Last January when I started my business, I came across a book called the Freedom Journal. I wouldn’t have thought it at the time but this book allowed me to focus for 100 days to launch my business. It helped me set aside any fears and distractions and do something I thought about for a while. Each morning, I would write down something I was grateful for and then my goal. The key to writing my goal is that is was in written as if I had already accomplished it. I actually wrote about my experience last May when I finished my first 100 days.
After I finished my first 100 days, I kept a journal in a notebook which still is very helpful. I started skipping steps and not setting my goals correctly, and didn’t write my goal as if I had accomplished it. I stopped writing down other creative thoughts and ideas that could help my business. The Freedom Journal helps with all this. So, this year I bought another one. I have a new goal to take my business to the next level. My second year of a business has other challenges such as hiring contractors and employees and managing customer expectations. The trap I see business owners get into is what I am going focus on today. Sometimes we have to change our thinking. I certainly have had to do some that.
To some degree, you need a little money to start a business but not as much as you might think. I personally think you can start on the side. Maybe you need to save a little to pay yourself if you have decided to launch your own business full time. This is what I did. In this day of social media, technology, and free/inexpensive resources, you can spend very little to have the information you need. I have a services business so I didn’t need any inventory but I started by going to networking meetings, introducing myself through LinkedIn and Facebook, and simply networking with people I already know and who they know. Even websites are inexpensive to create. It does help to have a little money but probably much less than you think.
I have read the statistics that most businesses fail for many different reasons. I am reading a book call the “The 10X Rule“. The author argues that you should set your goals 10 times larger than you think you can reasonably accomplish. When I read this, it flew in the face of much of what I think. His reasoning is that by setting a goal this high, the level of excitement and focus will increase significantly. Your goals will get accomplished faster and you will be more prepared for all the negative surprises that could happen. There are many things our of our control. Think of 2008-2010 and how that affected so many businesses that weren’t prepared. Keep working on business development and significantly growing your business to significantly increase your chances of success and making a bigger impact.
I know that many people think working for one employer with benefits is the safer route to go. I certainly thought that way until I was laid off and went from a 6 digit income with benefits to nothing. With a one income household and 4 kids, my one source of income was a bit riskier than I thought.
A good product or service doesn’t necessarily bring customers. Why do you see excellent restaurants go out of business? From my experience, sometimes a good service or product does better than an excellent product or service. Why is this? Think of McDonalds. Do they have the best hamburgers out there? Maybe the best fries but that is debatable. They are very process oriented and people know what to expect each time. Their level of service and generally the cleanliness of their stores helps them.
An organization that is strategic, manages cash flow, and adds value to their clients will grow and be successful.
A common theme to all of this is being strategic and focused on your number one goal. The Freedom Journal helped me last year and it is going to help me this year. No matter the size of your company or even if you lead a team in a large organization, get a copy. Get a copy for your team. When you focus on your goals and consistently build momentum, you will spend less money and significantly increase the chance for success. Your product or service will get better with time and your customers will love you even more.
I am always reading and learning to help me as an entrepreneur. What I can tell from what I have learned from successful entrepreneurs is that there is bad information that many of us have been told by many people. Our level of success will increase as we start reading and listening to the right people and following their advice. This is what I am striving to do.