After working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business owners in recent years, I’ve seen some who rise to the top while others struggle. After comparing the two groups, the patterns for success have become clear. What’s great is that those who follow the three tips below often enjoy success regardless of what tough situations life throws at them. I’ve even seen business owners who embrace these principles thrive during major economic downturns. And although these three success tips may seem counter-intuitive at first sight, try them out and see how your results change:
1. Focus outperforms diversification
Most of us have been taught that diversifying our interests offers security against loss. Upon closer examination, however, I’ve found that most often the opposite is true. For example, if your competitor is giving 100 percent toward achieving a goal and you are only giving 50 percent to try and beat them, it’s pretty obvious that you’re going to lose almost every time. When was 20 percent, 50 percent, or even 70 percent good enough to achieve at the highest level? Those are “failing” percentages in most schools. That’s why most people major in one subject—they want to focus on just one area so they can become an expert.
The same is true for your business and your finances. Security actually comes from focusing on what you do best, enjoy most, and where you put the majority of your energy. Choosing to track three, five, or even 10 projects will more than likely cause you to do those things badly. And being mediocre in many areas will never win against being truly world class in one or two areas.
2. Vision is power
When times get tough the natural tendency is to revert to survival instincts. So you stop looking to the future and only see what is immediately in front of you. The problem is that there is no power in tunnel vision. A big vision for the future inspires energy and enthusiasm. When you have a vision, your intention becomes clear and distractions fade into the background where they can’t disrupt your progress.
Dedicate a regular part of each day or each week on big-picture planning. Try to envision where you want to be in one year, five years, and 10 years. What does your business look like? How does it operate? What’s it producing? Once you have a clearer vision of where you want to be, it’s much easier to determine the steps needed to get there. And it keeps you motivated during the sometimes mundane daily activities needed to achieve your vision. Those without a big vision are easily pulled off track and can end up running in circles chasing the latest shiny object, rather than sticking with a long-term plan that inspires others.
3. A happy entrepreneur is a successful entrepreneur
What’s the number one factor I’ve seen that indicates how successful a business owner will be? It’s how happy they are. This might sound unfounded, but I’ve seen it hundreds of times. If you are passionate and excited and you share that with your customers and employees— the sky is the limit. On the other hand, if you are bringing people down with every interaction, your future is dim.
Happiness, enthusiasm, and genuine passion for what you do create energy which translates into results. When you are full of energy and excitement, you do the maximum for your team and your customers rather than just enough to get by. And maximum results are the natural byproduct. This “going the extra mile” translates into higher retention, greater repeat customer rates, more referrals, and a bigger bottom line—not to mention higher levels of fulfillment. Reconnecting with what you love about being an entrepreneur and sharing that enthusiasm is contagious in a good way.
Don’t let difficult circumstances drive you in the wrong direction. Always push forward. The path to success is harnessing your focus, vision and enthusiasm to help you achieve what you want most. Don’t let the fear of unknown factors outside of your control affect you more than necessary. Even in the toughest of times, people need the value you create. And your ability to be at your best when people need you the most will make all the difference.
This article was written by Garrett Gunderson from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.