To run a successful business you don’t need to reinvent the wheel (unless you literally are reinventing the wheel, in which case good luck!). There is plenty of astute advice around, some of which is centuries old that you can successfully take heed of and apply.
Here are just a few of my personal favourites:
1 Fortune favours the bold – Latin Proverb
Okay, so this might not always be the case, but if you have a product or service that you think is great; then go for it.
The key is that successful businesses are not afraid to take action; they strike while the iron is hot! Along with this proverb it is also wise to remember the old adage that lions circle hesitant prey. This can be especially relevant when setting and negotiating your prices. Just remember giving discounts and being flexible is fine…to a point, but always make clear that this is the exception rather than the norm.
If you are hesitant and indecisive when negotiating your rates, a canny client can take advantage. Bear in mind, at the end of the day one of the key points of being in business is to make money, so that you can continue offering your great service or product to the world to make it a better place.
If your client cannot afford your price and your price is reasonable, then so be it. Move on. Remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch, for anyone.
2 To catch the client, you must become the client. – Me
Okay, so I may have adapted this one a bit. But the truth behind the principle remains the same.
If you are going to be successful in business then you have to be attuned to what your client or customer really wants, not to what you think they want. So, what does your client really want?
Good question and not one I can answer for you…but if you are consistently not getting the results you desire, there is clearly something you are doing wrong. It might just require a minor tweak so don’t give up.
Of course, there is no such thing as an overnight success, but there is such a thing as insolvency.
3 Only the supremely wise and the ignorant do not change – Confucius
Change is the only constant, and to survive in any business you have to adapt to changes however big or small they may be. To adapt to change you have to be like water, because water does not essentially change but it does adapt.
This doesn’t mean you have to change your business plan or product every 2 minutes, but you have to be aware that the world is constantly changing, and calibrate your business accordingly.
Water stays the same but adapts to the shape of its vessel, even when boiled or frozen, the natural essence of what water is remains the same.
As Bruce Lee said ‘Be Water, My Friend’. If you don’t adapt, you won’t survive in the long term.
4 Make your accomplishments seem effortless – Robert Greene
This doesn’t mean that your work or end product should appear shoddy. Your offering should always be brilliant and your best work, it’s just that for you it appeared effortless.
Of course, being the consummate professional you are you can create magic at whim.
At the end of the day, your client doesn’t want to know that you burnt the midnight oil slaving away over the work you provided, or that you had to sell a kidney, they are just interested in the end result.
Keeping trade secrets isn’t a new thing, it’s sensible. We all have smart ways of doing things to keep us competitive and we all strive for excellence (or should do). But keep the blood, sweat and tears to yourself…along with your secret recipe for success….for others who are less professional than you may steal your ideas.
This doesn’t mean you should not collaborate and help others; that’s a different thing entirely, but always keep a sense of wonder about what you do.
5 A lot of people give up just before they’re about to make it. You know you never know when that next obstacle is going to be the last one.~ Chuck Norris
I am not arguing with Chuck Norris, but in business (as in life) you are always going to face challenges.
The key is to realise this and plan ahead as best you can. It is all about calibrating, changing when necessary, evolving and forever learning. The day you feel you are totally at the top of your game, your business is thriving and you have nothing else to learn and no more difficult seas to navigate, is quite frankly the day you should hang up your hat.
Because if you are not learning and evolving, then you are not bringing anything new to your business.
On this occasion, I think I will concur that Mr Norris is half right, but please don’t tell him I said so. 🙂
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