Do you have what it takes to run a business? YES
As a writer, I guess I should not tell you the answer to the question I have posed right off the bat. However, there is a second question that is probably more important, “What does it take to succeed in business?” You see, many people think that in order to succeed in business, you need to have a lot of smarts, or money, or luck or something special… and if you weren’t born with it, you’re destine to some other role in life that you would just as soon, not do. The reality, is that anyone can succeed in business, but few actually do. Successful business owners didn’t have a ton of money… in fact, most started out completely broke. They didn’t have a superior education. Most dropped out of high school or college when they became bored with academia. So… what did they have? I want to spend today’s blog post introducing you to three elements that I have witnessed in most successful business owners.
The most important element to succeeding in business is to BELIEVE that you can succeed; and identify exactly what success will look like once you’ve achieved it. When I first start coaching a business owner, I will often engage them in a visualization exercise. This is not trying to come up with some catchy phrase to put in your vision statement for your business plan; but rather a sensory story of what your success will FEEL like. I want to know why you want to be in business. Not some statement full of meaningless platitudes; but a real statement that will create passion in you; and is very REAL. If you say that you want to be a hair dresser because you somehow care that most of the world has nice looking hair, I will say BS. If you say that you want to be a hair dresser because you love working with hair; and you want to find a way to make a million dollars styling hair, I will be more likely to believe you. This may sound selfish to some, but it is genuine. If you truly just like styling hair, you can get a low-paying job an any one of a million hair styling salons and style until your heart’s content. If you want to dominate in some way in the hair styling industry, then you’re my kind of business owner.
This belief has got to be very real and very genuine… because there will be several that doubt and criticize your dream of owning a business. Some will say that you shouldn’t listen to the critics or the doubters. I say, listen to every word they say and use their knowledge to build a very, very strong business. Critics will say things that you will either perceive to be negative or positive. A negative perception will allow those criticisms to become realities and kill your business dream. A positive reaction will take the perceptive parts of the criticism and allow your dream to become more real and much stronger. Which direction you take depends completely on your ability to BELIEVE in your business dream. Belief, doesn’t mean false belief… it means a very real belief in something that is real.
I am disheartened by how many times I hear a person I’m coaching say, “I’m not in this for the money.” I’m never quite sure what they mean. I then ask, “What role do you think money plays in business?” They typically respond with, “I know I need money to pay my bills, but I don’t want to take advantage of people.” This tells me that they have been brainwashed by some faction in our society that has convinced them that business leaders are quite greedy and are getting their wealth at the expense of other less fortunate souls. If they cannot get off of this belief, I simply won’t coach them. In fact, most of these folks are unlikely to invest in coaching because they will be satisfied with their meager existence as a small business owner want-to-be; instead of a successful business owner.
True financial wisdom is understanding that, in a free-market, it is the role of a business owner to make as much profit as they can; while it is the role of the consumer to pay as little as they can for a quality product. A business owner must constantly try to reduce his/her costs, increase prices and increase quality to the extent allowed by the free-market. Competitors and consumers will put pressure on you to reduce prices, and increase quality. To the extent you can increase profits, you will be able to re-invest your profits into your business to grow. It pains me to see those business owners who want some investor to invest in them; or a bank to loan them money, when they have not proven they have a way to generate their own profits. No banker or investor will or should give you a dime, if you cannot prove that you can return it back to them with extra.
Business owners are opportunists. They will use whatever legal means possible to make their business successful. Some people see obstacles and limitations; while the successful business owners see opportunities in almost everything that happens. Once upon a time, I was a sales manager in charge of a sales team that sold large projects to the public sector. These projects always needed to be financed for several years. Our state passed a law that said that public agencies within the state could not borrow money without a public election. As soon as this law passed, my competition fled the state looking for opportunities in other states that didn’t have such restrictive laws. I saw this restriction as an opportunity. I was convinced that, due to the necessity of borrowing, public agencies within my state would have to find a way around this new law. Sure enough, they did. The state supreme court ruled that public agencies could finance projects through a lease-purchase as long as the lease didn’t require additional tax revenue. I had lined up three large deals to close right when this ruling had taken effect; and my competition had nothing. It took a few years for them to catch up; when they realized that the opportunity was still quite real.
Business owners see the opportunity, while others see limitations. I guarantee you that if you own a business, every supposed failure is an opportunity, every government regulation is an opportunity, and every other anomaly creates an opportunity. If you see things this way too, you may make an amazing business owner.
If you BELIEVE in your business; you have FINANCIAL WISDOM and you are an OPPORTUNIST, chances are you have what it takes to be a successful business owner. In addition to these three elements, you also need to have an amazing WORK ETHIC. None of this can reside in your MIND; it has to show up in your work, your language and everything you do as a business owner. If you truly want to succeed, you need to live these elements… you can’t just think them.
As a business coach, I help my clients think in ways that will help them become successful. If you want to learn how to think more positively about yourself; and your business in a way that will create your own success; I’d love to help you out. If you want to learn more about my business coaching programs, drop me a note in the contact form below.
Note from the Author
My name is Jeff Schuster. I am a certified Life and Business Coach serving small business owners, corporate executives and others who want to transition from “expert” to “entrepreneur”. I have been a small business owner for most of my 30-years in the workplace. I grew an energy efficiency and renewable energy engineering and construction company from nothing to over $10-million/year and sold it in 2013. I now help other business owners make amazing progress toward their own dreams of business ownership independence and success.