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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 September 18, 2020

                  How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

                  How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

                  Time is a great leveler isn’t it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Even if you’re self-assured, the day may never feel quite long enough.

                  Why is it that some people can be so much more productive and achieve so much more in a typical day, while others struggle to achieve anything apart from feeling time crunched and overwhelmed?

                  Everyone I know and work with wants to make the best use of their time. They want to learn how to be more self-assured, happier, and work less—all while growing in their career.

                  How effectively we use our time—and how we actually work in our business—can make a huge difference to the amount we accomplish in a day or week. It can also make us more focused and more confident.

                  Do you want to have more thinking and creative time? Do you want to spend more time working on your business rather than working at or in your business? In this article, we’ll show you how.

                  Get More Done by Gaining Confidence

                  What if you had a strategy for making the best use of your time that brings you more joy and allows you to focus on the biggest activities and opportunities in your business? You may find the following outline below to be helpful:

                  1. Create an Exciting Vision

                  If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?

                  You want to be more productive and spend more time getting the right stuff done. Well, you need to create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.

                  What does this future look like? How will you feel when you get there?

                  Creating a new vision, especially one that is a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion. It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.

                  Create a vision board to feel more self-assured.

                    Commitment to this vision, and accomplishing continual daily progress depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, feel self-assured, and see something bigger ahead.

                    Also, when you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.

                    Make a vision map to get you started on the path to better productivity. This doesn’t have to be fully actualized, but you should know at least what direction you are heading.

                    2. Build a Strategic Plan

                    Once you have your future vision mapped out, the next step is to build a strategic plan to get you there.

                    Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame. Any timeframe over 3 years may feel like a long way away.

                    You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.

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                    The first step is to decide on some specific goals for the next 12 months. Don’t list too many or you may begin to feel overwhelmed.

                    The magic number for me and my clients is usually five annual goals.

                    These are big goals that will create massive change in your business and life and bridge your current situation to your bigger future; accomplishing these goals one by one will help to increase your confidence on a daily basis.

                    3. Get on Goal Planning

                    Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: A, B, C, and D.

                    Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now? Write these things down in Column A. This might be a couple of things, five things, ten things, whatever feels right to you.

                    Then ask yourself: What things are happening right now that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.

                    This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working. You may list people that are bringing you down or projects that you don’t want to work on any more. Maybe you’ll include a service offering that’s going nowhere. It could be the people you’re working with, or it could be your pricing.

                    Now, let’s look at your personal strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.

                    These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.

                    Column D is for your biggest opportunities. Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers? Is there a new innovation you could bring to market? Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.

                    Once you’ve analyzed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.

                    4. Set Outcomes to Build Confidence

                    You now have your goals, and you’ll feel self-assured and raring to go. They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel self-assured and motivated.

                    But how do you ensure that you stay on the correct course to achieve these goals?

                    Managing and juggling day-to-day projects can get in the way. Dealing with problems can get in the way. Staying on top of orders, managing cash flow, and handling day-to-day stuff can move your ship off course.

                    You want to be productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day and week runs smoothly.

                    One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals, put some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.

                    Let’s say you want to get 10 more speaking jobs in the next 90 days, and you know that you typically convert 50% of opportunities.

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                    Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new pieces of work. You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.

                    It’s smart to overshoot, so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear plan to work through because with every win, your confidence will grow.

                    5. Completely Commit to Your Success

                    If you are not truly committed to achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.

                    Motivation can only take you so far. It is the intentional commitment[1] and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.

                    Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something. There must have been a reason you actually achieved what you set out to achieve. What motivated you?

                    Were you fully invested? Why did it matter? Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?

                    How did it feel when you achieved it? What difference did it make?

                    When have you felt truly self-assured? When you are committed to something, then you are propelled into action. Your mindset is focused, and your body follows; you want to get it done.

                    And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.

                    6. Focus on Your Strengths

                    To feel self-assured and build up the confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals, we need to focus on our strengths.

                    What are you best at? What are your unique skills? You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.

                    Multiply your strengths. These areas are where you add the biggest value. They often bring you the biggest amount of joy, and you feel more and more confident when you are using your unique skills.

