You know the saying, “If hind-sight were fore-sight, we’d all be successful.” Today’s statistics are quick to remind us that the longevity of most businesses is fifteen years, and the strong stable ones last about 40-50 years. What’s the difference between short-lived with an early death, or a long sustaining business?
Most entrepreneurs are sold out to the power of the dream. They know there will be long hours, hard work and great effort to push the dream forward, but there are a few trade secrets that would be better known in advance.
Here are 5 tips for staying in the game:
1. Own your world
Define your success. If you haven’t already, write down what success means to you. Develop a mission statement about who you are as a person and business. Then filter opportunities that align with that directive. Build a strong ethical filter and modify but don’t deviate from your purpose. If you strive to be everything to everyone, you really won’t be your best for anyone. Remember everything you do, develop or become, has the potential to influence others to rise to a higher level in their lives. Bring them along with you as success stories.
“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda
2. Character and reputation
You only get one. Good and bad reputations live for a very long time in people’s minds. It’s not impossible to rebuild or remake who you are, but once you’ve tarnished your character, it’s a long hard climb to repairing it. On the flip side, other people want to align themselves with quality character and positive status. Don’t apologize for who you are, but ask yourself if you would want to align yourself with you. When you put clients’ needs first, they’ll clear the way for your success, and you build repeat, as well as generational customers.
3. Be Passionate
One of the greatest gifts of being an entrepreneur is the freedom to be passionate about what you do. Starting a business is much like pushing a large boulder up a steep hill. It’s hard, but worth it. Consciously, use your emotional energy in a positive manner and everyone wins. Getting up every day looking forward to what you do will make the long hours and hard work worth it. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, stay the course.
4. Stress and Fear
There are several kinds of stress, it’s how you choose to perceive it. Deadlines can be stressful, or they can be forced time management. Financial strain can sometimes be the motivation for ingenuity—use it. Failure can help you understand what’s not working and inspire you to develop another plan. Don’t let fear paralyze you. When fear stays bound up inside in an emotional state it can be crippling. Call it out, categorize it and then solve it or design a new plan. Use stress and fear to your advantage and call it ‘focus and motivation.’
5. The balancing act
Plan for success. Work hard at it. But don’t live to work. As hard as it is, build working hours and stick to them. Work to build stability but also embrace flexibility. There’s a time to set boundaries and a time to roll with the punches. Appreciate those who work for you and value their off time as well. Spend time with friends and family. Don’t buy them off, instead spend time with them. If tomorrow everything you’ve hoped for in your entrepreneur dream explodes, your family and friends will be your saving grace, and supporters. Treat them well.
Learn to spend time alone and enjoy it. Discover the value of just being still—no electronics, no agenda. Take ten minutes every day to breath, to clear your mental clutter and to listen quietly. It’s harder than it sounds, but you’ll be better for it. Following these times write down your constructive thoughts and itemize a work list. You will be more productive through the day.
“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don’t do too many things wrong.” – Warren Buffett
Knowing who you are, building a roadmap to your success, valuing yourself and others, guarding your reputation and passion will facilitate your successful longevity. Practicing some or all of these tips may make you stronger and better equip your success and longevity.