One night at dinner, when I was in the middle of another gleeful rant about the new business I am about to launch, my friend asked me a question that stopped me in my tracks. He asked me how I would know when I was successful.
I hadn't thought about that before.
How did I view success and what did being successful mean to me? Did being successful mean I could work from home? Did being successful mean having a million dollars in the bank? Did being successful mean owning a mansion on the beach?
I had to think about what I wanted to achieve.
Unless you have a clear vision of what success is to you, you cannot work towards it.
Every motivational speaker worth his salt will tell you that goal setting is an integral part of running a business. It provides a clear starting point, benchmarks along the way and an end goal. Working towards a goal, like being successful, is a powerful motivating force.
Having a successful business means different things to different people.
Some define success as having enough money to provide for their family. Others define it in much more grandiose terms, like being able to afford to send their kids to private school, drive a Lamborghini or wearing designer clothes.
Some think defining success limits achievement. This couldn't be farther from the truth. It's not as if you'll stop running your business once you reach your level of desired success.
If you started a business and told yourself you wanted to make $100,000 one year and then you achieved that after only three years, would you suddenly quit the business? No, you wouldn't.
Your definition of success would evolve. Perhaps your next goal would be to continue to net $100,000 a year for the next three years. Or perhaps your new vision of success would be to make $150,000 a year. Definitions of success are not concrete. They change and evolve as we go throughout our lives.
I don't have the same wants and goals today at age 52 than I did when I was 15. And I won't view success the same way I do today when I am 60.
Just like you would map out how you want to run your business before you get started, also map out what you want to accomplish with your business. Decide for yourself when you will consider your business a success. That way you will know it when you get there.
Define your success
To define what success means to you, take a step back and look at the big picture. Think about your current job situation and list the things you don't like about it. Is it the hours? The pay? The having to answer to someone? The daily drive from home to work and vice versa?
Figure out what are the "must haves” in your ideal situation. Working backwards like this will make it easy for you to define your priorities. It's also easier to make a plan going forward this way. Lay out your plan to attain your business goals.
Once you know where you want to go, it's easy to map out a way to get there!
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All the best,
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