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What is Success According to These Extremely Successful Entrepreneurs

What is Success According to These Extremely Successful Entrepreneurs

Hey, want to be successful in business? Pretty dumb question right, I mean who goes into business saying “I’m planning on failing at this” or even “I’m hoping to be mediocre in this business”?

No!

Everyone who goes into business plans on becoming successful. So what makes one business successful and another unsuccessful? Is it lack of planning, lack of funds, bad decisions, bad timing, bad luck?

While all of these can play a role, answering the question “What is success?” is the key to achieving it.

We are going to explore the 8 common traits from some of the most successful business people in the world.

1. Thomas J. Watson: Be perseverant

    Thomas J. Watson, the chairman and CEO of IBM from 1914 – 1956. He is the man credited with making IBM the company it is today. During his tenure, IBM became an international force. At the time of his death in 1956 he was known as the world’s greatest salesman.

    Despite what you see in movies, there are no “overnight success stories” in business. Failure is not only inevitable, it’s a critical step to achieving success. Failure lets you know what doesn’t work! And knowing what doesn’t work allows you to better evaluate and understand what does work.

    I used to own tanning salons, and in that industry, membership sales are key. Similar to gym memberships, customers pay a monthly fee for unlimited tanning.

    We also sold single tanning sessions, but I decided to price them high to encourage membership sales. We sold single tanning session at $15 and the monthly membership at $25.

    From my point of view, this was encouraging the sale of memberships (and a monthly income) over single sessions (and one time sales). What I didn’t take into consideration was that there was a high demand for short term tanning.

    Many people wanted to tan 2 or 3 times before an event, vacation, wedding, prom, etc… To these potential customers, I was clearly indicating that I did not want their business. I lost a lot of revenue to my competition because of it.

    But once I recognized this failure, I was able to adjust my pricing, single sessions went down to $9 each, and those short term tanners became a significant source of revenue for me.

    “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” — Thomas J. Watson

    Failure is not an option in business, it is a requirement.

    2. Steve Jobs: Stay curious and creative

      Steve Jobs, a college dropout who was fired from his job at Apple Computer, a company he started with his friend Steve Wozniak. He went on to start a new computer company called NeXT which never really took off and ended up being acquired by Apple.

      By then, the company he had founded and was fired from was in complete crisis, many in the industry had already written off Apple as a lost cause.

      But Apple’s acquisition of Job’s failed NeXT computer provided him the opportunity to return to Apple becoming CEO. Under Steve’s demanding and intense leadership, Apple created some of the most iconic products ever made, including the iPod, iPad and iPhone.

      A company that was once on the brink of disaster was transformed into one of the most successful and well known companies in the world.

      In 2005 Jobs gave a commencement speech at Stanford University where reflected on being fired from Apple.

      “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life,” — Steve Jobs

      3. Jeff Bezos: Become an expert

        Jeff Bezos, born in Albuquerque New Mexico to a teenage mother, he grew up in Houston with his mother and adopted father.

        After college, he worked various jobs including at a hedge fund where he became its fourth senior Vice President at the age of 30. That’s when he decided to quit and start selling books on-line.

        He founded Amazon in July of 1994, becoming one of the largest on-line retailers in the world. As of this writing, Forbes ranked him as the number 1 wealthiest person in the world today.

        Amazon is the leader in predictive marketing. They developed an algorithm that predicts a persons future buying preferences based on past purchases. You can love it or hate it, but there is no doubt that it has revolutionized the world of on-line retail.

        If you don’t understand the details of your business you are going to fail. — Jeff Bezos

        4. Tim Cook: Focus on the customer

          Steve Jobs left awfully big shoes to fill at Apple, but as Jobs’s hand picked successor, Tim Cook has risen to the challenge.

          What is success to Tim Cook? It is Apple’s expertise in developing products who’s form, style and function are so beautifully intertwined that they provide a unique experience for the user. Apple’s products are known for their meticulous design and attention to detail.

