Tip #1: Define your vision and mission
“Success is… knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.”_ John C. Maxwell
After consulting for many small business owners, I am no longer taken by surprise when they can’t articulate in a concise way what they do or what their business is about.
Your mission defines what you do. Your vision defines the ideal of what you want your business to become. Once you can explain in a brief way what you do and the direction you are heading, will others be inspired to follow you.
Tip #2 Have a strategy
“If you aim at nothing you will hit every time.” _Zig Ziglar
To accomplish your mission and vision, you must set SMART goals. Without clear and measurable goals, you’re bound to waste time and energy without clear results.
Tip #3: Get to work
“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” _Walt Disney
Some people spend far too much time preparing and planning waiting perhaps for the perfect solution to the perfect time. Don’t let perfection paralyze you. Plans are useless unless they are put into action.
Tip # 4: Project an image of professionalism and credibility
“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behaviour.” _Stephen Covey
We all have only one shot at making a first impression. It is not enough to want to be professional. We need to appear professional too. Make sure to always project an image of professionalism and credibility. Without these, you’ll lose your customer’s trust.
Tip #5: Spend within your means
“Never spend your money before you have earned it.” Thomas Jefferson
Don’t spend more than you need to, and you’ll have enough to spend on what’s necessary. You don’t need to buy a building if all you need is to rent an office. Spend wisely, get the most you can for your investment,
Tip #6: Don’t compromise on quality
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” _Steve Jobs
While it is true that you need to spend wisely, it does not mean that you should compromise on quality. Focus on the value of what you invest on, not the price.
In a similar way, you should also ensure you offer your customers the best quality you can provide. Note that we are not talking about perfection. Nobody is perfect. Instead, pursue excellence.
Tip #7 Develop healthy Web and social media marketing habits
“Overnight the digital age had changed the course of history for our company. Everything that we thought was in our control no longer was. But within a year we had invested in social media and digital experts. Now Starbucks is the number one brand on Facebook.” _Howard Schultz
In today’s business world it is nearly impossible to thrive without a strong online presence. That presence today is most felt in social media. However, you can easily get trapped in the social media world for hours without being productive.
Make a plan and budget your time spent online and in social media. Make yourself known, but be mindful about limiting how much time you dedicate online.
Tip #8: Avoid distractions
“Never neglect details. When everyone’s mind is dulled or distracted, the leader must be doubly vigilant.” _Collin Powell
It is good to develop habits that help you prevent distractions. It is also good to look at your work environment. Is it conducive to productivity? Or will it keep you from getting things done?
When you are distracted, you miss the details that can make or break the next deal.
Tip #9: Take reasonable risks. Don’t let fear stop you
“We don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.” _Richard Branson
Fear can stop you from taking risks. But without taking some measure of risk, growth will be limited. Limit your exposure to risk as much as you can, but don’t stop taking risks. Just be smart about what risks you take and when.
Surround yourself with a network of advisers who will help you plan ahead to manage risk wisely.
Tip #10: Enjoy what you do
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” _Dale Carnegie
Have fun and learn to enjoy what you do. Celebrate even the smallest of successes. Life is too short and we work too many hours for us not to enjoy every moment.