Small Changes Spark Big Sales

Need help taking your business to a higher level? Try making small changes to create the transformation you've been looking for.
Magazine Contributor

This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Change is hard for many people. But really, it's what makes life exciting. Constantly learning. Changing our minds, habits, environment and the people with whom we surround ourselves. Mixing things up. Not settling for the same old thing.

The purpose of change is not just to make something different; it's to make something better. The goal is to keep moving to a higher level-to find ways to be more efficient, effective and successful. It's easy to do the things you've always done and do them the way you've always done them. It's a lot harder-but a lot more rewarding-to be proactive and constantly look for ways to improve.

Making major changes can be difficult. But often, taking small steps makes the biggest difference. For instance:

  • Change your speed-dial list. I keep a "top 10" dial list on my phone. These are the 10 business-related people I call most; they're my priority customers. But business situations change. It may be time to ask yourself "Are these 10 people still my highest priorities?" If not, take some out, and add in those people who are most important to helping you build your business.
  • Change your surroundings. Mohandas K. Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see." But you can also see the change you want to be. It's hard to ignore things that are right in front of you. My walls are covered with reminders of projects I'm involved in, projects I hope to be involved in and achievements I can celebrate. When I walk into my office, I can see where I've been, where I am and where I'm going. This is my "war room," and it can't remain static. Life is made up of adjustments, compromises and sacrifices; we must be steadfast in moving toward our goals, yet realistic in our willingness to make changes to achieve them.
  • Change your knowledge level. The only way you're going to move to a higher level is by making changes based on what you know about your product or service. So consider new markets and new product lines to get more depth and breadth. Explore new ways to connect with other individuals or make new partnerships that can add value to the bigger picture. Use their strengths to bolster your weaknesses, and vice versa. Look for unusual ways to improve and increase the distribution of your product to market.
  • Make a small change every day. Look at your desk and work environment. Sometimes, we let papers and other things collect on our desks, and they end up obscuring important documents. Every once in a while, move those papers around. Clean out one drawer, and you might be surprised at what you find. You don't need to make radical changes. Instead, I dare you to make small, directed changes every day to alter and improve the way you spend your time.

The secret to change is to focus on the opportunities of the new path, not on the comfort of a worn trail. Ask yourself, "What can I do for the next hour that will be the most productive use of my time?" When you think like that, all your activities become focused and honed. The end result is made up of 100 well-done activities. Collectively, they really help you make the breakthrough.

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