I have seen simple business ideas become greatly successful and brilliant business ideas failing. I penned down my personal observations over some thirty-five years on this subject:
The single biggest factor leading to business success is perseverance. I have seen so many people start something and give it a decent effort and then give up when they do not see the expected results. I feel most businesses need at least three years before a decision can be made on whether to carry on or quit.
If a person has an unshakeable belief in her business idea and in her capabilities to achieve success then she will be successful. That’s how simple it is! One starts off something and when things are not going as per plan, self-doubt sets in and that could be the beginning of the end of the business. It’s always a good idea to keep the original purpose/mission/vision in mind. This helps to keep one focused and on the path.
I have noticed that some people start a business and they breathe, dream, and live by that and think of nothing else while they are building the business. No distractions, whatsoever. Other people take it as one of the things that they do, along with everything else that’s been going on in their lives. In my experience, the latter seldom succeed.
I have also noticed that some people want to succeed in their business but they busy themselves with other projects like further learning, additional certifications, side-line businesses. These people also usually fail. There is a time to focus ALL your energy on the one thing and make it successful and then you add either more to yourself or to your business.
And then there are some who wish to expand their business outside friends and family but just don’t focus on this aspect. It’s a lot of work in terms of digital advertising, speaking engagements, attending seminars, networking events, asking for and publishing testimonials, and blogging, among others. And this need not be expensive, but is definitely time-consuming, but there are no short-cuts in life for most of us.
The only constant is change. More often than not, most small businesses start with a hunch, a certain inner knowing that this would be a good thing to do. And very often, one also knows how to go about it. However, the market realities are usually a little different, so it’s very important to be able and willing to tweak your business model, or the way you deliver your service. But, stay with the business.
Keeping an eye on Cash Flow
Contrary to popular thinking, it’s not the profits or losses that one makes in business that is most important. The most important thing in business is cash flow. A majority of businesses fail because they run out of cash! It’s not important whether you are making money in the initial phase of the business, but what is important is cash flow. People overspend, sometimes thinking that their business will run as per their Excel sheet plans, where the only thing certain is the expense. So, be very prudent about your expenses. As an example, one does not need a swanky office to start with. Conserve your cash. Focus on growing your business, and one day you can move into a swanky office, should you then choose to move. Once again, you can only persevere if you have cash or the ability to raise more, in time. Bootstrap, be prudent, innovate and spend smartly. Know what are the key areas that you need to spend on and then spend. If you have to arrange for more money, do not wait till the last moment to raise it, because the background stress will cause you to squander your precious energy and take you away from your main purpose.
Keeping track of your time
There are two major resources in life – time and money. And these are interchangeable. You spend your time to earn good money and when you have money you spend it on having a good time.
Business persons have to be extremely mindful of how they spend their time. It is very easy to get distracted from the main goal so one has to plan in such a way that one extracts the most out of the time one spends on the business. One way to do this is to have clear goals, steps, milestones and always checking as to whether the activity you are going to spend your precious time on moves you towards these. Of course, the thinking is that everything one does will contribute towards business growth, but then there are things that are more urgent, more relevant than others. I like to think of this as whatever you do needs to be higher up in your list of priorities. And, this is a good place to note that we ought to be mindful of what we are procrastinating as those are likely the things we need to do first.
All of this sounds like too much work, but, hey, it’s you who wants to have a successful business!
Keep aside some small amount of time for ‘fun’. But that should not come at the cost of distraction from your main purpose at this point in time. This time is devoted to growing your business.
Wishing you all the very best!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Harish is a proponent of holistic healing, combining traditional healing modalities with the latest quantum healing technologies.
He founded Emerio GlobeSoft Pte. Ltd. in Singapore in 1997 and grew it to 2000 employees comprised of 23 nationalities, spread over 11 countries. He retired in March 2019 to pursue his Doctorate in Integrative Medicine.
He has received awards for his entrepreneurship that include the Spirit of Enterprise Award (2004), the ASME’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2005), and the SICCI Indian Entrepreneur Award for Large Enterprises (2009).
He is also a passionate supporter of causes that benefit children’s education and women’s health and wellbeing. His other passions are angel investments and golf.