First of all, you need to get clear on what it is you want to achieve. Clarity around your goals will help you keep focused if times start to get tough. SMART principles apply here. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. I think that being specific and realistic is important especially when you start your own business. Stretch yourself but not to the extent that you are setting yourself up to fail. Having a sound business plan is always a good thing to fall back on if you need it and it helps to keep you focused on what you set out to achieve.
What are your reasons for wanting to set-up your business? When you think about them do they light you up and give you a reason to get up in the mornings? If your business model is not totally compelling to you now then I can guarantee you’ll have problems at some stage. In contrast, if you have an absolute passion for what you want to do it won’t feel like work. That alone will help to keep you positive and determined when things don’t always go to plan.
Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to make your business a success including things you do not want to do? Being good at whatever it is you do does not make you good at running a business. You are starting a journey that will take all of your energy and creativity and learning capacity. Yet, if you’re prepared to do whatever it takes you will get there in the end. Churchill once said:
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy’’
Challenge yourself by asking if you are prepared to take 100% personal responsibility for your business. Don’t blame others when things don’t go to plan. Take responsibility and learn from every experience.
Have a feedback loop for everything. You need this to find out what is working and what isn’t. It’s great when you find out what is working well and it’s great too when you find out what isn’t as you can stop it! Ask for feedback from your customers and suppliers and act on it. Constantly evaluate your approach so you get to learn fast what works and what doesn’t. Think of feedback as a gift and remember to learn from any action that doesn’t go quite to plan.
There is a saying ‘if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got! You must be prepared to be flexible and move into the unknown. Security is an attachment to the known and the known is our past. No evolution in that. When you experience uncertainty you are on the right track – if you become too fixated on how to achieve your business goals you shut out a whole range of possibilities. So when you discover that something isn’t working do something different. It almost doesn’t matter what as long as you have a good feedback loop and it’s moving you forwards. I once asked my business mentor how long I should continue to strive for success in my business. He said to continue until I got there! That has been very sound advice.
It’s unlikely that you are the first person to have ever set up the business that you want to launch. Go and find someone who is already successful – yes I mean your competitors! I’ve found that if I’ve told someone that I admire and want to learn from them they have been only too pleased to help me out. In NLP we estimate that modeling reduces the learning process by 50%. You also know that you are not wasting any of your time and can keep focused on what is really important – making your business a success! So what if you were to adopt these principles in your business? They are all focused on keeping you on track and reducing the possibility of set-backs to a minimum.