Key Component to Success
Focusing on a goal is the key component to success in reaching your goal. “If it was easy, everybody would do it. It’s not easy. I know. I made many mistakes on my path to success. I really had to develop a different state of mind to keep going. The school of hard knocks taught me a lot of things. One of the things it taught me was to be prepared: To fail, to live on less money, to be patient, to be rejected. I was laughed at, ridiculed by some, told by others I was taking a terrible risk, that my product was awful and I would fail. Not by my family – they have always been tremendously supportive – but by others” (‘State of Mind’ Applies to Local Entrepreneurs, Bluffton Today (SC) – October 9, 2013.)
This reminds me of when my guru pointed out years ago, practice on a daily basis is the key to happiness. Therefore, I wake up early, make coffee, write my “to-do” list, go for a run 30-60 mins a day, and complete this list of tasks each day to reach my goals.
There are days that go by, despite my efforts, I am unsuccessful, however, “daily practice” permits me to stay focused as I achieve my goals. You must also stay in a positive state of mind. There are two ways of looking at the bigger picture, being in the present and positive will always deliver good fortune. Being negative, on the other hand, only depresses you therefore forfeiting opportunities you are unable to see.
These components are found in nearly all divisions of a company, including marketing, human resources and finance.
Business planning is vital to keeping your company pointed in the right direction. Take the time to create a thorough plan–giving thought to product development, operations, marketing, financing, business models and staffing issues–before you begin to build your business. Planning is not only important in the early stages; revisit your strategic plans regularly to keep the direction of your business in line with current and future trends in the marketplace.
Continuous value creation (CVC) is the disciplined process of continually examining your current product or service offerings to ensure that they are above the industry standard. Your product may be a star in the marketplace today, but it might not take long for a competitor to create a slightly better product, a new method of delivery or a new customer experience. Keep your operations as flexible as possible to quickly take advantage of new industry trends. Make research and development a consistent priority to ensure that you are the first to market with new innovations.
Effective customer service is the largest determining factor of customer loyalty and repeat purchases. According to MarketingSphere.com, this single factor often can give small businesses an edge over their larger competitors. Focus your sales and service efforts on delivering the most satisfying customer experience in your industry, and you will see a dramatic increase in word-of-mouth referrals and repeat sales.
Managing your finances wisely can go a long way in helping you achieve long-term business success. Your small company may not have vast credit reserves available, so taking the time to build up a credit reputation through frugal purchasing and disciplined debt repayment is important to the growth of your operations. Pay attention to your debt-to-assets ratio and your times-interest-earned ratio, and compare them to other players in your industry. These ratios will give you an idea of how much of your success relies on borrowing money from banks and other lenders. Small businesses can gain an advantage by being much less dependent on debt than their larger competitors.
Marketing can be a weak point in many small businesses because the sheer costs of traditional media outlets can be daunting to companies with small budgets. Nevertheless, a steady marketing presence is vital to competitive success in business. If you do not have the funds to implement a full-scale television, magazine or radio campaign, get creative and stretch your marketing dollar as far as possible.
Social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter, have become widely popular means of communicating with customers at virtually no cost. Consider sponsoring local events in your target markets or maintaining a presence at local trade shows. Place ads in local newspapers and smaller magazines. Post promotional flyers around town, and offer promotions. Host a charity event, and match all event sponsorships with citywide news releases. The possibilities for bootstrap marketing opportunities are virtually endless.
“We are taught early in life we can be anything we want to be. But as we get older, we can get boxed in to what other people think we should be. Some of us don’t want to stand out, which is fine. Again, people are different and the world needs all types. But some decide that they want a bit more, or want to see what they can really do. They are not afraid to fail. In spite of society telling them to not take chances, they do. Oftentimes they still fail. Many times, even after failure, the true entrepreneur will try again.”(‘State of Mind’ et al)