In early-April I was invited by the Nevada Hispanic Business Group to address a group of individuals on the topic of Business Development. I was told that it would be a mix of young entrepreneurs as well as established business people, so I had to develop a balance: I had to make sure it was in-depth enough to give the aspiring business owners some good starting tips, but also provide insights that would assist those in the room with their current business as well. Yeah…no pressure.
While it took some time and effort (and some much needed coffee) to prepare and develop a strong balance in my presentation that would suit both groups, the result was successful: the audience enjoyed the presentation and asked some great questions. I ended my talk with 8 steps that can be quickly implemented in any business:
- Set Objectives/Goals
- Be Persistent
- Conduct a Business Growth Audit
- Deal with Decisionmakers
- Find a Mentor
- Ask and Listen
- Invest in Your Team
- Manage the Follow-Up Process
These are tips intended to help you look at your business, give you the insights needed to develop a strategy, and give your business a boost.
The 8 Steps
Determine what you want to do. This is the foundation for any plan to achieve success. But, there are times when it seems like the goals and objectives are too lofty or to ambitious. What do you do? Break it up into smaller pieces with smaller goals. Doing this makes the plan achievable by setting smaller, more achievable goals that all add up to your ultimate goal at the end.
Ambition is good, but if you go for something that you don’t currently have the resources for and are ill prepared to take on at the moment, you won’t succeed. Breaking up ambitious goals into smaller, more manageable pieces allows you to celebrate small victories along the way as you make your way to the top. How do you think people have climbed Mount Everest, the tallest mountain on Earth? By taking one step at a time to the top.
Links to some great articles on achieving goals:
Don’t give up. When you want to achieve your goals and objectives, you need to keep moving forward, regardless of the obstacles in your way. If someone tells you that it can’t be done or doesn’t encourage you, acknowledge what they are saying, say “Okay,” and move on because no one else is going to want to achieve your goal but you. If you have a goal, don’t give up.
Conduct a Business Growth Audit
You need to assess where you are on a regular basis. When making this assessment, ask yourself these three questions and find the honest answers:
- Where did we start from?
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to take this business?
This is an assessment you should make every three months, at minimum. It allows to you make sure that your business stays on track and is keeping the pace that you want to be at to achieve your goals. You want to be able to honestly address where you are at. If something needs to be looked at, don’t paint a rosy picture of it or pretend that challenge (there are not problems, only challenges to overcome) does not exist. Acknowledge those challenges and deficits that exist. When you honestly and openly acknowledge those challenges and deficits, you are able to address them and develop solutions so you are not asking the same questions again at your next audit.
Link to a great article on Business Audits from the Harvard Business Review:
Deal with Decision Makers
Find out who the decision makers are in your industry and in the kinds of businesses you want to get involved in and meet with them. They are the ones who have the final say in the business you are a patron of at that moment. They are the ones that will have answers to your questions or who will say whether their business will work with you in some capacity or not.
Find a Mentor
A mentor is someone who currently does or has achieved what you are aspiring to. This is the person whose success you want to emulate…and even surpass. They can provide guidance that you need to get to where you want to be. They have been where you are and they can help you navigate around the pitfalls they encountered with their advice and experience. They can help you close that experience and knowledge gap with advice from what they have gone through as leaders in their respective industry. They will tell you the good, the bad, and the ugly that you need to hear so you can maintain your course on the right track.
A great link on what to look for in a mentor from the Harvard Business Review:
Ask and Listen
Ask questions and listen to what others have to say. This could be a mentor, a colleague, a supervisor, or someone wanting to impart advice to you. If there is someone that has information that you need to succeed in your business, do not hesitate to find those answers.
When conversing with them, don’t tell them all about you; instead, ask them about themselves, how they got to where they are, and what knowledge they think would assist you at this point in your business. You won’t have the opportunity to know someone if you’re not letting them speak and taking in what they have to impart to you.
Invest in Your Team
Your team is what makes you grow. Create opportunities and incentives for them to grow and to show their potential for your company. They make the success happen because business is a team effort with you leading and them making your requests a reality for the overall benefit of the company.
Manage the Follow-Up Process
When meeting with a mentor or decision maker, own that process of following up. If you made contact with them, but haven’t heard back from them, email or call them to let them know that you valued them giving their time and that you are serious about working with them in some capacity. Don’t have the expectation that people are going to come to you. You need to show that passion and vigor to that person. By showing them that you are serious and committed, they know that their time energy is well spent working with you.
These are simple and straight-forward tips. However, the biggest successes are founded on solid fundamentals and tried and true advice. Mastering the fundamentals and getting the basics and the simple things right every time create a strong foundation for future growth.
These steps don’t have to be followed in order. That is the beauty of this kind of advice: they are versatile and allow you to make their implementation your own. Just like you and your ambitions in life are unique, so too will the path you follow to your ultimate success. Follow these steps in a way that works for you and gets you to where you want to be in your business and in life.
These are good starting points to begin implementing in your business to get your company oriented on the right trajectory to success. The simplicity of these steps means you can get started right away. You can make those appointments with decisionmakers to ask your questions right now. You can start plotting out your goals and what success means to you and your business right now. Success will come with hard work and dedication, but there are times when the simplest steps (when done right) can yield major benefits as well.
Equipped with these ideas, I want to close this blog with two words of encouragement: