Visualize Success to Find the Big Opportunities Know yourself. Know your market. Find the gaps.
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Success is a long game. It's the result of years and years of hard work and dedication. It's a continuous effort to never lose focus and always keep a disciplined mindset.
I started my company, Hunk-O-Mania, because I saw a market demand and a better way to do business. Growing the business into 19 locations and a dominant brand wasn't luck. It involved investing the time in myself and the business.
Here are my core thoughts for people that want business and personal success:
1. Immerse yourself in outside pursuits.
Most small business owners or entrepreneurs could use some passionate hobbies besides their work. They need a creative outlet, whether it's kayaking or poetry. The key is to pursue those interests with drive and ambition. Leverage the successes and enjoyment of these pursuits into growing the business. Whether you're running your first 10k or participating in an "open mic" night, outside pursuits instill a sense of purpose. They help you to build smaller "wins" over time and give you confidence in your business decisions. Burnout is a real problem for entrepreneurs. Use your outside interest to release some stress.
2. Find the gap.
Business opportunity often boils down to "finding a better way." You see a new way to build/present/promote something, or you see inefficiency in a market and are sure you can do better. Successful entrepreneurs are always looking for flaws and potential opportunity. Even if you work behind the counter at a bakery, you should be identifying missteps. Maybe the quality control of the baked goods is lacking. Perhaps the bakery should do more afternoon sales to clear off inventory.
Find the gaps in processes or staff. Learn how to spot missed opportunities, and when the time is right, launch your business and capitalize. There's always a better way to do things.
3. Know the business code.
Many entrepreneurs fail when they try to enter markets they don't understand. They want to start a software company to solve a certain problem, but they don't know the development process or how to talk to engineers. Starting your own business means understanding the details. You don't need to be a micromanager, but you have to know every role in the business in order to make the best decisions. For the software business, why not learn how to code? Read about agile development and the latest tech trends. Exposure to the industry will help you to uncover opportunities that might otherwise remain hidden.
4. Zero in and understand your customer's needs.
Part of learning the business is developing a keen understanding of the average customer's wants. They're looking for a product or experience that fulfills a certain need. Do you know how to present something that exceeds those needs? Successful entrepreneurs not only understand the customer pain points and journey, but know how to respond.
5. Bring exacting definition to what you want.
Successful entrepreneurs know what they want. It sounds simple, but many people don't define their goals. They speak of success in generalities -- the fancy Mercedes, the big house. But they don't set out specific business ideas or plans. Focus on concrete goals such as control over finances or having the freedom to travel.
I set my goals incrementally. When I was younger, I wrote down goals on the back of my closet door. They were lofty goals, but attainable through hard work. When I started my business I wrote a set of success goals for expansion and financial freedom. Entrepreneurs must define what they want, why it's desired and how they'll go about capturing those goals.
6. Visualize with brilliant detail.
You have to imagine your goals and then picture yourself actively striving towards them. Visualization is much different than hoping or wishing. It's concrete and encourages drive and accomplishment. Picture your goals. Imagine you're conducting a TED talk in five years. Visualize addressing your staff of 150 at the annual holiday party. Think about running your company's own conference because your business growth demands it.
Business and personal success is a fun and rewarding journey. You don't get just one shot. There's thousands of viable business ideas. My business grew from a single venue to the leading brand in its industry with 19 locations and multi-millions in revenue. Visualize your own path, put in the time, and you can achieve your own goals.