Is there a secret to how to succeed in business?
In 1937, a man named Napoleon Hill wrote a business book called "Think and Grow Rich." It was one of the first books of its kind and was especially inspiring because it was written during the Great Depression. By the time Hill died in 1970, the book had sold in excess of 20 million copies.
The theme of the book is that there is a secret, one big secret, to succeeding in business and life. Hill studied the most successful businessmen of his time to uncover their "secrets."
But here's the deal, at no point in the book does Hill tell us what the secret to how to succeed in business actually is. Seriously, nowhere in the book.
We do know what Mr. Hill's secret was, based on later interviews with him and expert analysis of the book. As a matter of fact, if you read to the very bottom of this article, we reveal it. However, the point we want to make here is that anyone can succeed in business.
There's not a set of rules, per se, but there are definitely some best practices that will ensure your success if your drive is strong enough.
How to Succeed in Business: Is There a Secret Formula?
Wouldn't it be great if there was a guaranteed secret formula for how to succeed in business?
Here's a fact, there's not.
That's because there are so many variables involved. For example, rules and formulas that work in one industry don't necessarily work in others.
However, there are some tips and tricks that we've gleaned from years of research and if you follow them, you're on the right path to success, regardless of the kind of business you're doing.
To Earn, You've First Got to Learn
To learn how to succeed in business, the first step is, well, learning.
In fact, if you've landed on this article, you're on the right track. You're actively seeking out best practices and tips for how to succeed in business.
First, the key to how to succeed in business is taking the time to learn about the industry you want to build in. Then, if you take the time to learn what made other people and businesses successful, you're ahead of most of your competition.
22 Secrets on How to Succeed in Business
Here are a few definitive tips and secrets for how to succeed in business. They are in no particular order.
I believe I can fly
First, you have to find a service or product that you believe in. Don't even bother trying to sell something that you know doesn't have value. If you believe in your product or service, it will be apparent to potential customers and clients. Consequently, the first step for how to succeed in business is to have a passionate belief in your product or service.
Burn, baby, burn
In Napolean Hill's research, he points out that all of the people he studied had a burning desire to be successful. Because of this desire, there was honestly no stopping them. It's extremely rare for a person to keep rolling with the punches and fail. Here's a fact: if you don't have a burning desire to succeed, and even to learn how to succeed in business, your chances of success are slim. Burn, baby, burn.
Get obsessive about organization....quickly
On day one of your new business, or even the day before, you need to create a folder on your computer desktop to start putting stuff in. You may need some actual physical folders as well. Also, create a spreadsheet with info that's relevant to your business. Sales, expenses, suppliers, customers, etc... Consider a tool like Evernote, which makes it incredibly easy to be super organized.
Then, stay organized
Once you've got your record keeping system in place, be meticulous about updating it weekly, daily, or however often you need to. Don't get behind. Staying on top of things is easy. Playing catch-up? Not so much.
Identify the ONE thing
Some people do very well by doing everything. For example, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is the master of "the everything store." However, most of us do well by focusing all of our energy into one thing. What ONE thing can you sell well? What ONE product can you create that will be better than anything else? Alternatively, what ONE service can you perform better than anyone else? For more on how to do one thing very well, check out the book " The ONE Thing" by Gary Keller. It's an iconic business book and will probably change your life.
How can I help you?
Have you ever had the experience of thinking "I wish I had a widget that would do (fill in the blank) for me"? Then, sometime later, you see that someone invented it and got rich from it. Or worse, thinking "I'll bet (insert business) would do well here in my town." Lo and behold, a short time later you see construction growing up and sure enough, someone is putting in a Starbucks (or whatever) in your small town. The short lesson in this is to be on the alert for needs. Then, be ready to act on the need and fill it.
Channel your inner detective
Once you've identified the type of business you'd like to succeed in, it's time to carefully study the competition. What are they doing well? Also, what could they be doing differently? Here's something awesome, social media provides the key to exactly what you can do to get an edge on your competition. Read reviews and comments that customers have left for your competitor. Do better than they do. Fill those needs.
It's all about the peeps
It's important to keep the people first and foremost in your business. One thing that visionary Apple CEO Steve Jobs did very well was to imagine people using his products. Jobs was also exceptionally good at envisioning things people never knew they needed but found they couldn't live without. I'll never forget the first time I touched my first iPhone. I had dropped my Blackberry in a cup of coffee and went to the AT&T store to replace it. However, the young sales clerk suggested I check out an iPhone. Although I remained adamant on wanting another Blackberry, I was open-minded and willing to check out something new. Five minutes after touching an iPhone for the first time, I knew I could never again live without it. Stay focused on people. What do they want? What do they need? How can you add value to their lives?
Keep it real and transparent
No one likes a used car salesman. Even the ones who are genuinely nice guys are met with distrust by most people. First, only make true and realistic claims. Then, be honest about what your service, product, or information will do. Also, if you use customer reviews, only use authentic ones. People spot a conman a mile away. You'll go far with honesty and transparency.
