Most entrepreneurs will never achieve the success they desire in business because, quite frankly, they over-complicate the process.
Exhausting business plans, 3-5 year revenue projections and so on are certainly not a requirement nor a guarantee of success for any company. In most cases it is completely unrealistic to think that what you put on paper will materialize in the real world just as you say it will. The marketplace is changing too fast. It’s hard enough to predict exactly what your business will look like even just one year from now, let alone 3-5 years, or even 10 years from now.
Albert Einstein once said “make things as simple as possible, but not simpler”. And that is exactly what entrepreneurs need to do today in order to succeed.
Inspired by the book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur by Mike Michalowicz, the 5 steps listed below may seem overly-simplified at face value, but in reality they are exactly the steps that will help you navigate your way to success in a fast-paced, dynamic marketplace.
- Identify your desired outcome
The only outcome that matters is the next one. What is the next thing you must accomplish to take your business to where you want it to be?
You must identify exactly what you want to accomplish before you invest any time, energy, or resources. There is nothing more unproductive than working without knowing what you’re working towards. Define the destination before you begin the journey.
Your desired outcome is likely to change often, and that is fine. The important thing is that at any given time you know exactly what the next destination is. Once you get there, you can decide on the next one.
- Believe it can be done
It takes a certain level of naiveté to succeed in business. As is true of any ambitious or unconventional goal, there will be people who do not believe that you will succeed. Your belief in yourself must be stronger than the opposing beliefs of others. You must have confidence in yourself, even if the people around you do not.
Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC (now the world’s second largest restaurant chain, after McDonald’s) was turned down by more than 1,000 restaurant owners before his chicken recipe was finally sold. This story serves to remind us all that a rock solid belief in yourself and the eventual success of your business may be the most important requirement of your success.
- Commit focus and attention to your goal
Once you’ve identified a specific outcome and you believe without a doubt that it can be achieved, you must then devote unwavering focus and attention to that goal.
Many individuals, entrepreneurs especially, suffer from what is often referred to as “shiny object syndrome.” If you have shiny object syndrome, it means you are easily swayed from your goals by the lure of other ‘more promising’ opportunities. You jump from one project to another, or from one opportunity to another, always chasing the next big idea. You have trouble sticking to one project and seeing it through to completion.
Success in business requires an unwavering commitment to your goals. It requires you to say no to all of the things that steer you away from achieving your desired outcome.
- Take the most obvious actions to achieve your goal
Every result stems from a specific process. With your desired outcome identified (result), you must determine what action (process) will most likely create that outcome. This shouldn’t be very difficult to identify.
What’s the one thing you could do right now, that if you did, would have the biggest impact on your business? Once you have an answer to that question, take action. Most entrepreneurs instinctively know what they need to do, they just need to do it.
If someone else has already done what you want to do, you can model the process they used. If you honestly don’t know what action you should be taking, consider working with a business coach or a consultant who can help you figure it out.
- Monitor & evaluate your results, adjusting when required
As you take action, those actions will create results. Learn to perceive all results as feedback. Sometimes you get the result you want, and sometimes you don’t. The important thing is that you have the systems in place to track your results and gauge how close you are to your desired outcome. If you’re not happy with the results, it is likely time to adjust or change your actions.
Be firm with your outcome, but flexible with your strategy.