by Leon J. Owens
Nobody likes rules. They tell us to do things that might not come naturally, or that are simply “hard” to do. But follow these simple rules and you’ll be moving closer to achieving business success.
In business, what we want—what is essential for survival—is a level of success over the long haul. Yes, business is full of ups and downs, but if we can get the former to outnumber the latter, then we’re a success.
What follows are the fundamental rules for any successful enterprise. Maybe it’s an affront to Moses to call them “Commandments,” so let’s just call them “Really Good Suggestions” and I’ll cut them down to my lucky number: 7.
- Anticipate failure. Not ultimate failure, hopefully, but failure along the way to success. If you can arrange it, fail early. Get it out of the way. Don’t be afraid of it. Business is risky, nothing is certain, and a large percentage of endeavors fall flat on their face. Make failure your friend. It will be the most valuable business lesson you’ll ever have. You learn things, it will make you stronger, and you’ll be that much closer to success.
- Get rid of your pride. Here’s a fundamental reality: nobody’s waiting for you to succeed, and nobody really cares what your brilliant plans are. If you hang out in the hallways talking about your degree from Yale or Harvard and expect anyone to give you a purchase order or an investment because you “deserve it”…you’ll be in those hallways for a lonngg time. Waiting for the perfect moment to approach a client or to be “discovered” for that promotion? Not gonna happen. Don’t just knock on doors. Push them open and just walk right in. What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll be escorted to the back of the line…but you will have already been inside and you’ll know what to expect the next time you get in there. And while you’re at it, leave your pride outside.
- Don’t count your money. A fundamental in poker and in business. Noodling over every dollar takes time away from what you should be doing: breaking down doors, creating opportunity, serving a need, and delivering on promises. Okay, so money’s short. You think you’re alone? Well, you will be alone if you don’t get out there and create value that earns a financial return. Stop counting money and start making some. Remember what J. Paul Getty said: If you know how much money you have…you don’t have enough.
- Don’t look for money. You can be sure it’s not out there waiting for you to come along and just pick it up. You need to do something to make money, and if all you do is look for money that’s just “looking” and not doing. The trick, of course, is to do something you believe in, something that you would pay to do. Do that, and eventually someone will actually pay you for it.
- Learn the value of…love. What? I know, you’re shocked. What does love have to do with business? Well…everything. Without it, what’s your real motivation? Have someone in your life to share your success (as you achieve it) and to share your disappointments when you fail (you’ll both be stronger, and so will your love). Love creates a unit, a team. Business is a team sport; you don’t want to go onto the field to face all those opponents all by your lonesome. Find love and a teammate; success follows.
- Know what success means. Your business thrives, you make serious profits, and everyone suddenly loves you. Not on this planet, folks. You’ll work hard, overcome obstacles, become a success…and find a world of naysayers and critics trying to bring you down. You’ll find it hard to trust anyone. Trust Success least of all, because it is never guaranteed, never eternal. When you achieve it, enjoy it…but it can be short lived, so get back to work and create the next success.
- Be and feel lucky. We’ve all heard the cliché “It’s better to be lucky than good.” Well, there’s nothing wrong with being both. If you prepare for it, work for it, and are always open to the unexpected, success is waiting for you to show up. The real secret to success: work hard and never stop showing up.