Be the first or be the best
You may succeed if you try to sell a product that a zillion other people are selling. However, here's a bit of advice that will give you an edge: Whatever you decide to do or sell, be the FIRST or the BEST.
Harness the Pareto Principle
Also known as the 80/20 rule, the Pareto Principle states that 80 percent of our results come from 20 percent of our efforts. For example, if you're talking about sales, the Pareto Principle demonstrates that 80 percent of your sales will come from 20 percent of your customers. Find your top 20 percent — the efforts that produce the biggest results — and put most of your focus into that. In like manner, spend your time cultivating that precious 20 percent. Here's why: something cool happens. Within your top 20 percent, there's another tier of the Pareto Principle: the top 20 percent of the top 20 percent, which is four percent of your original 100 percent. This is your optimal peak performance segment. That. Focus on that.
Prepare, prepare, prepare
Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson reminds us that "chance favors the prepared mind." He elaborates to point out that the more you practice, the "luckier" you become. The more time you spend planning and preparing, the stronger your start will be. Also, it's not like you'll just have to prepare once. Most businesses and industries are constantly moving and evolving. You need to become really good at practicing and preparing. However, don't get so caught up in planning and preparing that you don't execute. Some people use planning to avoid the chance of failure. In other words, they "prepare prepare prepare" and end up failing to "do."
Execute, execute, execute
The previous section brings us right into this one. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says "move fast and break things." He also says that if you don't take risks, you're guaranteed to fail. However, as they've grown, note that Facebook has recently changed this mantra to "move fast with stability." The point here is to DO, not just plan and talk. It's easy to get stuck in planning. You can waste a lot of valuable time being "busy." Execution is the goal.
Swim like the sharks
Famed entrepreneur and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban shares his secret for how to succeed in business:
"Work like there is someone working twenty-four hours a day to take it all away from you."
That's a powerful quote. Keep your head down and focus. Always keep in mind that somewhere in the world (or your own neighborhood) someone is vying for the same customers you're after. If they have more resources than you do and put more time in, you stand a good chance of losing.
Take a break, already
Burnout is real, even when you're pursuing your passion. Therefore, make it a point to take breaks and vacations periodically. Honestly, even taking one day occasionally can recharge you enough to help you drive success when you get back to work.
Sharpen the saw
There is never (ever) a point where you can say "OK I know all that I need to know, I can stop learning now." You must be a lifelong learner to be successful in business or in any area of life. Always be reading something. Alternatively, you can take classes on websites like Udemy. Also, consider attending workshops, meetups, or conferences related to your industry.
Delegate with confidence
Once your business has grown beyond what you can do alone, you have a good problem: You need help. To have your entire business living inside your own head isn't practical. You need to spend your time on business growth, not on doing menial tasks that you can easily outsource. Start with an assistant or a virtual assistant. Give them easy responsibilities at first and slowly add more tasks to their workload as their abilities are demonstrated.
Show me the money
The fact is, you can start a business with nearly nothing. In fact, a young man named Chris Guillebeau wrote a book called " The $100 Startup." He's tremendously successful and the book was a best-seller. In the book, Guillebeau discusses how he studied 1,500 people who, like himself, built $50,000 businesses with less than $100 in startup funding. With that said, if you can get some working capital, your goals of how to succeed in business will be a lot easier to reach.
Some ideas for raising working capital include:
Be a lean machine
When you're first figuring out how to succeed in business, you probably need to start (and stay) lean. A mistake many entrepreneurs make is starting too big. Do you really need an office, or can you work from your home office in the beginning? Likewise, do you need a sales team, or can you fill this role yourself when you're first starting out? When you're first starting out, keep it lean and grow your assets as your business grows.
Excuse me, Mr. Buffet...do you have a few minutes?
One of Napolean Hill's principles was to surround yourself with people you want to be like. Also, this doesn't have to be actual people in your "real life." The online world is wonderful for finding like-minded individuals. Follow your potential mentors on Twitter, or look for Facebook groups that are chock full of like-minded individuals. Remember, you're the sum of the top five people you spend the most time with. Therefore, choose your friends (and your mentors) wisely.
You're going to experience roadblocks. Believe me, it's going to happen. Be prepared for them, and have an action plan in place. Although this may be true, you can embrace the roadblocks and barriers to your success. Here's why: If you remain focused under pressure, you will go further than those who don't. This is because the pressure will break weaker people and cause them to crumble. If you're the one who can soldier through roadblocks, you'll have a better chance of succeeding in business.
The Most Important Tip for How to Succeed in Business
So what was Napolean Hill's big secret for how to succeed in business? The truth is, it's the only one you really need because if you have this one thing, the rest will fall into place for you.
Here's the secret that Napolean Hill alluded to but never explicitly revealed: The process of trying to figure out the secret is the secret. The way you search for the big secret is actually the secret.
Your burning desire for success is the catalyst, and your process of searching for "the secret" is what will ultimately make you successful.
You're here. You googled "how to succeed in business" or something similar and landed on this article. Therefore, you're actively seeking success.
So what's the secret for how to succeed in business? You already know, and you're on the right track.
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