We live in a chaotic world, where the dichotomy between the haves and the have-nots is increasingly more apparent with each subsequent year. It's a world where people are immersed in a survival-of-the-fittest rat race, requiring them to evade a complex maze of distractions, bad habits and time wasters to reach their goals. Many are ill-equipped mentally, emotionally and physically to get ahead in life, much less to get far ahead.
Most people know that succeeding in business could afford them a life of leisure, one replete in the ability to travel to far-off destinations, engage in extravagant purchases and to do anything their hearts desire. But overcoming the instant urges and sudden basal needs that plague much of the world often proves to be too much.
What usually happens is the person who dreamed of greener pastures and riches beyond their wildest dreams, becomes so immersed in one problem after another, that it removes any joy whatsoever in building a successful business in the long term. Clearly, while many people yearn to start a business that will ultimately become a huge success, not everyone gets there.
So, what separates the so-called winners from the rest? Why will eight out of every 10 businesses fail in the first 18 months of operation? What are the other two out of 10 doing so differently than the rest? And how is that only four out of every 100 businesses are still around after 10 years? What are the factors that lead to the 96 percent failure rate in business over the long term?
In a recent conversation with Niko Contardi, co-founder of eliteLYFE, a high-end luxury villa rental company that caters to the world's most affluent jet-setters and an exclusive villa rental partner to some of the most prestigious concierge companies on earth, such as Quintessentially, I asked him how they did it. How can a company, in today's day and age, succeed when so many of the odds are stacked against them?
Contardi, who's had a hand in building a near-$100 million dollar business in a few short years, tells me that it's all about delivering real value. "Delivering real value in business is what makes the difference between the so-called winners and losers. Those who try to cut corners and take shortcuts don't actually get ahead in the long term. They might make some short-term traction, but that's about it."
That value needs to exist in everything the business does. By paying attention to all the meticulous details that are necessary to ensure that you deliver an impeccable product or service every single time, you can succeed. You might lose money at the outset, but as long as you continue to deliver enormous amounts of value, that's how true business success is achieved over time.
In fact, the world's richest and most successful individuals have always focused on the need to deliver enormous amounts of value. They didn't necessarily get filthy rich at the outset, but it came over time, happening slowly but surely. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Mark Zuckerberg and many others have contributed real value to the world, making them some of the richest people in history.
Principles for achieving success in business.
Before my son was born, when he was still the size of a quarter inside my wife's womb, I began writing these daily journal entries to him entitled, "To My Unborn Son." We hadn't named him back then, so the journal entries just took on that title and held that title, even after we had an idea of what we would name him when he was born.
In the journal entries, which I logged every single morning, I conveyed a lot of my thoughts and emotions. I wanted to teach him about success. Not just about how you can succeed in business, but more so, how you can succeed in life. But looking back on those entries, something became very apparent to me.
I realized that the principles for success in life are universal. They apply to personal success in relationships as much as they apply to success in business or in your finances. So when we talk about success at its very foundation, these core principles play a large role in dictating any one person's ability to get far ahead in life.
If you abide by these principles, not only will you succeed in business, but you'll succeed in anything that you do, no matter what that might be, great or small.
While most people who dream about success in business imagine a life devoid of problems, it's quite the opposite. Every business has problems. The bigger the business, the bigger and more intricate those problems will be. In fact, the only time you'll cease having problems is when you're six feet under. Problems are a sign of life.
Instead of focusing on the problems, you have to focus on what you're grateful for. Everything in your life was once a wish. We yearn for things, then when we attain them, we look toward the next thing. This Hedonic Treadmill is a defining factor of life and all the more reason why we need to be grateful for what we have right now, in this very moment.
Related: The Four A's of Expressing Gratitude
By focusing on the things that we're grateful for, no matter how small they might be, we open up the infinite wisdom, beauty and endless possibilities that exist in life. The universal ether that binds us all can help us attract the right things in life and achieve the seemingly impossible. But it all starts with an attitude of gratitude.
At the heart of every successful entrepreneur is integrity. Every business needs to be run with integrity, putting the customer first. It should always be the priority of any business owner to do things the right way. Not just because of the potential for bad reviews, but because of the sheer importance of putting people first and foremost at all times.
In another recent interview with Ferrari collector David Lee, purveyor of the highly-successful Hing Wa Lee Group -- valued at more than $500 million -- and the son of an immigrant gemstone carver, integrity is one of his personal business rules for success.
By treating people the right way, like you would treat your family, you'll eventually succeed in business over time. It might not happen as quickly as you'd hope for it to happen. It might actually take decades. But as long your focus is unwavering, you'll get there if you don't give up on your goals.
Real inherent value has to be at the heart of everything any successful business owner does. If you don't deliver value, you can kiss your chances of success goodbye. But most people don't focus on delivering value. They focus on taking shortcuts and finding the easy way to do things. Success doesn't quite work like that.
While many people are concerned with doing the least amount of work for the greatest initial return, true success in business over the long term demands quite the opposite. You have to do the most amount of work for the least initial return while focusing on delivering true value. As soon as you compromise on that value proposition, that's when you'll find your business in a decline or even a free fall. But if you put value above all else, not only will you succeed in business, but you'll taste the most wild success possible at the highest level attainable. It just won't happen quickly or easily.
Giving up simply isn't an option. Building a successful business over time takes work. It takes an endless amount of struggle, breakdowns, tears and failures. You can't simply expect to succeed instantly. It doesn't quite work that way. But for those who are willing to stick it out and see things through, success will most certainly be reached.
What most people don't realize is that even the world's most famous people failed numerous times. It didn't come simply or easily. It took tremendous amounts of struggle and heartache. Stay persistent no matter what happens. Even if you feel like there's no other way forward, you can't give up.
KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders was 62 years old and had just a $105 social security check to his name when he finally found success. Even after 1,000 restaurants turned down his franchise chicken model, he kept persisting. Henry Ford went bankrupt twice, but never gave up, and J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book was turned down by all 12 major publishers. That just shows you the power of persistence.
One thing I wanted my son to understand about success was loyalty. Loyalty is important in life. You have to be loyal to people who helped you when you were just starting out. Rather than try to stab people in the back due to greed or some other desire to get quickly ahead, you have to stay loyal.
There's simply no need to create negative energy by being disloyal. Don't go around someone or try to pull something over someone's head. Don't be conniving or underhanded. Take those who were there to support you at the outset to the top with you. Ensure they're around because they were there when no one else was.
This isn't just about loyalty to family; this is about loyalty to customers, employees, friends, partners and everyone else who helped you along the way. Be sure to keep them around, because one day, when you least expect it, they could be there to help you achieve some of your biggest business goals.
Contribution should be at the heart of any successful business. As long as we're looking for ways to contribute something in this world and make it a little bit better than it was when we first arrived in it, we're doing ourselves and all others a huge service. However, not enough people focus on contribution.
One of the things I wanted my son to take away from my principles of success in business or in life was the importance of contribution. We have to search for ways we can help others. There are far too many people in this world who are enduring endless hardships. We simply have to stop and think of them at times before we think of ourselves.
Search for ways that you can contribute to those causes. It doesn't have to be money. Time is more valuable than money. Find ways you can help those who are less fortunate and give a little bit back to society. Not only will you feel great, but you'll end up attracting good things into your life over time. It's simply how the world works.