If your thoughts are primarily fear based, if you’re envisioning the worst for yourself and your business, if your conversations are focused predominately on bad news, then you’re seriously impeding your own success. Stop being your own worst enemy! Instead of giving succor to all the negative blathering, buckle down and determine to take 3 actions every single day to improve revenue.
Discipline, metrics, and prospecting: a new series
In this three part series, you’ll get specific suggestions you can implement immediately to begin to enhance your business success. The tips are grouped into three categories: discipline, metrics, and prospecting.
6 essentials for the disciplined entrepreneur
To start us off today will be six essential disciplines applied by successful entrepreneurs.
1. Be fully absorbed in creating new business.
Don’t you dare pick up that phone, go to Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn during work hours unless it’s to generate business.
Be ruthlessly disciplined about generating revenue as job one. Any activity that doesn’t secure new business should be delegated or done during non-business hours. Prioritize everything else around this fundamental principle. During business hours, dedicate yourself exclusively to expanding your client base or deepening business with your current clients rather than connecting with friends.
2. Invite scrutiny & tough truths.
Whose business acumen do you admire? Who is already successful in your field? Whose clientele do your products or services complement? Establish an advisory board and invite these folks to be part of it. Meet quarterly to gain their advice on your business challenges.
Advisory boards impose a level of scrutiny and accountability that both challenge and comfort, and a level of ideation and innovation that helps you expand your scope and reach.
Ensure you get unbiased, unemotional, tough truths by not including friends and loved ones on the board. Alternatively, you could treat selected individuals to a meal now and then to get their advice. Whatever the way in which you access the intellectual capital of others, be sure to thank them, act on at least one of their suggestions, and follow up with them to let them know the outcome of having implemented their advice.
(Image Kernels of Truth by Daveblog Creative Commons)
3. Don’t pander – ponder!
Showcasing your products and services too early, without taking time to probe client needs, can be insulting. Instead honor the unique needs of your client by asking probing questions. Be inquisitive about their goals, frustrations, hopes, and struggles. Then link the utility of your products and services to their specific needs.
4. Publicize to optimize.
Both credibility and sales increase as a result of publishing articles and by speaking on your area of expertise. It’s not that hard. Every time you solve a problem for a client, produce an outline of the process from start to finish. Then fill in the outline, and voila, you have an article or a speech. Multiple articles can comprise a book. Writing a book is less daunting if you write only one chapter at a time without thinking of it as a book.
5. Diversify to amplify.
Particularly important in tough economic times is that you have established multiple lines of business. Ensure your repertoire includes as many permutations of your core business as possible. For example, if you’re a consultant, you may want to ensure your service includes as many of the following as your expertise permits: business consulting, facilitation, an ever expanding menu of workshops on as many topics as you’re fluent in (both virtual and on site), surveys of as many types as you can do well, coaching (both in person and virtually), speeches, retreats, and more. You might also consider partnering with others whose offerings are complementary, and/or subcontracting to others who have skills that you don’t have.
6. Essential certifications.
Differentiate yourself from competitors by earning certifications in your field. For example, in the consulting profession, The Institute of Management Consulting (IMC USA) – an extremely prestigious group of professional consultants – confers the highly coveted Certified Management Consultant designation. The CMC demonstrates competitive distinction globally, making it much more likely that you will gain the attention of decision makers. You can find the chapter nearest you, and learn more at IMC USA.
Regardless of how many of these tips you implement, your own outlook and attitude can diminish their effectiveness.
Those who prevail in difficult times are the ones who steadfastly refuse to allow negativity to form a barrier to their success. They instead deliberately and diligently take multiple constructive actions every single day. Doing so helps sustain a positive attitude, increases resilience, and reinvigorates a commitment to success and your business.
I look forward to discussing more core ideas and steps to take in building your business revenue throughout this series.
So which of these tips resonate with you? How would you expand this list?
Guest contributor Francie Dalton, CMC, is founder and president of Dalton Alliances, Inc. and author of the recently published book Versatility. Her Washington, DC based consultancy helps the C-Suite solve business nightmares. Francie equips clients to deal with what they didn’t see coming (and shows them there’s always another way to win!). She welcomes a chance to meet you via Twitter or on LinkedIn.Google+