          Apple is the only company that can take hardware, software, and services and integrate those into an experience that’s an ‘aha’ for the customer. You can take that and apply to markets that we’re not in today. — Tim Cook

          In today’s highly competitive world, having expertise in a field will give you a significant advantage over the competition. Let’s face it, anyone can throw up a website and start selling things. In fact an entire industry.

          But make no mistake, being able to position yourself as an expert in a field significantly increases your credibility and can make you the “go to” person for your niche.

          5. Richard Branson: Take risks

            Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group which owns more than 400 companies, he was interested in business at a young age.

            At 16, he started a successful magazine called Student. He went on to start a mail order record company and later a chain of Virgin Record Stores (later called Virgin Megastores). His current ventures include Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin Mobile as well as a space tourism company called Virgin Galactic.

            A billionaire businessman and one of the wealthiest people in the UK, he is known for pushing boundaries and thinking outside the box.

            “Far too many people don’t excel in life because they are too afraid of taking the necessary steps to achieve their dreams. Some manifest fear as a safeguard from failure; others don’t even try, believing that they are restricted by limits; while too many get caught up in the status quo. Growing up I felt all these pressures, but instead of giving in to them, I decided to ignore them and push the boundaries. Had I not, I would not be where I am today.”– Richard Branson

            You don’t need to be an exceptional person to be successful, you just need to be willing to do things that other’s aren’t.

            6. Bill Gates: Never be complacent

              As the founder of Microsoft, Bill gates is consistently ranked as one of the world’s richest people. But even after founding one of the largest companies in the world, he still sees more opportunities and new frontiers.

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              Never one to be satisfied, in 2017 the Arizona Republic reported that Gates had purchased nearly 25,000 acres of land in order to build a new “Smart City”.[1] With amenities like high speed public WiFi, self-driving cars and high-tech manufacturing facilities, he’s hoping that it will become the model for the future of urban planning.

              Bill is constantly looking for new ways to integrate technology into new markets. His response to people who wonder if he’s ever satisfied is:

              “If I’d had some set idea of a finish line, don’t you think I would have crossed it years ago?” — Bill Gates

              7. Sandra Day O’Connor: Learn to delegate

                The first woman to serve as a Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O’Connor grew up on a ranch near Ducan Arizona. With no running water until she was seven, Sandra became a proficient horse rider and marks-woman, hunting rabbits for food.

                First appointed to the Supreme Court in 1981 by Ronald Reagan, in 2009 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

                “The really expert riders of horses let the horse know immediately who is in control, but then guide the horse with loose reins and seldom use the spurs.” – Sandra Day O’Connor, former Supreme Court Justice.

                The skill to delegate can be hard for the young entrepreneur who has built a business from the ground up. Giving up control to someone else is a very scary thought.

                But really, what is success in business? It’s having a business that growing.

                There’s an old saying that if you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving backward.

                In short, delegation is just relying on experts to do their jobs. I rely on experts for taxes, legal matters, website development, advertising and a whole host of other things that I’m not an expert in.

                The trick to delegation is to set clear goals and avoid the temptation to micro-manage the people you’ve put in charge. Learn more about delegation in this guide:

                How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                8. Oprah Winfrey: Think outside the box

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                  Born in poverty to a teenage mother and molested as a child, Oprah Winfrey is a truly self made billionaire.

                  Starting out as a talk show host, she quickly dominated the industry with The Oprah Winfrey Show shown in over 200 U.S. stations and over 100 countries.

                  Following the success of her talk show, in 1999, she co-founded the Oxygen network which focused on internet and video content for women.

                  In 2000 she started her highly successful magazine O The Oprah Magazine.

                  In 2011 she started a television network called OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and in 2017 she sold a majority interest in it to the Discovery Channel for 70 million dollars.

                  While Oprah Winfrey became a millionaire hosting the most successful talk show in history, what success is to Oprah is finding new ways to capitalize on her assets. She became a billionaire by branching out and finding new ways to market her brand.

