How do you define success? Webster’s defines it as a favorable or desired outcome or the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence. The bottom line is that success relates to achieving goals. You set the goals and you determine whether or not you are successful. Here are some tips to help with your journey toward success.
The first S — Self
Develop your personal, specific definition about success. If you don’t know what success means to you, how can you work towards it? In creating your definition, consider that you want it be something within your control, not that of other people. You want to be able to measure it so you can hold yourself accountable on a regular basis. You also want it to mesh with your personal values and principles. Remember, it’s your goal not someone else’s.
Take action every day toward your goals. You don’t have to know all the steps needed, i.e., how to get to the finish line. In fact, you may only know the finish line. You just ask yourself what the first or next step is. It might be as simple as google something to get started. The next steps will show themselves when you are ready. You have to to step out in faith and take action.
Eliminate excuses. It’s so easy to stop yourself with every excuse in the book. Hey, we’ve all done it. Coaches I work with have a “no excuses” policy. I hear this as I work. I ask myself if I’m making excuses for not getting something done. Do you want the goal or the excuse? Do you strive to work in an “excuse-free” environment. This will have a positive effect on your day and its outcome.
Part of self includes self-development. Life-long learning and self-improvement are key. Look for ways you can build your skills, whether that is in knowledge of your specific area or learning how to get out of your own way.
Be open to the opportunities in front of you. Opportunities exist all around you. Don’t just stick with the status quo.
Take personal responsibility for everything. This is the real key for the “Self” S in Success. Unless you learn to do this, you won’t get too far.
The second S — Systems
Systems are important to grow your business, and you don’t have to be a big business to put systems in place. Have you given any thought to systems in your business? Without systems, you, in essence, reinvent the wheel every time you do the same task again. Any task that is done more than once or twice can be systematized. This is one way you can work smarter not harder.
My favorite resources for understanding systems are any of the E-Myth books by Michael E. Gerber. Gerber often talks about working on your business rather than in your business. His solution is to consider your business as the prototype for a franchise operation and create systems so processes can be done at the lowest level possible. He doesn’t expect you to create a franchise; he wants you to understand how systems help you create and build a successful business.
When you have systems in place, you are better able to use your time for what we could call your brilliance. For creative people this results in spending more time creating your product or generating new ideas.
To get started creating systems, look at the tasks that you do that are repeated. Take the time to write down the actions step-by-step. The second time you need to do the activity, use your written system and refine it. You may do this either in writing or with a video.
When you finish doing this for a variety of activities, you’ve created an operations manual for your business. It takes time to put together the systems, and in the end it’s definitely worth it. You will be able to hand off tasks so others can complete them. If you add people to your team, you’ve already got the task instructions in place. And in a pinch, you can pitch and have a system to follow.
The third S — Support
You can’t expect to grow a successful business by yourself. It take support in a variety of ways. It could be free, such as family and friends, or paid, such as your bookkeeper or a coach. Don’t wait until you need support to think about getting it. As you go thorough your day, think about how support could help you move to the next level. Here are three ideas.
Track what you are doing each day. At the end of the day go through your list and mark which tasks are something that a administrative person should do as opposed to a manager or entrepreneur. You are the entrepreneur of your business, and if you spend your time doing administrative work, you will never get ahead.
Write down who is on your support team now and then who you should consider adding to your team. Here are some possibilities to get you started: bookkeeper, accountant, lawyer, insurance agent, virtual assistant, intern, graphic designer, pattern testers, editors. Ideally you will be working in your brilliance and allowing someone else to work in theirs. The beauty of this is that your support team will work much faster at a task that you struggle to complete. You will gain time back that can be put to better use by you.
Plan when you can fill the holes in your support team. Identify the most important support team member that will help you move ahead and set a goal with a deadline to add that person. You may think that you can’t afford to outsource or hire. Consider the costs of trying to do it all yourself. Ideally, you are hiring someone who will complete the work faster and at a lower cost than you are paying yourself. And, you are most likely not hiring full-time employees so the financial burden will be less.
It’s your turn!
How do you put the 3 S’s to work on your business?