- Commit to establishing relationships. Core to our humanity is our ability to make relationships. Don't create your business in a vacuum. Relationships provide information, leads, knowledge, hints, connections, funding and validation--elements that quickly close the gap between your goals and success.
Speak with people you casually pass every day. Friends, storeowners, the financial consultant at the gym and co-workers are all potential connections and sources of information. The trick is turning a casual conversation into business knowledge that can help you.
The most unique and human part of us wants to connect. We all like to be around people who have positive attitudes and love what they do. Always speak with great enthusiasm about your business idea, no matter how bad your day is. Inspire and inform others and they will give something back.
- Create a plan through taking action. You continually have the opportunity to make powerful choices. A guru ahead of his time, Yogi Berra once said, "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." In other words, if you don't know which path to follow, action is your best choice. Stop filling out paperwork that you feel may help you grow your business and go explore. Experiment, talk to potential customers and discover information and ideas that connect your dream to the real world.
- Always ask for help and listen. Amazing things happen when you simply just ask and listen to people. Pay special attention to front-line people who are in contact with your customers every day-they are your opportunity to discover what works in the real world. You will be able to discover new market trends, strategies that will save you time and money, suppliers, distributors and even what your competitors are up to. Analyze the information they provide, decide how it affects your business and then take action.
- If you get stuck, hold a brainstorming party. People are there to help. They are just uncertain how. If you ever wonder if something is right (such as pricing or features), or if you need any other qualitative information, hold a brainstorming party. Invite a group of friends, colleagues or other business owners over to your house. Specify your challenge and ask them for solutions. You will be amazed at the contacts, resources and ideas you can garner just by asking. When first starting out, many of my clients invite people over for a "name-storming" party.
- Keep your stress low by staying organized. Each night, prepare a to-do list that states everything you hope to accomplish the next day. Each morning, take a deep breath and attack the list. As you finish the tasks, cross them off. Make crossing out your accomplishments a celebration--use a star or a special pen. Keep your lists in a notebook so you can review your accomplishments whenever you need to.
- Take time to exercise your mind, body and soul. Without you, there is no business. You are human and have to take care of your body, mind and spirit. Include personal objectives in your nightly to-do list. If you love playing tennis, keep doing it. If you enjoy going to religious services, go for it. There is a reason you enjoy these things. Do not neglect yourself-you are the foundation of your business.
- Spend time with others who are achieving their goals. Some find entrepreneurship a lonely path. But you are part of a large organization called "the world." Make sure you find other professionals with whom to associate. Join a networking group, the Chamber of Commerce or an organization that serves entrepreneurs in a field similar to yours. Meeting other people, especially those with similar goals, reminds us that we're not alone, that there are others out there experiencing the same things we are. You can learn a lot from their mistakes and successes.
- Keep your word. Keep your word to others and yourself, because your reputation can take you places or bar you from them. If you say you will do something, do it! And if you can't do something, don't promise it.
- Don't delay. Start today. There is nothing you "need" to start your business except your imagination, your heart and the ability to take action. As you move your business forward, you will discover the people, resources and information you truly require to succeed.