                  You can either see yourself as a wave in the ocean or you can see yourself as the ocean. — Oprah Winfrey

                  Starting, owning and running a successful business can be one of life’s most rewarding ventures.

                  Providing both the personal and financial freedom to live life on your own terms, and with the advent of the internet, starting your own business has never been easier or cheaper.

                  But the most important thing you can do is to define what success is to you. Does it mean being able to spend more time with friends and family without worrying about bills? Is it paying for the kid’s college education? Or to be able to travel the world with your spouse?

                  Whatever it is, having a clear understanding of what success is to you will keep you motivated and focused through the inevitable ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                  Reference

                  More by this author

                  David Carpenter

                  Lifelong entrepreneur and business owner helping others to realize the American Dream of business ownership

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                  Last Updated on November 27, 2020

                  15 Office Design Tricks That Will Increase Your Productivity at Work

                  15 Office Design Tricks That Will Increase Your Productivity at Work

                  Where you work has an enormous impact on how you work – on your ability to focus (and stay focused) and your overall ability to be productive. That means the design of your office, whether you work at home or in a larger company environment, is of supreme importance. This isn’t just about Feng Shui, this is about producing results and getting things done.

                  According to studies done on workplace and productivity, the most significant factor in determining an employee’s ability to focus is their physical environment. In fact, it’s been said that a well-designed office can increase your productivity about 20%. However, despite the studies and statistics, nearly half of the employers interviewed don’t consider workplace design a good business investment.

                  So what is a productivity hack to do? What if you work in an environment that doesn’t promote focus?

                  Check these 15 factors and make changes where you can. A little adjustment can produce a lot of impact.

                  Lighting

                  Lighting is one of the most important factors in staying focused and feeling inspired to create, yet it’s one of the most overlooked and least invested in. Bad lighting can cause fatigue, eyestrain, headaches and overall irritability. Dark spaces can actually produce depression.

                  If you work in a company office:
                  You probably have no control over your general lighting so bring in your own, if need be. Consider using natural light bulbs or a light therapy device.

                  If you work from a home office:
                  Open the windows and doors and let natural light in. Using lamps in a variety of areas for cloudy days or when it’s dark.

                  Chair and Table

                  If you’ve ever sat at a desk to do work but found yourself adjusting, stretching and moving too often to actually stay focused, then you’re aware of the importance of having a correctly fitted table and chair. In today’s work environment where so many of us are sitting for most of our day, it is critical that your throne fits your body probably.

                  Consider these quick ergonomic checks:

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                  • Eyes 24-36 inches from the computer screen. The top of the monitor should be below or at eye-level.
                  • Feet should be on a foot rest or resting on the floor.
                  • A slightly reclined chair posture is best to reduce pressure on your spine and minimize lower back pain.

                  If you work in a company office:
                  Ask for an adjustable chair. Add pillows for your lower back or bum, if you need it. Many companies will also provide risers for computers to adjust the height of your computer screen (and a separate keyboard to keep your hands and wrists in the ideal position)

                  If you work from a home office:
                  Invest in a decent chair or at least use a few pillows to make the chair more comfortable. If the table is too high, add pillows to your chair. If it is too low, consider buying leg risers from your local hardware store and using books beneath your computer to raise the screen. Use a separate keyboard.

                  Clutter

                  Your mama was right, it’s important to clean up your room. Clutter may help the creative mind create, but it isn’t necessarily helpful for focus and productivity.

                  If you work from a company office: While you can’t control the cleanliness of the office at large, do keep your own environment around you clean. Spend 10 minutes every morning or evening making sure things are put away, filed, organized and generally out of sight so you’re not distracted by it later.

                  If you work from a home office: Because you work from home, the entire house or apartment is potential for distraction. If you can afford it, hire a professional cleaning service to keep your home clean. If not, schedule a specific day and time to clean your home. Commit to doing daily pickup at a specific time. And spend at least 10 minutes every day making sure your office  is organized and tidy.

