, like the potential Olympian, you have to break down the big picture into manageable chunks so you can see how far you have come.

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