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The making of a business champion

Article written by Mike Anderson (NSBC Founder & CEO)

This Thursday, 19 November is when we host the 2020 South African Small Business Awards and announce the 2020 Champions in various categories. These prestigious awards have gathered a diverse range of entries all with one thing in common – a driving entrepreneurial force.

Most of the working world never realise success, in fact only 5% are successful and 1% are super successful. Plenty of time, effort and sweat is needed before seeing things come to fruition and yes, we become successful because we choose too and by the actions we take.

Whether or not you’re an established entrepreneur or just starting out on your journey, there are particular traits you’ll usually find operating within the super successful.

How do ordinary people become business legends? Digging deep into the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, let’s take a look at a few key success tips and strategies to adopt:

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes 

The best things that happen in a business most often happen on the heels of failure. Don’t be afraid to fail; it’s proof that you are meant to be a successful entrepreneur. The only difference between people who are hugely successful and those who aren’t is the time it takes them to get back up after getting knocked down.

Be smarter and more creative 

The big guy may have the corner on money, but the little guy usually has the corner on creativity. Take some time to sit down and figure out how your big rival is promoting their brand and plan something smarter and more creative for yours.

Choose attitude over experience  

Make sure you pick good people to build your business with, as they’ll determine 80% of your success. The best people are honest and have plenty of enthusiasm. Don’t worry too much about their level of experience when you’re interviewing, as the right attitude always delivers much more than just experience.

Shoot the dogs early  

If you spot a complainer and if you have the authority to do it, fire them right away. Complainers are like thieves, robbing you and your company of its good energy. Your whole team’s outlook will shine brighter once you’re rid of them.

Do more of what’s already working for you

When you look for ways to expand your business, the real pot of gold is usually the same stuff that’s already proven successful. So, before you move on to the next exciting project or a new strategy, slow down. Do a lot more of what’s already working and then do the new stuff.

Never stop networking

Never stop networking, never stop pushing, looking for business or providing the best service.  It’s hard to always believe, but as a business owner or entrepreneur, you simply have no choice. Never stop.

Stop putting it off

Procrastination is the enemy of success. The time you waste on stalling breeds guilt, and guilt deflates energy and sometimes even leads to depression. When you feel stuck and can’t seem to move ahead, always remember that you don’t have to get it right, you just must get it going.

Be decisive and fast

Don’t wait for everything to be perfect. Instead of seeking the impossible, efficient decision makers tend to leap without all the answers and trust that they’ll be able to build their wings on the way down.

If you see what you want, do it, before you lose the chance. Be decisive, don’t procrastinate – make it happen. If it fails, change direction and move on quickly to the next project. Remember, changing direction when you need to is smart and is not a failure – you only fail when you stop moving and give up trying.

Push yourself to walk faster, talk faster, read faster and move faster. Constantly look for faster methods to get the same result. Send and return communications with as little delay as possible. Whenever you think something can’t be done quickly, ask “Why not?”

Keep up your speed with good habits: sufficient sleep, good food, great company, a positive outlook and regular exercise.

Make sure you know what not to do 

Everyone should have their own ‘Not to Do’ list. I sit down regularly and make a list of all the things I have spent time on that have amounted to nothing. It’s smart to post your ‘Not to Do’ list where you’re bound to see it so you’re reminded to do more productive things that give a better return on the time you spend at work.

Don’t do it alone

You need a support system when building a business. There are organisations such as the NSBC who can help with advice and inspiration, as well as quality networking opportunities. When you’re starting a business, experienced guidance is the best support system of all.

Set tough deadlines

Ask for the business, and ask NOW – don’t wait for weeks before following up on potential deals. Your potential client will respect your enthusiasm. Build relationships quicker and do business sooner.

Treat everyone with equal respect

With an attitude of respect for others, you will gain the respect from everyone you encounter. Strategies, attitudes and methods filter down to each person and reflect on all actions and activities. Give everyone the space to be great and surround yourself with better people and better systems.

Always follow a plan

No one gets to his or her destination without a map or a guide to follow. That doesn’t mean not to go off course if another road seems better, but it’s still more effective to have a plan in place. It should include marketing strategies, goals, intentions, ideas and what can you do better than your competition. A business plan should be reviewed and updated periodically for each new idea.

Always search for a better way of doing things

Challenge the status quo, get out of your comfort zone, do things differently and stretch your abilities. Stretching your abilities will make you great.

Always see better ways of doing things and know that every idea can be expanded upon, made better, enhanced or broadened. Think outside the box, which means using imagination, trying new things and expanding on a vision.

Visualise and feel success until you live it

Intention is a powerful and dynamic tool. If you are not inclined towards intention and visualisation, talk to a successful athlete and you’ll discover that before each sporting event, the successful athlete envisions exactly how he or she wants things to turn out. Imagine what it will feel like when you’ve reached a particular set of goals. Get in touch with the feelings you’d have as a successful entrepreneur. Practice and conceive of the sense of empowerment and the joy of having succeeded.

Most importantly, never surrender

Giving up is never in the vocabulary of the successful entrepreneur. Of course, there may be days when you feel discouraged or disappointed, but giving up is not an option. Having faith, trust, confidence and determination are the qualities needed to become a business legend.

The super successful embraces PERSEVERANCE and PERSISTENCE.  They realise that there will be good days and not so good days. Being a successful entrepreneur requires accepting the ebbs and flows of business for it is in fact what separates the exceptional and successful entrepreneur from the one who gives up far too soon.

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