                  Room Color

                  The colors around us all have an effect on our moods and brain function. It evokes both a physical and emotional response. So choosing the right colors for your work space has the ability to affect your productivity. For instance, blue has been said to illicit productivity. Mind you, too much of anything can be overwhelming, even color.

                  If you work from a company office: Bring in items from home that are a certain color that inspire you and keep you focused. Use postcards, magazine cutouts, even just blocks of color will do.

                  If you work from a home office: If you work from home, you have much more control over the colors around you. Consider repainting a wall, adding color to the table you work at, or hanging pictures that are dominated by a specific color.

                  Room Temperature

                  Most offices keep their temperatures around 65-68 Fahrenheit but it turns out that this might not be good for productivity. Warmer rooms actually make people more productive.

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                  If you work from a company office: Most offices are regulated by somebody else, so bring a space heater, sweaters and blankets to your work space.

                  If you work from a home office: Depending on the season, open the windows or adjust the heat or a/c so that you’re more comfortable and warm. Pile on the sweaters in the winter or add a space heater to your feet.

                  Room Scents

                  Like the color of the space you work in, our sense of smell can powerfully affect our mood, mindset and thus our productivity. Consider adding scents to your work space to jar your mind into focus when you start to notice yourself drifting off.

                  Try using these scents to stay focused:

                  • Pine – Increases alertness
                  • Cinnamon – Improves focus
                  • Lavender – Helps to relax you during a stressful work day
                  • Peppermint – Lifts your mood
                  • Citrus (any) – Wakes you up  and lifts your spirits

                  If you work from a company office: Most people will not appreciate added scents to their work environment so you’ll need to keep it subtle. Keep essential oils in your bag or drawer and when you’re in need of a boost put a few drops on a handkerchief or cotton ball.

                  If you work from a home office: Use candles, incense or essential oils. You can also simmer herbs and spices in the kitchen to fill your home with a warm scent.

                  Noise Level

                  The noise level in a work environment can vary greatly depending on the size of the team you work with, the office design and company culture. But make no mistake, the noise around you affects your ability to stay on task. Not only can it be distracting, it can also raise stress levels making your ability to sustain productivity far more difficult.

                  If you work from a company office: Bring in noise cancellation headphones and use music services like Spotify or Songza and choose concentration boosting sounds, like white noise.  Find out if your office offers quiet work spaces for times when you need the utmost focus.

                  If you work from a home office: Sometimes the complete quiet can be as distracting as an office. Use a service like Coffivity to mimic the noise of a coffee shop, which has been said to help with concentration.

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                  Air Quality

                  Air quality can drastically affect our ability to focus and think clearly. Get this: OSHA estimates that the total annual cost of poor air quality in office environments costs employers $15 billion “due to worker inefficiency and sick leave.” Yeah, it’s serious business.

                  If you work from a company office: Talk to them about installing air filters. If there is a way to bring in fresh air through windows or doors, arrange to have them opened for at least a portion of the day. If nothing else, get a personal air filter to have on your desk or nearby.

                  Also, get a plant (or better yet, have the company buy and use more plants in the office!). Plants are great at filtering the air and providing clean, purified oxygen.

                  If you work from a home office: Open windows and doors and let in the fresh air. Install an air filter or get a portable air filter to keep near your desk. And, yes, you too should get a plant.

                  Different Spaces

                  If you can manage it, give yourself more than one space to work from. Putting yourself in a new space with different qualities and things to look at quite literally shifts your brain and helps you stay focused.

                  If you work from a company office: Many offices offer a variety of environments to work from: your personal space, lobbies, break out rooms, conference rooms, kitchens and eating areas and, if you’re lucky, they also provide lounge areas. Use all these spaces to vary your routine. Make sure your supervisor knows so they don’t think you’re slacking off and know tat you’re actually getting more done!

