While having the right business ideas, strategy and execution matters, something much more important that many people ignore when it comes to building successful businesses is this:
Successful business owners are guided by certain principles and rules, and often these rules end up influencing their success.
If you want to build a successful business in this 21st century, you need to live by these rules; they’re kind of like the 10 commandments of building a successful business.
Rule #1. In Business, Profit is the Most Important Metric
Online or offline, as long as what you run can be called a “business”, profit is the most important metric.
As a commercial fish farmer, when I was being tutored by my teacher, who is a successful and really experienced fish farmer, the one thing he emphasized more than anything else is this: turn a profit.
My teacher will tell me: “other farmer’s fishes could be weighing 1kg in 6 months and yours could be weighing 3kg in the same time-frame, but it wouldn’t matter if you’re not turning a profit.”
Essentially, it doesn’t matter how big your business is if it is not profitable.
It’s easy to become sidetracked by feel-good metrics, and companies often justify their failure to turn a profit by saying “they’re making impact”; whatever that means.
One thing is certain, as a business, even if you’re “making impact”, not being profitable will ensure you can’t operate for so long.
Rule #2: Offer Value
Zig Ziglar famously said that you can get anything you want in life by helping others get what they want. In this is a golden lesson of business success.
Think about every successful business, and you’ll notice a trend of offering value:
- Apple helps their customers look sleek and cool while offering advanced technology in their devices
- Facebook offers value by making it easy for people to get in touch and connect, irrespective of where they are and when they last connected. People have found lost friends through Facebook!
- Google makes it easy for people to find information from all over the world.
I’m following this philosophy with my fish farm business as well by catering towards a major need people have; food. This blog is also offering value in form of articles and information presented, and both endeavors are paying really well.
So, if you really want to make a profit and succeed in business, think about a pressing need you need to solve. Think about a kind of value you can offer.
Thankfully, you don’t always have to create a solution to feed people, or even help build relationships; you can offer value by making people laugh.
So, incorporate real value into your business and offerings and look forward to the results.
Rule #3: It Takes Money to Make Money
Now, don’t take this at face value.
There are numerous case studies of successful businesses that started from zero, so it is not always about spending money. However, a stage will come when you have no choice but to invest money into your business; doing otherwise will stifle your growth.
Whether it is by investing in hiring the right people, or by paying for valuable information that can transform your business, or by investing into improving your products and offers to better serve your users, business success often hinges on money.
Smart businesses can easily survive on low cash, and having excess cash has been the downfall of a lot of businesses; however, you have to invest at some point.
Rule #4: Surround Yourself With the Right People
When Jim Rohn said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with“, he wasn’t joking.
In business, there’s very little you can do on your own; you need others to move forward.
Whether it is in form of partners, employees, advisers, mentors, etc. you need to make sure you’re constantly surrounded by the right people.
This will ensure you have access to the resources, networks, advice, information and encouragement needed to succeed.
The same applies when it comes to what you read; instead of reading negative and profane content tearing you down and telling you that the world is better off without your business, focus on reading inspiring and practical content that will encourage you and give you practical information that will propel you to success.
Rule #5: Be on a Never Ending Quest to Learn
You’ve heard it before that knowledge is power.
As a business owner, nothing can be truer.
Late last year, through one of the newsletters I subscribed to, I learned a strategy that has resulted in over 1,500 additional subscribers for me in a little over 2 months; this knowledge will most certainly make me at least tens of thousands of dollars in the future, I’m sure it will help me make much more than that.
The more I am into business, the more I realize I know nothing; sometimes, what I believe to be a rule will be fundamentally challenged, and my new-found knowledge will result in significant income boost.
The moment you start becoming close-minded is the moment your business starts to die.
Buy quality business books, courses, tapes and anything that can help you succeed in your quest to learn. Hire a reputable business coach and attend business masterminds if it comes to that, and be sure to constantly learn from your favorite business blogs. This will help you succeed more in business.
Rule #6: Visualize
However, building your business based on this model doesn’t rule out planning the future of your business.
Make sure you know where your future is, how you plan to get there and what it will take; this doesn’t necessarily mean you should have a rigid business plan, but it’ll help most of the time to have a plan mapped out.
Rule #7: Be an Executioner
Now, I’m not saying you should start chopping people’s head off!
The “executioner” I’m referring to is one who executes; one who gets new ideas, learns new things and executes them as soon as possible.
The world is full of people with great business ideas, but it doesn’t matter a bit if you fail to execute.
When you get a business idea that you’re certain would yield results for you, execute as soon as possible. When you learn a new marketing strategy that will result in more sales for you, execute it ASAP. When you learn new conversion tactics that might help you maximize results from your business, execute immediately.
Rule #8: Market. Sell.
Many businesses fail not for lack of great ideas, but because they suck at selling or promoting themselves.
A lot of business owners are afraid to sell, which is strange considering that you’re running a business.
In fact, this is one of the most important business rules you should never forget.
Most of the greatest businesses in the world are great not just because they have great products and offer value, but because they are very good at marketing themselves.
So, learn marketing; make it one of your specialties, and work on constantly improving your ability to sell and persuade people to do business with you.
Rule #9: Be Tenacious
Research has shown that 50% of businesses fail within the first 5 years of being started.
More likely than not, your first attempt at business will fail, or almost fail depending on you.
Building a business is not easy; you’re competing against thousands, possibly millions of people, and there are a lot of unique challenges you have to overcome.
You shouldn’t give up though, for as long as you believe in your business idea; no matter what, keep plugging at it and be persistently determined to succeed.
Coca Cola reportedly sold an average of just 9 bottles a day in its first year. The owner never gave up, though, and besides being the most valuable brand in the world today, Coca Cola now reportedly sells 1.9 billion servings every day.
Rule #10: Don’t Be Too Rigid
We see it every day, especially with the increasing proliferation of technology. Businesses that were once industry giants are now running on debt, because they failed to be flexible.
Perhaps the deadliest mistake you can make when you run a business is being too rigid; even if you break all the other rules on this page, you must never break this rule.
Carefully observe to see what is working and what isn’t, and always be ready to adapt your business model and make changes when necessary.
So the above are 10 really valuable business rules you should live by. Only break them at your own peril.