I have had the wonderful privilege over the years to meet and connect with many businesswomen from all over the globe. Through our Success Story System I have been able to proactively help women grow their business in a one on one relationship and also offer more general support through our clubs and Training Workshops. Now, this all sounds great, and it is or else I wouldn’t do it! I love our club and what we do to support women in their businesses. However, and this is unfortunate but, there are many times when I can see that a woman is just not going to make it in business 🙁 Either she is going to struggle for a long time and never breakthrough into a healthy financial situation or she will throw in the towel and find a job. As harsh as it sounds that is the truth for far too many businesswomen.
So how can I tell? I am not clever or psychic but simply read the obvious signs, signs that you may be able to look out for too in your business. Predict your own success using the acrostic SAFE:
S = SEE the future with Vision & Planning
If you don’t know where you are going how are you going to get there?
This is nicely summed up in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland;
Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
The Cheshire Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
Alice: I don’t much care where.
The Cheshire Cat: Then it doesn’t much matter which way you go.
Alice: …So long as I get somewhere.
The Cheshire Cat: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.
How many of us run our businesses this way? We are working really hard all day every day but not really stopping to think about where we want to end up. It is easily done and we end up like a dog chasing its tail. In order to ensure your success, you need to be able to see. Do you have a vision? If yes, is it written down? If yes, do you have a plan to get from where you are to where you would like to be? The ability to see both where you want to be and some clear steps on how to get there is essential for any business owners success. This is why we wrote our Achieve Success Map – to help businesswomen get from where they are to where they want to be using our 12 step program which is built on the business basics that every businesswoman must know.
Take time out to have a good honest look at why you are in business and what you want from it. Search deep down inside and find your underlying driving force. Once you have that then write down the dream – where do you want your business to be in 20 years time? Do you have the staying power to stick at this for 20 years? Remember, overnight success takes about… 20 years. 10 years if you are a member of Women’s Business Club 😉
A = ASK for business through Sales & Marketing
You have not because you ask not!
Are you getting out there and asking for business or are you sitting around waiting for the business to come to you? Business may just happen to come to you but nine times out of ten your competitors are doing a great job of asking while you are sitting and waiting. Sales and marketing are the business terms for asking and in a nutshell that’s all it really means. If a business owner is not comfortable with asking or does not have the budget to pay someone else to ask, then they are unlikely to really make it in the business world. No sales = no business. This is the brutal truth. But don’t worry, you can learn to love sales and marketing, in fact, once you get the hang of it, it can become quite an addiction, which is great for business!
Ask for help too. Not one successful man or woman in the world made it alone. When we talk about a ‘self-made’ millionaire we do not mean she did it completely by herself. It usually refers to a person who started with nothing – rags to riches story. I dare you to find any successful person who did it entirely on their own. It doesn’t exist! We all need people, we all need to borrow each other’s skillsets and at times we even need to borrow some energy from others. Make sure that you have your very own fantastic 5 – your very own group of cheerleaders. Everyone needs the following 5 people in their life:
- Your cheerleader – someone who believes in you and what you are doing.
- Your mentor – someone who is further along in the journey than you.
- Your coach – someone who is brave enough to crack the whip tell you the truth.
- Your encourager – someone who inspires you and lifts your spirits.
- Your friend – someone who you can have a coffee with.
F = FACE Failure
Fail your way to success
Failure is a good thing! It really is. At least if you are failing you know you are trying, learning and growing. Failure can only be a negative if you allow it to make you stop and give up. Some well-know failures are:
Penniless, depressed, divorced and a single mum whose first book was rejected by 12 publishers went on to create Harry Potter, a global brand estimated to be worth $15 billion today. This is what J.K. Rowling has to say about failure:
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might have well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
After being cut from his high school basketball team, he went home locked himself in his room and cried but went on to become the greatest basketball player in history. This is what Michael Jordan has to say about failure:
“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Fired from a newspaper for lacking imagination and having no original ideas but went on to create Walt Disney Productions, one of the best-known motion picture producers in the world. This is what Walt Disney has to say about failure:
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
He wasn’t able to speak until he was almost 4 years old and his teachers said he would “never amount to much” but went on to become one of the greatest scientific minds in history and won the Nobel prize in physics. This is what Albert Einstein has to say about failure:
“You never fail until you stop trying.”
You simply must fail in order to succeed. Stop holding back for fear of failure and get on with trying your next bold move!
E = EMBRACE Money
“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” – Benjamin Franklin
I always say that one of the key differences between a hobby and a business is money. You are in business to make money. Too many businesswomen are not comfortable with money. They don’t like to talk about it, they don’t know how to handle it and they are too shy to charge it. Most women are selling themselves short but not charging what they are worth or by giving their products or services away. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a hobby business if that is what you have intentionally chosen to do. However, if you would like a real business then you need to treat it that way. You need to firstly get comfortable with your rates and secondly, you need to get comfortable with your budget. Earning too little or spending too much is the quickest way to kill your business.
“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.” – Benjamin Franklin
Take time to have a good, long, honest look at your financial situation. Decide what your products or services are worth and charge accordingly without apologising or feeling embarrassed. If you can’t do this then save yourself a lot of heartache and either get a job if you need an income to live or simply take the pressure off of yourself to be good at business and just enjoy what you do as a hobby.
Where is your money coming from and where is it going? How can you make more and spend less? What risk to you need to take to get ahead? Do you have an emergency fund? If not, get one before you buy a new pair of shoes or go out for dinner! If you struggle with money get a good financial adviser or sign up to our Achieve program and ask your mentor to spend extra time with you on the money sections.
YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESS CHECKLIST
Checklist of some basic business success essentials:
□ You have a vision for your business
□ You have a plan for your vision
□ You have a sales and marketing strategy
□ You are not afraid of failure
□ You are trying new and scary things
□ You have 5 great people around you
□ You are not afraid of charging what you are worth
□ You have a budget and are using it
We have dedicated an entire chapter of our Success Story System to vision, get involved and tap into all of our valuable resources to support you in your business.