12 Steps to Achieving Success in Business

Written By The Thrillionaires Published April 12th, 2010

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By Dr. Dallas Humble

Why is it some people enjoy more free time, have more money and are generally more successful than someone else in the same business in the same town? What is the secret? Is there a specific formula that anyone can follow that insures success?

I have been asked about success by those in business for quite some time. Having operated multiple businesses in various locations—some successful and some not—many of the answers have been answered.

Most of us have learned about success in the broad spectrum with the limitation money has on its meaning. The purpose of these guidelines is to discuss specific ways of achieving success in your business life. You can do all the right things, balance your life to your best ability and still fail in business. With that fact known, taking note of some specific guidelines to follow in your business life will assist you in achieving your financial goals.

A step, strategy or plan of action is a must; however, a plan of action will not work for you if you do not take the responsibility of putting the strategy to work. Considering that you are willing to do this, we will examine some specific strategies that are possessed by the most successful business people of today. If there were a secret formula for success in the business world, most who have obtained it would agree that these following 12 steps are the secrets unfolded. Many are short and sweet. But each contains meaning that will assist you by guiding you down the proper path toward achieving success. Let’s examine each of these in detail.

Step #1 – The Willingness to Learn and Change If Necessary

A willingness to learn and to make changes if necessary is one of the, if not the, most important of all the components to becoming successful in business.

Some people with unsuccessful businesses baffle me. They seem so committed to failure by closing their minds to anything that may help them. Whether they are new businesses or existing ones barely making it, they ask questions but do not listen to the answers. Many are convinced that they are already doing things the right way, and what they’ve read will not work in their business for a variety of reasons.

These reasons are actually excuses in disguise and make evident their unwillingness to learn and accept the fact that their success concepts are actually failure principles. They are usually too prideful to admit wrong, and too lazy to put any successful strategies to work for them. Accepting that we all can learn and improve, and having a hunger for the knowledge necessary to do so is the first step in achieving the success you desire.

Step #2 – Understanding Your Business, How it Works and Servicing Your Customers

Once you have accepted the first step, understanding your business and how it works is a must.
It may sound simple but I have seen some of the most organized, efficiently running businesses fail. By the same token, I have seen unorganized, inefficiently running businesses succeed. What do they attribute that success to? You guessed it, understanding what the customer wants and providing it. Understanding what your business sells well enough to sell it even if it meant you wouldn’t get paid for it.

In the health care business, much of the success comes from providing service above and beyond what is asked for. I once wrote an article that was published for the chiropractic profession titled “Why Are Some Doctors Are Successful, While Others Are Not?” The article centered on much of what I am relaying to you in this chapter. Regardless of whether you are in the health care business or some other business the principles are much the same. Deliver a good service that people want and do it better than anyone else.

There are some businesses closing everyday that should not. No one smiles. No one helps you. No one goes out of his or her way. I am convinced that most businesses could prosper if only they serviced their customers properly. I can almost predict whether someone will make it in the business world by talking to them for a short period of time. Next to undercapitilation, I believe poor management (of which good service is included) is the number one cause of business failures. If you don’t understand your business, its workings and what it does on a regular basis, perhaps someone else will down the street or around the corner from you.

Step #3 – Having Purpose While Staying Focused

Most businesses start with a business plan. It is difficult to get financing without one. In the plan you state the reason your business will exist: to make or service products, service people, etc. This is your business’ purpose.

As important as it is to understand your business thoroughly and service your customers, it is crucial to stay focused on your purpose and goals to be effective. It’s much like practicing what you preach. To understand something is one thing, to live by it is another. It is imperative that you do not move away from your business’ purpose. Stick to the basics.

With all the complaints you may hear from customers it’s no wonder why people unfocused on their business’ purpose suffer from burnout every four to six weeks. Keep your eyes focused ahead and remain on purpose. Read educational material pertaining to your business. Read healthy, motivational articles and books; attend seminars that focus on inspiring commitment to your business, keeping you up to date and ahead of your competition. Above all associate only with people that have the same or similar belief system as you do.
Then and only then will you reap the benefits of what staying on purpose will produce for you.

Step #4 – Take Responsibility for Your Business

My business is not doing well because my employees are not doing their job correctly. Things would be better, but people have been sick all over town with the flu, the weather has been bad and no one’s getting out, and on and on the list goes.

Although there are certain things that may definitely contribute to the success or failure of your business, you are the one that controls it. The buck stops with you. Just as a parent must take responsibility for his or her children, so must a business owner take control of his or her business. To do less than this is a cop out.
Pointing the finger at someone else will not make you a stronger person. Besides, when you point your finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you. Take responsibility for all aspects of your business. You will become a better person for it. It can give you the strength to take on obstacles you would have never thought possible.

Step #5 – Don’t Pay Attention to What Others Say

No one who is successful at anything is going to have good things said about him or her without hearing negative comments said as well.

The difference between being successful in business or merely mediocre is paying little attention to the negative comments that are said about them. They focus on the business’ purpose to exist. No obstacle will get in the way or distract their attention. It’s what I call the Duck Theory. Negative comments roll off their back like water on a duck’s feathers. Business owners that do not hold firm their beliefs and their purposes are easily distracted. Without the eye of the tiger they loose sight of their goal.

Think back through history, even into biblical days. With all success breeds jealousy, and with jealousy comes criticism. Don’t pay attention to it. Remember, if you are talked about frequently, you’re in good company. Being a good person will not stop it from happening. Anyone that has accomplished anything great has been criticized, even Christ himself.

