Anyone that is interested in finding true success throughout their lives can do so, with the right tools, the right amount of ambition and the knowledge to make it all happen. Yet, the entrepreneur, no matter which business he/she is in he/she needs to plan ahead and find success through much more than just these things.
To be an entrepreneur, you are not just looking for benefits right now. While you are sure to want your business to truly take off and do well in its first year, its infancy, it is just as important, if not more so, that the long-term goals that you have match the need that you have as well.
In the long-term, the entrepreneur’s world is much different and much more unique. To find true success, he needs to think of today as well as tomorrow.
How and what will you do to ensure that your business, the one that you have worked so hard to make happen in the first place, is going to make it in the long-term? Although this is not something easy to do, you can do it with skill.
In this post, you will learn some of the most essential principals of protecting your business not only for today, but also for the long-term.
As a new or aspiring entrepreneur, you did not think about what the future would hold because only today mattered. Yet, now is the perfect time to step back and to find out just what the best way to manage your business sin the long-term is.
If you wish to have a business that allows for success and money in your pocket down the road, it is essential that you spend some time now planning for it to happen.
The good news is that you do not have to go to school or be a rocket scientist to figure this out. In fact, we provide a great deal of the information and resources that you need here, without any need to look elsewhere.
Of course, we also hope you are inspired to take the next step and to find the true benefit of your business by putting these things into action first and foremost. When you do these things, true success is virtually just a matter of time.
Maximize Each & Every Day!
As an entrepreneur, your job is very detailed. You need to be the creative one. You need to be the boss. You need to hold the vision of your business at the head of each and everything that you do for that business. But, today isn’t everything.
As a business owner, you must remember the fact that the long-term goals and process of your business can only happen if you plan for it now, not in the day.
You have probably heard people tell you that you need to; “Live in the day!” As an entrepreneur, this is not possible and should not be the way that you hold your business agenda.
But, why not?
Most of the time, we would like to think that all we really need to do is to put together a plan and hold onto it. Somehow, things will fall into place.
Yet, from a business standpoint, there is much more to think about and do. For example, you may have employees that need the funds that come from your business for their day to day expenses.
You may need to take into consideration the overall benefits that you have in keeping your business going. What about your assets? Will they make it through the process? How about your cash flow? What will happen if something does go wrong?
These things are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to running a business long-term. The bottom line is that you need to consider what your business will be like today as well as ten, twenty and more years down the road.
Think About This
Before we get started, it is essential that you understand 2 concepts about your business dealings. When you make a decision in your business, ask yourself these questions first and foremost.
1. When I make this decision, what is the short term and immediate effects of doing so? How does this affect my business today?
2. When I make this decision, what is the long-term effect of making this choice? How will this decision affect my business months and years from now?
When you take the time to carefully consider decisions that happen in front of you, you put yourself in charge of your destiny.
If you allow the cards to fall where they may, you may not be in business 6 months from now. Therefore, as you read through this post, ask yourself what steps you can take right now that will better your overall business in the short and the long-term.
Don’t let it just happen, make today count for tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow too.
Setting Your Goals Now For Benefits Later
No matter what aspect of your life you are talking about, goal setting is a crucial factor throughout it all. As you will see, each of the decisions you make as an entrepreneur will affect your overall goal of being successful with your business. Yet, there is more to it than just that.
You should also set goals because they can help you to make the right decisions throughout the process of getting to the level of success that is coming. By investing the time and energy that you have in setting goals now, you help yourself for each decision it takes to reach the end result you are hoping for.
In other words, if you set some overall goals today, you can help insure that your business will be there and be prosperous throughout the future of the business. Goals now, count.
While we all have the same goal of finding success in the future, we still need to set goals to help us to get to that point. It doesn’t happen overnight!
How To Set Goals Successfully
When it comes to setting goals, there are not many of us that are very good at doing so. There are plenty of opportunities for mistakes to be made, but the real problem comes in how we set them as well as what we do once we set them.
For starters, it is essential to know what your goals are. Take a few minutes right now to figure this out. Simply sit down with a blank sheet of paper (yes, you can use your computer too!) and avoid all distractions for ten minutes.
Write down anything and everything that comes to your mind in regards to your goals.
What are they?
Where do you want to be in a year?
Who do you want to have with you?
Where do you see your business in 5 years? 20 years?
What dollar amount of sales do you want to hit this year?
What do you need to make in profits to reach a new level of satisfaction each year?
All of these things may be things to spark your mind. Determine where your business will be within the next years. Look long-term for starters. Then, follow these tips.
Goal writing is made easy through some basic steps.
1. Write down your longest-term goal. This is the place that you want to be in a few years, or the place you need to be to be as successful as you plan to be.
2. Give yourself a time frame for making that happen. You may want to say that you want to make your first million in 2 years. Or, it may take many more for that to happen. Giving your goal a time frame helps to get your mind set in how to make that happen. If you leave it open ended, the long-term goals are not benefited by your actions each day, as they would be here.
3. Give yourself smaller goals to reach as steps up to the larger one. For example, the new entrepreneur may be able to say that he wants to be in an office, set up and running within a month’s time. In 6 months, he plans to be running into profit, after expenses have been paid down. Determine what your steps are to reach your goal. Make sure that you write them with time frames attached too.
4. Now, write them by hand on paper in the following manner. “Within 6 months, I will have paid off all debt that I owe and be running in the clear. I will do this by pushing sales and not pushing any new expenditures during that time.” In this manner, you have listed not only what the goal is and the time frame to have it done, but also how you will get there.
5. Take this piece of paper and place it everywhere and anywhere that you will see it at least several times per day. Seeing it will allow you to think it. Thinking about it makes it happen. Success through goals is the only way to find it.
Now that you know what your goals are, it is essential for you to make sure that they do happen.
You will need to read those goals each day, at least 1 time per day. When you think it, see it, feel it, you make it happen.
Throughout the next chapters we will discuss what long-term decisions you need to make as well as what various things you need to do to make them happen.
When you go through each step, determine your goal for it. How will you implement it into your current work day and how will you insure that it will happen?
Growing & Staying Green
When you are green, you are growing. Once you start to turn red, you are expiring. Don’t you want to always stay green then?
As an entrepreneur, 1 thing that you should realize is that the world never stays the same. You are, for the most part, always going to find some changes happening. As a business owner, if you can’t adjust your business to those changes, you may find yourself facing more problems then benefits.
Many companies have had to go out of business simply because their product no longer works with what the consumer needs. It does not matter what type of business you have either. The bottom line is that if you are not green and growing, you are not going to make it in business for long.
Is your business green and growing?
The Long-Term Goal
The long-term goal of any business situation is to ensure that they are able to meet the needs of the client or consumer. If they can’t do this, they can’t have consumers and will eventually fall out of the scope. If they do happen to do this, they will find rewards continuously with increased profit and new customers to fill their pockets.
In this case, the long-term goal that you need to make is to maintain green. You need to maintain some aspect that will continuously help you to move forward with what is happening within your business.
If you are not sure why this is important, take for instance, the current situation.
Enter The Car Manufacturing Business
Today, we hear quite a bit of talk about energy cost, the cost of gas and all that goes with it. In fact, today, more people know what the cost of a barrel of crude oil is than they ever have. Why is this; and what does this do for the industry?
If you haven’t spent any time shopping or a car, you may not realize that many manufacturers are struggling to stay in business. Their problem is that their cars, trucks or anything in between are not able to meet the demands of the consumer.
Why not? They may not be able to offer low enough mileage. With each passing year, more and more consumers are looking for a better way to fuel their energy needs. That comes in the way of cars that are hybrids and those that do not run on gas at all.
In these cases, if the business can’t meet the needs of the consumer, how can they run effective businesses?
They can’t and that is the same thing that can happen to virtually any business out there. Unless your business can be green, growing and exploring new routes to take, it can’t meet the needs of the consumer who is, of course, the lifeblood of the business.
How To Do It
The question that you need to ask yourself, then, is what do you need to do to make this happen in your business?
Let’s say that you have an internet business. Perhaps 1 of the important things that you must do is keep up with search engine optimization.
If you do not follow and keep in contact with the new rules and the changing scheme of matters, your website won’t rank well and will fall out of the scope of being worthwhile.
In this case, it is essential that you maintain the ability to keep your knowledge and your skill at the highest quality. The same goes for various other businesses including those such as insurance agency and real estate agency. Unless you keep your knowledge at the top, you can’t make sure you are doing what is right.
There are other ways that you need to think about this as well. For example, what about marketing? If your marketing is not trendy enough (or happens to be too trendy for the wrong market) you may find yourself in trouble.
In this case, it is essential for you to find a way to target the right audience with the right medium and to keep it up. You already know how to market your business; just make sure that you stay up to date on how to do this as the market changes.
What other aspects of your business can you think of that have the same potential for your attention?
Finding the various ways that you need to stay fresh may include keeping your business product fresh, with the latest technology and aspects to fit the consumer’s need and even reinventing yourself to insure that the company always stays at the top.
When you invest time and money into keeping yourself green, the business always has the potential for success.
Understanding The Ever Changing Consumer
One of the most difficult things that you will need to do as an entrepreneur is to insure that you meet your consumers/customers needs. What is difficult about this is not the fact that you need to do it, but rather how you go about understanding your consumer.
Some companies spend millions of dollars on research each year to ensure that their product or that their sales pitch will be well received by the economy.
This can leave the small entrepreneur left to wonder how in the world they can afford to make this happen.
Understanding the consumer is not an easy task. It is essential that someone work hard to finding this information though.
If you are interested, you can do this through hiring a company to do your marketing research. This can be a solid decision that is provided at a decent cost to you. Depending on your specific business and your product, as well as your marketing budget, this may be a good option for you.
On the other hand, it may not be something that you wish to pursue. In that case, it is essential that you invest some time in finding the right solution through other means. No matter what you do from talking with your customers individually to watching market trends in what your competition does, the goal is to ensure that you keep offering the best product possible.
To make sure that you are green, compare what you have to offer to the consumer’s other choices. What do they have that makes them a better choice over you?
When you can answer that and then tackle that, you will be green and growing, growing towards profits of course.
Chapter 4: Understanding Your Market
One thing that we do need to mention is that the market that you face is likely to be much different than the market that someone else faces. The goals that you have in comparison to the goals of someone else are much different. In fact, you are sure to see yourself striving for benefits that are not on target for your business.
First off, take a step back, out of the picture and look at your market.
If you are selling on the internet, look at the other sellers.
If you are a small local business owner, step back and look at your local market.
Whatever you are doing, step back.
To Consider Now
The market that you work in is very dependent on who your customers are. If you are looking for immediate success, just opening your doors can help you to get started. But, in looking at your market, you can better see several things.
Ask yourself and answer these questions before moving forward.
Who is my customer? The seniors or the children, the business women or the business owner…determine who your customer is.
How do they find you? Do they find you online, through a simple web search? Do they need to find you through an affiliate link? Do they find you in their local area, in one of the most popular areas in the city?
Who else is out there? Who is your competition? Where are they located? What do they offer that allows you to better them? How do they better you in your marketplace? Why are they open, pulling business away from you?
What do you offer that is better, in some way, then the other guy? What do they offer that is better in some way than you?
Where is your market going? Is the economy growing, stalling out, or is it holding steady? What amount of money do your customers have to spend on your product?
You can go on and on with things that you should be considering about your own specific business. Understanding your market is crucial to understanding what your future is.
If you do not know who your consumer is, then how do you know how they are changing?
In addition, you need to know what to expect to get from the market around you. If you find that the economy is slipping, it may be quite necessary to pull back and to instead look to the future in a different way.
If you look at your market and see that your competition has taken your product in a different way and is having success with that, you need to make a move. How do you compete? What will you offer that is better? In addition, how will you take the next step into success? How will you better them?
Paying Attention Counts
By paying attention to your market, you will make better decisions. When you look towards the long-term goals that you have in place to keep your business up and running, you need to make sure that your market is one of the top priorities that you have.
If you do not invest time in keeping yourself in that marketplace, or even expanding out of it, you can’t and will not make things work. The business can’t grow or stay green without a constant watchful eye on the market around you.
In later chapters we will talk more about growth and how to envision your future in this regard. Yet, it is important to note that you need to watch your market for the signs that it needs more of your product or that it is not picking up on it.
There is no doubt that some of these things are essential to do but some may be hard to do as well. Yet, if you do not invest the time that it takes to analyze and understand the customer that you have, how in the world will you make it work?
Again, you could hire someone to do this work for you. But, you can, and you should consider not only doing this but also helping yourself with your own research and know how.
Being a physical presence in your marketplace (even on the web) helps you to make sure that people can come to you. It allows you to see your market first hand and therefore make good decisions.
Trend Versus Trend Setter
Is your business a trend setter? Or, do you follow the trend?
If you are not sure, consider how this plays a role in your future.
As a trend setter, you are always one step ahead of the game. What you do, others look up to, but not just this one time. If you can manage to do this often, setting the trend that is, you can even create the fact that you will have others looking to you to set the next trend.
On the other hand, if you are following the trend, things are not so great. You will have to make up time for the other product or business that is doing well. You have lost precious sales time in the process. In addition, you will always need to watch the other guy for what is going to happen next, instead of overseeing what that is. This can be a challenging place to be.
Take a minute now to think about where you are in this equation.
Do you tend to follow the lead of someone else, hoping that there will be enough in the pot for you too? Or, do you seek out something new and exciting and try to incorporate that into your business?
Depending on where you stand currently should help you to see just how this affects your long-term goals and ability to reach the success that you want.
We all know that trends come and go. You should also realize that not every one of them is the right way to go for each business. Yet, the trend is something to pay attention to when looking at your long-term success.
As we mentioned, the benefits of setting the trend in your market place are not just based on the basics of the sale. Sure, if you can get a monopoly on a product for a few days, weeks or longer, you are going to have some awesome sales to take advantage of.
Yet, those sales are soon gone. In the short term, that is all that matters. But, in this case, we are talking about the long-term goals here.
If you are the trend setter, then, your long-term benefits of being in this business is that you have more ability and movement to set the next trend too.
Some companies in the market place do not have the ability to fill their customer’s needs perfectly. Some will only find success occasionally when it comes to trends. Yet, the company that is able to set a few trends can secure more ability in the future to do the same.
When a company has other companies looking to them for the next trend, guess who is going to make long-term success?
Consider Your Reputation
This is the one factor that plays a role in developing your reputation as a company as well. Not all companies are able to say that they have a good reputation with their consumers on a long-term basis. Yet, those that do can almost count on a monopoly in their market.
Take for example the mom and pop shops that are so frequently around well past their prime. Why are these such great places to go? It’s because they have a solid reputation for providing success and for doing well with their product. Even if their product is outdated, it is still something that is wanted and needed for its quality. That helps to fund true success with the market.
Of course, your reputation comes into play for more reasons or ways than just this. The fact is that it also happens when you are considering customer service, pricing, good community connections and so on. These things all play a role in what your reputation is, just to name a few of them!
When you are considering your long-term goal of success and having good money in your pocket, how does your reputation play a role?
We talked about how this happens with trend setting, but it can go further than that. In today’s offline world, it is hard to get a good cup of coffee without begging. No matter if you are online or offline with your product, though, you can gain many rewards and benefits by just providing good service.
Building a reputation is essential to continued growth. Yet, remember that a reputation can go both ways. good and bad. Therefore, make sure that you have a solid backing of pleased customers in your marketplace. It will pay off for you today as well as long into the future.
Learning From History
One thing that many business owners don’t consider enough is their history and learning from it. When you consider how your history affects your future potential, you can better see why it is essential for this to be something you pay a good amount of attention to.
Do you learn from history?
Many of us will recall the times when our parent’s scolded us. “Don’t do that again!” “Learn from your mistakes.” All of these things are very important in the business world as well.
In this principal that is crucial to your business’s success, you do need to take into consideration your past and where it has been to help you to figure out where you and your business are going.
Questions To Consider
Now, to get started with this principal, take into consideration these questions.
1. Where have you been and what have you learned? When you think about the past, determine just what it means to find success in this way. What background do you have that has taught you something that could play a role in your life and well-being today?
2. What have you learned from mistakes? Every entrepreneur makes mistakes as they are working through their business. No matter if you are brand new or a seasoned pro, mistakes can and will happen. Learn from them.
3. What do you wish you would have done differently? Regrets do not have to be wasted this time. As an entrepreneur, you may have several regrets in mind. Perhaps you feel as if you have lost a great deal of time getting your business up and running. Now, take this regret and determine what you would do today. Would you start your business sooner? Put more into it sooner?
Understanding these aspects of your past can help you in the long-term. Of course, we do not want to keep making the same mistakes, but there are not many business owners that do this.
Instead, most of us will learn from our mistakes but only if we take the time to look at them and see what they were and how they could be avoided.
Your history is solely yours. Whether you look at a personal life history and your business or just the business alone, it is essential to stop and look and learn.
Making mistakes today is not easy to do. No one wants to do it, but if it does happen to you, do the following.
1. Recognize that something did not go right. Do not get angry about it (if possible!) and realize that something went wrong.
2. Determine what it was and determine how it happened. Getting the full story, learning the whole puzzle will allow for better understanding. Learning how it happened allows you to see in full detail what the mistake was.
3. Decide to improve your chances of not letting that mistake happen again. To do this, insure that you spend the necessary time making decisions to avoid this problem.
All Histories Are Not Bad
It is important to note that history does not always have to tell you the bad side of things. You can, and you should see the good things that have happened in your history as well. What was it that got you to this success level that you are at today? What was it that makes that first sale happen and happen so well?
Taking a look at the good things that have happened in the past is part of the principal of looking to the past for answers of your future. They allow you to see a true benefit to the good that has happened in your business. You may even be able to take note of the way that the good has happened to make it happen again and again into your business’s future as well.
When you take the time to analyze all of the good and the bad that has happened in your past, you can make sure that the benefits come through in the future while the mistakes do not.
As part of your future success, you must understand your history and how to secure the future through this huge amount of knowledge that you have. Believe it or not, this is a personal touch and experience no one else can have.
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