Wednesday, 3 January 2018

In With The New

Effective Business Success Tips For 2018

We work with many businesses, of all sizes from one man bands to global enterprises.  The ones that consistently perform and grow share some common principles.  Here we've curated some of the top tips for success we've noted over the years, from our customers and other well known public figures.

Love what you do

Running a business takes blood, sweat and tears.  All that effort should be poured in to something that you are proud of.  Something that will genuinely make a difference to people's lives.  You'll never be successful if you don't love what you do and wake up every morning excited. "Those people who spend their time working on things they love are usually the ones enjoying life the most," Branson says. "They are also the ones who dared to take a risk and chase their dreams."

Legendary investor and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett agrees. "Being successful at almost anything means having a passion for it," he said during a recent conversation with Bill Gates. "If you see somebody with even reasonable intelligence and a terrific passion for what they do and who can get people around them to march, even when those people can't see over the top of the next hill, things are gonna happen."

Take risks

Building a successful business doesn't happen by being cautious.  Be prepared to get knocked down, but be more prepared to get back up and try something else.  "The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all!"

Create a culture your staff can thrive in

The New Year causes a lot of people to assess where they are in their lives, and this includes their jobs.  Many talented employees who feel under paid, under appreciated or work in an lack lustre environment will often look for other jobs this time of year where they will get more out of their time at work.  After all, most people spend more time at work than they do at home with their families.  It would be foolish to think that an employee can survive off a salary alone to perform their best, which, in return, will benefit your business in the long run.

Richard Branson warns us to beware the 'us vs them' culture. A workplace should be one in which the boss and his or her employees communicate well and work together toward the same goal. “If employees aren’t associating themselves with their company by using ‘we’, it is a sign that people up and down the chain of command aren’t communicating,” says Branson.

Your people are your biggest asset, be sure everyone is clear about the vision you are working towards.  Communicate, communicate and communicate some more.  Let them know if they are doing a good job, don't just focus on the things that don't quite go to plan otherwise you will knock the try out of people.   

The first impression is everything.  So is the second.

The first impression you make on customers will probably be when you acquire them.  How you or your staff conduct themselves as well as their appearance is extremely important.  People make a judgement within the first three seconds of meeting somebody, without even saying a word.  This means your appearance needs to make the right impression, first time, every time.

Be sure your staff are well turned out.  If they are provided with uniforms, ensure they are given fresh garments on a regular basis to keep them looking smart.  Add your logo to further the effectiveness of your brand awareness.  The first impression is extremely important, says Branson, but the second is equally as important.  The second time a customer usually contacts Virgin, it’s because he or she is having problems with the product or service. How you present yourself and your brand in these situations says a lot about how your brand maintains good customer relationships and handles obstacles.

Keep the big vision in sight

If you don't have a 'big picture' in mind, how do you know where you are supposed to head?  Let alone lead a team of people in the same direction.  When things go wrong on your journey to success, and they will, keeping your big vision in sight will help you steer your way back on track.  It may not be the course you imagined, but it will help keep you focused and moving towards your end goal.  Which is why the next point is also important.

Make a plan, but be flexible

You need to make plans to help you achieve your big vision.  These are your blueprints for success.  However, don't make the plans too rigid as you'll need to adapt to situations that crop up that you didn't expect, whether it be changes in the market, economy, cash flow or other unforeseen scenarios. 

Embrace your expertise

If you’re already innately good at something, or have a skillset, embrace it. Don’t try to be all things for all aspects of your business. Hire out or sign contracts with agencies for the things you can’t do, and focus on your strengths as quickly and often as possible. Don’t be a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none.

Learn to delegate

Learning that you don't have to do everything yourself is a difficult skill for many entrepreneurs, but it's worth it. "If you find people who can take on tasks you aren't good at, it frees you up to plan for the future," Branson writes.

Refusing to delegate also limits your financial potential, says Keith Cameron Smith in "The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class." "Having a belief that no one can do it as well as you is ignorance. The world is full of talented people," he writes.

Stop stressing that something won't be done correctly if you don't have a hand in it and start putting more faith into the people who work for and under you. Delegate! That might even improve the outcome. As Smith writes, "[Millionaires] believe they can find someone who can do it not only as well as they can, but even better!"

Don't give up

"On every adventure I have been on — whether setting up a business, flying around the world in a balloon or racing across the ocean in a boat — there have been moments when the easy thing to do would be to give up," Branson writes. But, by sticking things through, he's propelled himself to immense success, both personal and professional.

Branson's onto something with this tip. Psychologist and MacArthur "Genius" fellow Angela Duckworth spent years researching achievement, and found that talent by itself is only one factor. Success also requires determined effort, and lots of it.

"Without effort, your talent is nothing more than your unmet potential," Duckworth writes in her book, "Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance."


Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School


Be Your Own Branding Billboard

You have a business card, right? Maybe even a website branded with your logo with images and content that reflect what your company is about and the services you offer.  You might even have a small (or large) marketing budget that allows you to place adverts in media that your local, national or international customer base visit on a regular basis.

So how else do customers find your business?  Still to this day, word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool. No matter how big your marketing budget, you cannot buy the belief and trust that a family or friend will give somebody when they recommend a company they have had a good experience with.  

So how about the next best thing? What you wear. 

To fully appreciate the impact that branding your workwear can have, we need to dig a little deeper to understand the human psyche.

There's a reason why Ralph Lauren embroiders their clothing with their logo. Well, there's two really.  One, you can instantly recognise what brand of polo shirt is being worn, and, in the process, whoever is wearing that polo shirt is advertising Ralph Lauren.

And two, it makes the wearer feel a certain way; "I don't sell clothes, I sell a lifestyle".

Now, the majority of workwear isn't going to be a £90 Ralph Lauren polo shirt.  But the same principles apply.  By branding your workwear either with embroidery or print you are achieving several things.  You and your staff are a walking, talking billboard for your company.  Whether you pop into town for your lunch or are out and about in general, people will notice your web url on your back, or a logo on the front of your shirt.  

By branding your workwear you are making a statement. "This is what i believe in. I'm proud to work for this company."  If you believe in your company, so will your customers.

Initiating a staff workwear policy with branded clothing can instill a sense of pride in your staff.  A sense of belonging and being part of a team. 

Also, and quite an important but a simple note to remember, is make sure your workwear is fresh, clean and presentable.  Make sure you ditch the tired, grubby workwear and replace it regularly to keep you and your staff looking smart.  If you look untidy and 'unkept' that doesn't give the best message for your company.  Allowing your staff to wear clothing with holes or logos flaking off can do more harm than good to the reputation of your business.

And remember, first impressions really do count.

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