The cycle of small business success

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Perhaps one of the most beneficial things a small business owner can do for themselves is prepare for success as quickly as possible. And a very effective way to do this is to create a success cycle that delivers positive and repeatable results, but also allows you to stretch to new heights.

When you’re creating a successful cycle, you need to keep a few things in mind. One is to make sure it keeps you focused on both the actions and the end results. Another is that it should allow you to have creative freedom and at the same time hold yourself accountable. And finally, it needs to be a repeatable sequence that allows you to change direction at any time, as well as continue to reach new levels of success over and over for an extended period of time.

So, for the small business owners I help, these are the six steps I teach to create the best cycle of success for repeatable and positive results:

1. Know what you want

Most entrepreneurs know what they “don’t want”: they don’t want to fail, they don’t want annoying customers, they don’t want unproductive employees. But that doesn’t help you achieve your most important goals. So, be clear about your goals and paint a vivid picture of what your end results should be like. Income? How many? $ 100,000? 1 million dollars? What about your workforce / employees? do you want 5? 25? 1200? How many? The more detailed and clear you are about the deliverables you are striving for, the easier it will be to implement the rest of the cycle.

Keep in mind that if a goal is tied to a number, it’s much easier to measure, track, and achieve. Here is a list of possible areas in which to set clear and specific goals: (Remember, be as detailed as possible!)

  • Revenue generation

  • Employee involvement

  • Expand your workforce

  • Building the clientele

  • Expand your online presence

  • Sales funnel efficiency

  • Quality of customer service

  • Creating a new product

Related: 5 Secrets to Business Success

2. Have a plan

Knowing what you want to achieve is always great, as it provides guidance. However, setting a goal is not enough. You have to know the “how”. You need to know what actions you should take every day and every week to reach the goal. So what’s your plan? Does it include daily, weekly and monthly actions? Looking at your business and your industry. What are the smartest actions you should take? What actions can you take to get closer to your goals?

Here are some examples of action items to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Time lock on your calendar

  • Planning and meeting with each member of the team

  • Pick up the phone and call 100 past customers

  • Sending 500 personalized emails

  • Send 100 personalized letters or cards

  • Participation in each chamber demonstration for one year

  • Remember: If you can’t plan, you are planning to fail.

3. Ask a teacher to help you

Right here is the BIGGEST gap that entrepreneurs have. And the main reason they don’t have someone to help them is that they never want to ask for help. In our society, it is always better when you “do it all by yourself”. Like the old Frank Sinatra song, “I Did it My Way!” It’s as if asking for help somehow reduces the impact of the results, but it’s a lie told by fear and ego. Don’t listen to him!

Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Muhammed Ali – they all had coaches and they were all world champions. EVERY true champion has a trainer, so if you don’t, well enjoy the fight then.

But if you want to get a coach, where do you look? Who would be a good coach? How do I ask someone to be a coach? Big questions. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • An entrepreneur in your industry is more successful than you

  • An entrepreneur in a different industry who is more successful than you

  • An experienced business coach

  • Accountant or lawyer (can help the coach in their areas of expertise)

  • Search the Chamber of Commerce, B&I groups, etc.

Related: 4 Reasons Every Entrepreneur Should Have a Business Coach

4. Take consistent action

This step is usually not that difficult. Most small business owners are traders and can get things done. The difference here is that you will now know exactly what you will do each day, because you created an action plan in step 2. Each day, you will simply look at the list of action steps and then, well, do it.

But here’s the problem: You need to stick to these actions over a long period of time. Doing something once or twice is not enough to produce sustainable results, at least not when looking for a high level of success in the business world. Think of the boxers I just mentioned; none of them were champions overnight. They all had to train for years, fought hard battles that challenged them, and yet they continued to struggle to achieve success. This is what you need to do as an entrepreneur.

Just remember: the secret to success in this step is to focus on the word “consistent”. Anyone can take action, but not all entrepreneurs can stay consistent over the long term.

5. Review your progress

It sounds simple, but too many entrepreneurs almost refuse to look at the results they get. Usually, it’s because they know the results aren’t good. It doesn’t matter, though. What matters is that, as an entrepreneur, you know where you are. When you know it, even if you don’t like the results, it allows you to better manage your action plan. Every company makes a course correction from time to time, so honestly, that’s not a big deal. In fact, it’s expected in today’s ever-changing environment if you want to keep up with the competition.

So, look at your results and start asking questions. Once you start asking questions, similar to the ones below, you will find that the answers (new goals) will come faster and faster and easier you will perform this step!

Here are some questions to ask as you conduct your review:

  • Where are you now and where would you like to be?

  • How far are you from where you want to be?

  • What can be done to close the gap?

  • What extra staff do you need?

  • What extra funding do you need?

  • Who can help with this?

  • What new products or services need to be created?

  • What new advertising and / or marketing do you need to do?

Related – the best way to track your business performance

6. Renew your goals

Before you think this is the easy step, think again. To continue climbing the ladder of success for your business, you need to be as detailed here as you were in the first step. To be clear. Be concise. Be as detailed as possible.

This step is also crucial for this success cycle to work, as it helps you avoid resting on your past achievements. Too many small business owners will get results, get results, and then take a break … for like a year or two. Don’t let this be you.

So, take step five seriously, review your progress, because if you do it right, you will find your new goals.

Here are some ideas to make this easy and even fun:

  • Make the goal exciting.

  • Make the goal motivating.

  • Make the goal meaningful.

  • Make the goal impact on a personal level.

  • Make the goal challenging.

  • Make the goal force you to step out of your comfort zone.

  • Add the goal to a number for better tracking.

  • Give the goal a deadline.

Professional tip: A cycle is just that, something that keeps flowing over and over again. It’s not designed to be a one-time thing, but a corporate lifestyle thing. So, be very clear about what you want, be clear about what actions need to be taken, and be extremely picky about who you can help with. Most importantly, be as assertive as possible when it comes to taking action and getting the results you are looking for.

Oh, one more thing: have fun.

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