From the March 2004 issue of Entrepreneur

Traveling in a straight line may be the fastest way to get somewhere, but that doesn't mean it's the best way to grow your business. In fact, there are many mountains and seemingly impassable waterways that will alter your journey toward success.

As entrepreneurs, we often think that we must have all the answers and always know exactly what our next step will be. If we just keep "doing," we will achieve success. If we compromise, we assume we have failed or lost control of our destiny.

As humans, we do not have all the answers. Our goals change as we constantly learn and adapt. This is not surrender, but rather a natural progression. Make compromise part of your everyday vocabulary, and succeed by:

1. Realizing that you will have multiple successes. State your initial goal clearly, and realize that, as you learn from the real world, your goal may change. This does not mean you have failed; it simply means you have learned what works. Each new version of your goal is a step toward ultimate success.

2. Taking action to test your goals. To truly succeed, you must discover what works both in the marketplace and in your life. Ask your customers how your business can be improved-this real-world feedback will lead to continued success. Stay passionate about what you're doing by reminding yourself every night what you love about your business.

3. Changing your goals as you learn. Many entrepreneurs who find they must change their goals question the value of their past work. Stop worrying about how much time and effort you have invested in what you have accomplished. Be honest with yourself about where you are right now, and discover how to apply what you have learned to your new goal.

4. Sharing your new goals. Just because your goals change doesn't mean you've failed. Your friends, family and colleagues are there to help. However, they can't help if they don't understand your objectives. Explain your goals and how your research has shown you a better way to achieve success. When people understand what you truly intend to achieve, they will forget their doubts and support you.

Passion plus real action equals success. Speak of your new goals with the same fervor and enthusiasm you had when you first started out. People connect with and respect passion, and they will support you as you continue to achieve new successes.


Speaker and consultant Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Dream Business.