Step #6 – Avoid the Rubber Mouth Syndrome

In short, if you are going to have more customers and deliver quality service, you are going to have to learn to quit talking and start working. Contrary to most beliefs, people do not want to talk about bass fishing, the economy or what is in the news when they are in a hurry. They can do that anywhere. Take for instance the banking industry. People used to go in, have a cup of coffee and talk to their banker—no more. Now they’re lucky if you even go to the drive through window because of the computer age. People want fast quality service. It’s a fast paced society revolving around service. Either conform or be left out.

Step #7 – Take Your Mind Off of the Geographical Syndrome

“Is it my location?” “Do the people here have the money for my services?” “People would not go for that concept or advertisement in my area?” These are typical geographical comments (demographics) of concern. In most cases, the answers to the above are no, yes and bologna.

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard an excuse that centered around demographics. It all goes back to taking responsibility for your business. Although there are legitimate concerns, they are few and far between. I have seen people succeed in some of the worst locations around.

Years ago, while visiting a successful doctor in California, I noticed that there was little parking available without an effort on the patients part. The office was not located in a highly visible area either. His office, however, was seeing in excess of 2,000 patient visits weekly between all of the practitioners. When I asked him about the location and parking problem he replied, “I never paid attention to it. I’m not in the parking business.” Get the picture?

Let’s look at my example. Would you go to a doctor only because he had adequate parking if he were not competent in what he did? I don’t think so. Likewise I’m sure most of us would walk further to get superior service. This doctor knew that because of the service his office delivered, people won’t care about parking if the service is superior and the product is better than at the mall with a parking garage.

Step #8 – Avoid Burnout Syndrome

Everyone needs time off to spend doing the things they enjoy and spend time with their family. Burnout syndrome, however, comes more frequently with the business owner who is in business without knowing where they are going. They have little or no purpose and feel beat-up after several complaints or negative comments from others. For the person who is on purpose and excited about his or her work, vacation time becomes a want rather than a necessity.

Since your family should obviously come before business, and we should all take time to enjoy the things life has to offer, you should schedule time away from the office occasionally according to your needs, but not so often that you can’t serve your customers with the service they deserve.

Step #9 – You Must Have a Desire to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Comfort zones are easy to get into. You work hard for a period of time and reach a certain level of achievement. While your business is in the affluent trend, you are excited and have your attention on the goals you had established. Suddenly you reach a plateau and can’t seem to get above it. You may fluctuate above it for a short period of time only to return below the magic number, whatever it may be.

Granted, there are plateaus in which you will reach and max out in business. If this is where you are happy and satisfied, fine. However, if you have reached a plateau and desire to grow you definitely can. The key word is desire.

You must truly possess the desire to grow because you will be required to go through changes. You may have to add a staff member, work extra hours, add more space and become more involved in the community. Or if you have maxed out to your capacity, hire a manager. Whatever the change is, you must be willing to do just that, change. I do not know of anyone personally who has had success knock at their door or come looking for them. Seek to find and knock for doors to be opened unto you.

Step #10 – Establish Goals And Be Committed To Them

There are goals, and then there are goals. The first type is the ones you talk about but never take the necessary action steps to achieve them. The second type is the ones you establish with action steps and commit yourself to no matter what it takes.

Playing in the game of life without goals is somewhat like playing a game of basketball without a basketball, goals or net. You may try to play the game, but you can never achieve anything. Establish your goals. Put them in writing. Commit yourself to them and do not let anything stop you from achieving them. You will be amazed at what you can do. We will discuss goals in detail in Section III.

Step #11 – Take Control of Your Own Finances

No matter what success principals you establish, the financial aspect cannot be dismissed. If it is out of sink then the concentration it will drain from you will bleed you of the energy you need elsewhere. The result is failure or success to a much lesser degree.

To design a financial plan does not necessarily mean finding a financial planner. It means to take control. Learn all there is that you need to know.

Establish good spending and saving habits. Set out to learn all you can about how to handle money. Remember, no one is going to look after your money like you will. Learn to take control of your own finances.

Step #12 – Be Willing and Prepared to Work

Last but not least, be willing to work for what you desire in life. As stated before, success does not generally knock on your door. For the few that receive it by lotteries, inheritance, etc., many times the result is disaster, failure and unhappiness beyond comprehension.

Unless you have learned the value of a dollar and what a true work ethic is all about, success will always be waiting for you at the other end of the rainbow. But, if you put these components to work for you and commit yourself to working for your goals, success is sure to become a reality.

Whatever your definition of success is, remember this: Believe and achieve, doubt and do without. If these strategies sound simple to you, remember the simple things are put here for the wise man to see. Wise up and you too can accomplish things in your business and personal life that you may have thought were not possible.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Dallas Humble is an author, speaker and business coach. He has written numerous articles published in professional journals worldwide as well as authored numerous books on business management and success principles. Dr. Humble has spoken to and consulted with thousands of his colleagues and individuals and on inspiration, personal development, motivation, leadership and business management. He is also featured in the movie, The Journey, an inspirational film about life and the pursuit of success with Brian Tracy and Bob Procter. Often known for his Make It Happen Strategies, his positive messages have created hope, belief and a winning attitude in people from around the globe and have placed him among the top speakers in America today. For more information on his services, products, events or speaking engagements visit his web site at www.makeithappennetwork.com or email him at support@makeithappennetwork.com

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