5 Surprising Things That Can Contribute to Business Success
Perhaps you’ve never actually asked Siri or another digital assistant how to become successful, but you’ve definitely looked for the answer online.
There are a lot of resources out there on how to improve your business, tips on how to be more creative or how to manage your time better. But, let me tell you this: unless you know specifically what to look for, chances are the articles your read will present the same tips we already associate with success.
Other less appreciated strategies take a backseat, even though I’d argue they are just as valuable. These “backseat” strategies are really all about you, the business owner.
Business Success: Achieved in 5 Surprising Steps
I’m willing to bet even if you’ve heard about these five tips, you’re not exactly putting them to the test. And you should! Pull out your notepad and start writing this stuff down. You’re going to want to start as soon as possible.
1. Learn About Your Company and Industry
I know what you’re about to say. "Really, Denise? Do you think I don’t know my own company? You think I don’t know that I have to research the industry I work in?"
I know, right? It’s like I’m psychic!
I’m not really psychic. I do want to say this: you know some things about your industry and company, but you don’t know nearly enough. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are your biggest competitors, and how do they compete with your brand?
- How are you different than them?
- Have you participated in your competitor’s processes or purchased their products?
- What’s the biggest issue your industry faces, both opportunity and stumbling block?
- How is your company prepared to overcome that issue?
- What value does your company give your customers? Not products, not services, but actual value into their lives. Think impact.
2. Read What Your Mentors are Reading and Publishing
Look at the people who inspire you and see what they’re doing. That's not just something for your own pleasure — you can truly get some pretty good inspiration from them.
Industry leaders have to maintain their stance or point-of-view by constantly letting the world know their insights on various subjects, and business owners like you should pay attention. Whether they publish articles, appear in a TED Talk, or do a podcast, you should pencil in some time to follow your mentors and see what they have to say.
Maybe you know everything they’ll talk about. What if they discuss something new or put a new twist on their information, and you miss it? Who are they collaborating with and why would that be beneficial to them and their brand? Consider subscribing to their social media profiles and blogs to keep you up to date on what’s happening in their world and sphere of influence. Consider how you could implement some of their techniques to grow your own following and sphere of influence. There’s a saying that there are only six degrees of separation.
3. Collect Inspiration for Later
There are very few people around that can come up with new and innovative solutions without continually surrounding themselves with knowledge. Curiosity is the key. Being a lifelong learner certainly helps, too. Most of us need to be inspired, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this muse won’t visit you in your sleep and present "5 key ways of achieving business success." You have to look for inspiration yourself.
And you have to write down the ideas. Don’t assume you’ll remember them, you won’t. Either you build a file somewhere on your computer, or bookmark an article with some great ideas (like this one, obviously).
You could index your idea journals for quick information searches, as you log your great ideas. Definitely keep track of your inspiration, and review it regularly.
I use Evernote to track and collect things that inspire me. Evernote transitions real world (photos, handwritten and typed notes, voice recordings, and attachments) to the digital world. The best part is you can browse websites and add your own notes and tags to the website information as you add it to Evernote. The icing on the cake is that you can access the information from your Chrome browser, your phone app and on your desktop! It’s a seamless inspiration catcher.
After that, you can use all these ideas to build a plan and see how you can apply that source material to your needs or those of your company.
4. Ask Great Questions
"Don’t be afraid to ask questions" is something we’ve heard since primary school, yet a lot of us still refrain from doing it. There are a lot of people who know a lot more about certain things than you do, and you should ask about what you want to know.
For instance, let’s say you are at some conference, and there’s a networking event after. There’s a speaker there who gave a great presentation on a topic that interests you, but the format didn’t allow them to go really in-depth on some issues. Well, why not just ask them? I see a lot of people wanting to do this, but fearing they might annoy the person or bother them in some way. I find if you are respectful and don’t push, people will respond. You could even connect on social media and share your takeaways from their conference presentation. Every speaker appreciates hearing what they spoke about has left a positive impact for their audience. Sometimes even negative feedback given in a way that would help someone improve is appreciated. A great example would be: I don’t have experience with “this industry term,” but this is what I heard you say. Ask if your understanding is clear. Keep connecting!
If you don’t know what to ask, just inquire about their opinion like "in your view, what’s the one thing people get wrong about being successful?" and go from there.
5. Pick One Thing — Do It Today!
Maybe you were having a really slow day at work, or you really need some answers on this topic and stumbled upon my article. If it’s the latter, then I have one last tip for you: start today.
Pick something in your business that isn’t working, or needs to be improved, and get started today. Even if it’s just one small thing, like choosing an office management tool to ease your company’s work, that counts and is an improvement with a step forward. The idea here is to stop delaying these things and make a commitment to positive change.
If you did one positive thing a day, by the end of the year you would have accomplished 365 positive things! Imagine where you would be, especially if just one positive thing caused your business to really take off.
Don’t Have Time — We Can Help with That!
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