A loan. I’m just kidding, although that can be an option. What we want to look at here, however, are ways you can grow your business to its fullest potential in the shortest amount of time; strategic methods that provide the greatest rate of return for every company expenditure. The journey of success is different for everybody, and is in large part determined by the particular industry, the time and place and circumstance. But there are some things that can overcome all of those things, and the people who have them almost always rise to the top of their game: energy, industry, and a refusal to ask “how?”.
To begin with, learn to take yourself seriously. You are the greatest representative, the finest salesperson for your business; if your company is not a joke then neither are you. You want to hire the best people you can find, and you want them to be the best they can be; efficient, productive, good at what they do. Why should you expect anything different from yourself?
Your appearance and behavior speak volumes to other people, investors and customers alike. You don’t have to turn into a dignified mummy in a Brioni suit; some of us are more comfortable in Levi’s and value honesty and good humor above the quiet glare—but the truth is, both can and have worked in the past. It depends on the person behind the look. Always remember, it’s up to you to create a professional image for your brand. No one will respect you more than you do; they may respect you as much, but never more.
Secondly, don’t BS yourself. About anything. Feel free to dream and aspire, but always face up to reality, otherwise you’ll never be able to change to how you want it to be. Focus your time and energy—the one goes and never comes back, and the other dies for want of use and both are too easily sucked up by other things. Familiarize yourself with your industry, study its background, the latest innovations, current controversies and resolutions, the newest breakthroughs, evolving insurance policies. A market can literally change overnight and you have to be on top of things because if you’re not, someone else will be.
It was no accident that the first iPhone was a tremendous success. Flip phones had improved upon a product already in existence, endearing cell usage to a widespread customer base. The iPod had introduced people to the technology of Apple products and the convenience of a hand-held device for playing music. These two things set the stage for June 20, 2007, when Steve Jobs introduced his iPhone to an awe-struck public. Was it a happy coincidence, or did Steve Jobs know what he was doing? Then so should you.
The third ingredient that can make or break a business is marketing. Use every opportunity to get your name out there. You may be the best in your field but if you don’t advertise that then no one will know it. Marketing begins with customer service, because nothing is so powerful as word-of-mouth. The second most powerful weapon in the marketing world is the internet. With websites and search engines and analytical, target-based advertising, company visibility has never been easier. But because there are so many voices clamoring to be heard, you must take every possible step to ensure yours is not buried in the digital phonebook of infinity.
You might say, “I feel much better about myself – but how do I do all this?”
What I’m giving here is the power you need to build your business and more. If you forget everything else on this blog, I want to impress upon you this: never ask “how?” That word will kill a dream faster than anything else. Know what you want, know that it WILL happen, and then start moving towards it one step at a time. Tackle each hurdle as you encounter it, never lose sight of your goal, prepare yourself for the day opportunity comes, because make no mistake—it will come. It always does, to those who are ready.