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Ideas vs. Structure – What is More Important?

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5 Ways to Be Successful Next Year

Are you someone that has many of excellent ideas but nothing really ever happens with them? Do you value innovation and creativity but don’t know how to put it into action?

I have a more difficult question. What defines a more successful business?  Great ideas with little implementation or good ideas with consistent implementation.

As someone who is not really considered a “creative”, I find this question fascinating so did a little research. What are the qualities in a successful business? Maybe this will help as you plan for 2017.

1. Organization and Recordkeeping 

Organization and recordkeeping are easier than ever. If you want a successful business, you must stay on top of your finances, contracts, orders, and communications. You have to have a system to expand and grow. Today with Quickbooks Online or Xero, software helps significantly. In the past, paper and files could have been a problem. Now, you can make everything electronic.  There are so many tools such as printing documents as a PDF and filing in electronic folders. You can even have mail delivered to a mailbox that converts all mail electronically and will pay your bills. Check out Earth Class mail for more details.  Investopedia puts “Get Organized” and “Keep Detailed Records” as the first two tips for growing a successful business.

2. Creativity 

Another tip in the Investopedia article is to “Be Creative”.  Look for ways to improve your business and approach tasks in an innovative way. Stand out from your competition and be open to new ideas. I think that coming up with new processes and approaches to your operations can be creative. Creativity is more than just coming up with a new product or marketing idea.

3. Focus 

Follow one course until success (Focus).  This seems so challenging in our age of distractions. Entrepreneur.com mentions “focus”  in 3 of the “6 Effective Ways to Build a Sustainable Business“.  Focus on how you add value to your clients/customers. Focus on a niche or area where you are the most successful. Finally, focus on reinventing what you do. I think we need to be careful how often we do this. We should not abandon where we add the most value. We need to keep learning and trying new things because we don’t know if we will stumble on a new idea, system, technology, or product that will be the next way to add value to our customers.

4. Consistency

Focus and consistency are cousins. Most entrepreneurs have a tendency to jump from one idea to another without building any focus and consistency. Currently, I have been working on an online product that has been taking me a while to finish. One idea that I read in the book, “Slight Edge“, is to work on the project each day for at least 30 minutes. Surely we all have 30 days to work on a new idea or product. The execution and momentum of working each day on your idea will produce creativity and ensure completion eventually.

5. Be Uncomfortable

I am a numbers person so sales and marketing make me uncomfortable but I have to embrace this to be successful.  If you are more of a  creative, sales, and/marketing person, you have to embrace finance, accounting, and numbers to be successful. This may be uncomfortable but this is necessary to build your business and move to the next level.  Also, technology, communication, and competition are changing faster than ever. For most people, change is uncomfortable.  We have to embrace the change to stay ahead of the competition, to be innovative, to add value.

Innovation and creativity are important but are almost useless without focus, consistency, and organization. The businesses that have a good idea and add value to others can be very sustainable with a disciplined approach. Of course, you have to have a good product or service but this will come by following the qualities as mentioned above. In most cases, as your business grows it is important to find someone to help in areas that are not your strengths in order to bring balance to your team.

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