                  If you work from a home office: If you work at a desk, add a comfortable couch or chair to the room. If your space is less flexible or ultra tiny, think about more creative ways to change your work space. Rotate the pictures on your walls every couple of days. Sit on the other side of your desk. Get a lamp and multiple colored bulbs. Or go work at a café, the library or in a park.

                  Organization of People

                  Most employers organize employees around job function or in specific divisions. Instead, studies show that people are more creative and productive when they are sitting with colleagues that share the same goal or client. Not only are you able to get answers and generate solutions quicker, but because you’re directly accountable to the people around you, you’re more likely to stay on task and productive.

                  If you work from a company office: Ask your employer if you can experiment by clustering your group together in a conference room for a day or a week. Get feedback from everybody involved. Show the results. If your company won’t make permanent adjustments, perhaps they’ll allow you to work together a couple times a week when the conference room or lounge area is free.

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                  If you work from a home office: This is a little bit more difficult because when you work at home you’re not with colleagues. You can recreate a similar space digitally, however. Create a Skype group and have everyone logged in during working hours. You can do morning accountability and check-ins while remaining available for questions, solution-finding and general banter that promotes creativity.

                  Idea Storage

                  Ever been working hard when you’re suddenly distracted by a great idea? At first you try to push it away, but then the next thing you know you’re 20 pages deep into an online search on the topic. Ideas should be encouraged and cultivated, but when they come right in the middle of another task it can be incredibly distracting. Instead, create a place to store your ideas that’s easily accessed from your work space.

                  For both a company and home office: Keep pads of paper around, have a chalk wall, get a white board – when you have a spark of inspiration write it down right away to get it out of your head then return to the task at hand. Then, at the end of the day or when you have free time, collect all the ideas and review them. With a little time and space you can better decide if it’s worth pursuing or better to leave it on the back-burner.

                  Refreshment

                  Our brain needs nourishment to keep going, especially when we’re driving hard and staying focused. You can let a rumbling stomach go on for only so long before the brain shuts down. Assuming your different is like wanting your car to keep driving without having to stop and fill it with gas. A novel idea, but not realistic.

                  If you work from a company office: Pre-make snacks for the day and/or week. Or, bring in prepackaged snacks. Keep in mind that junk food has properties of diminishing returns so if you’re buying your food prepackaged think nuts, fruit, unsweetened yogurts, and hummus and crackers. Likely, your company provides coffee, tea and water so you don’t have to worry about supplying that for yourself.

                  If you work from a home office: If you work from home, this can be a key distraction. Try to reduce the number of times you walk into the kitchen each day. To do this, keep quick and   easy snacks pre-made or prepackaged ready and near your desk. Keep a water bottle nearby. And consider bringing a kettle into your office and stocking tea and coffee so you’re   not tempted to wander around the house and lose time poking through the pantry.

                  Bring in Nature

                  We are biological creatures, first and foremost. So we are deeply affected by our access to (or lack of) the natural world. It’s important for our psychological and physiological functioning, which directly affects our ability to be productive.

                  If you work from a company office: If you don’t have windows in or near your work space, bring in pictures of the outdoor world. Keep a picture of something natural as your screensaver and/or desktop wallpaper. Take walks outdoors at lunch or in between major tasks. Just a few minutes outside in the fresh air and sunshine can boost our mood and shake out the doldrums. Be sure to add a plant to your desk, too!

                  If you work from a home office: Keep the shades open and, if you can, let in fresh air. If you can’t see anything natural out of your window, keep pictures of the natural world as your screensaver and/or desktop wallpaper. Take walks. Or, just step outside and put your feet on the ground. Put plants in your office – research shows that having live plants in your office makes you more productive, happier and less stressed.

                  Digital Space

                  For most people, our primary work is housed within our laptops and our physical environment simply the backdrop to our digital lives. Make sure your computer has software that helps you sculpt the digital environment that best elicits productivity. Use focus apps like this one or this to decrease distractions. Or design your day using intervals with an app like this one to keep you at your peak focus throughout the day.

                  Featured photo credit: Phil Desforges via unsplash.com

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