                    If you think there is a specific capability you need to learn or be better at, spend more focused time in that area.

                    Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services. But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!

                    Spending more time adding value in the areas where you excel can create breakthrough results and boost confidence.

                    7. Embrace the Present

                    Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment[2].

                    Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect day looks like?

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                    We all have the opportunity to create rather than react, to decide what we do with our day. All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.

                    Sometimes, doing it now is more important than doing it perfectly. There are hidden opportunities in every moment. We need to make sure we don’t miss them if we want to feel self-assured.

                    8. Calm the Whirlwind

                    The day-to-day life in business and life can be hard, which leads us to feel less self-assured.

                    Your mind may be full to bursting with all of the things you feel you have to do. The phrase “I don’t have time” has almost become an instant reaction by so many people when new opportunities are presented.

                    There is a whirlwind happening inside our minds.

                    Appointments, notifications, tasks, phone calls, errands, cash flow, staffing issues, networking, marketing all can clutter up our timeline. The sheer volume of things we feel we should do creates procrastination, stopping us from pursuing the projects and people that matter.

                    Many of us feel we have to do everything within our business.

                    Rather than simplifying things and doing less, we do more. We work longer, which creates a lack of energy and focus. Because of this, we lose clarity on our biggest opportunities. If you feel this way, take some well-deserved time off.

                    Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of your time is being spent moving your ideas forward?

                    In the next 90 days, if you could delegate or outsource more daily tasks and spend more time focusing on where you add the biggest value, what difference would it make?

                    Calm the whirlwind by slowing down and doing less.

                    Focus on areas that you add the biggest amount of value. By doing this, your energy levels will increase, your confidence will grow and you will have more success.

                    9. Take More Time off

                    This may seem counterintuitive, but taking more time off to recharge and refocus can pay huge dividends.

                    If you are constantly fighting fires and caught up in the myriad of different activities that you have to do each day, then how can you move your business forward?

                    You may be being pulled in difference directions without any focused time on your biggest projects. If that’s the case, then it’s almost impossible to gain any real momentum in moving your business forward and hitting your goals.

                    The best way to get off that treadmill is to take more creative time out of the business.

                    Could you realistically take one day off per month to work on your business? If you could, what would you do with this time?

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                    Just imagine no distractions, only focused time on the strategic development and growth of your business.

                    Every day off per month could have a different focus: New product innovation; Thinking about your biggest clients; Improving operations.

                    Add to this a quarterly review to check in with your goals progress, and this could have a dramatic effect on where you spend your valuable time.

                    10. Celebrate Wins

                    Sometimes you just want to get through the day, right?

                    You have so much to do. There are so many things on your task list that you just complete what you can and then start another day. But what would happen if, at the end of each day, you took some time out to look at what you’ve accomplished?

                    Celebrating success keeps you motivated and helps you become more self-assured. It is not just another day. It’s a day that included things that should be celebrated.

                    If you’re struggling to feel motivated, try celebrating a couple of wins each day.

                    Celebrating success combined with the gratitude you have for achieving those wins will boost your confidence and inspire you for the next day.

                    11. Give Yourself More Space

                    When was the last time you gave yourself time to think?

                    Within the hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to give yourself a little bit of space and time to just think[3].

                    Imagine giving yourself just an hour a day to just let your mind wander or think about a specific thing.

                    If you think about it, we can all free up an hour a day for something without really losing any efficiency or really impacting our business.

                    In fact, that hour could be transformational for your business and life.

                    A new idea for a product could form, or an idea for adding value to your existing clients could materialize. Perhaps you could do a check in to your ideal future and your goals. You could decide that you want to take your business in a new direction.

                    Try this: Just sit alone for an hour with a notebook and let it be your creative thinking time. See what happens.

                    Final Thoughts

                    Ultimately, being self-assured happens when you have a clear direction.

                    This, coupled with having clear goals and working in your unique skill-set, gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and get more of the right things done.

                    The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money. By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will inevitably increase your confidence; at this point, your ideal future can be anything you want it to be.

                    More on How to Be Self-Assured

                    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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