There Is No Shortcut to Success…
Sorry to disappoint you with that news. One of the common mistakes I see people make in the world of home business is a never ending quest for the “easy button” that will create a magical shortcut to success. Sadly I also watch most of those individuals crash and burn time and time again.
Today I was on Facebook when I came across this great Q & A post with Sir Richard Branson from Entrepreneur Magazine. I wanted to share this with you.
Richard Branson: ‘There’s No Shortcut or Magic Recipe to Success’
Original article – http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235955
Q: Are there any quick ways to succeed in business without spending a huge amount of money on marketing? — Geraldo Kandonga Fillipus, Geraldo Financial Solutions, Namibia
Unfortunately there’s no shortcut or magic recipe to success — or if there is, I haven’t found it yet. Creating a successful and profitable business takes time, since you build your reputation as customers learn to trust and rely on you, one by one.
Also, there’s no guarantee that spending a huge amount of money on marketing will slingshot your business forward. If you spend your time looking for shortcuts, you will find one — right out of business.
While there are no set rules for succeeding in business, over my 40 years as an entrepreneur I have embraced some rough guidelines that can be very helpful:
1. CREATE A USEFUL PRODUCT OR SERVICE
Above all else, you should not go into business purely for financial reasons. Running a company involves long hours and hard decisions; if you don’t have a better reason than money to keep going, your business will more than likely fail, as many new businesses do.
So it’s important to create something of use that is going to benefit society as a whole. If you do something you truly care about, you will be in a much better position to find customers, connect with them, and keep them coming back.
Once you have decided on the type of product or service that interests you, focus on how to do things differently from the competition: Do your research, find a gap or an area ripe for innovation, and position your business in a way that sets it apart.
2. SIMPLIFY YOUR MESSAGE
Customers don’t just shop for a brand and its products, but also identify with its core values. Ask yourself, why did I start my business? Be honest — this will help you establish an authentic value and voice. Then distill your message into something simple.
At Virgin, we stand for great customer service, good value and innovative alternatives to our competitors’ offerings. Most importantly, we view business as a force for good. Knowing who we are and what we stand for ensures that we don’t waste time or money on messaging that doesn’t represent us or resonate with our customers.
3. MARKET YOURSELF
Marketing is a powerful tool, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. Mymentor, Sir Freddie Laker, a man who had started a company to challenge British Airways on their home turf, gave me some invaluable advice when I was starting up Virgin Atlantic Airways. Knowing that we couldn’t match the more established airlines in terms of marketing budget, he encouraged me to drive the publicity myself: “Use yourself. Make a fool of yourself. Otherwise you won’t survive.”
I took his advice and I’ve been thinking up fun ways to stand out from the crowd and draw the media’s attention to our company ever since, from breaking world records to pulling pranks.
While I’ve always been interested in sports and physical challenges, that might not be the route for you. Find your tone, know your brand, do things your own way, and create waves. The free advertising will follow.
4. EMBRACE SOCIAL MEDIA
Tools like Twitter and Facebook are wonderful ways to get your message out to a wide audience. Social media is not only more cost-efficient than advertising, but it also offers great opportunities for innovative engagement with your customers. Use it to your advantage.
Remember that there is a difference between selling and marketing. In my experience, selling a product through social media doesn’t work — it’s better to simply communicate with your customers in an authentic way and have fun. As you build an online profile that people can identify with and trust, you’ll find that they will soon become customers.
The feedback you receive on social media can be invaluable, especially when your business is just starting out. Listen to your customers’ comments about your company’s offerings to gain an understanding of what you are doing right and wrong. You can also use this feedback to sharpen your social campaigns and measure the effectiveness of your calls to action.
5. KEEP ON ENJOYING WHAT YOU DO
If you genuinely love and believe in what you do, others will take notice and share your enthusiasm. Geraldo, in your case, this might prompt people to take out a loan with your company instead of another provider, or encourage them to recommend your company to a friend.
If you find your interest flagging, it’s time to make a change — switch from operations to management, move on, expand into new territories, anything that interests you. To find success, you need to be fully committed or your work will show it.
Branson’s advice is spot on. There are no magic pills or formulas that shortcut the process of solid fundamentals executed consistently over an extended period of time.
A structure is only as good as the foundation it is built upon. A business is no different. Without a solid foundation of sound fundamentals the business will not withstand the highs and lows of the process.
Deadly Shortcut Traps To Avoid
As Sir Richard Branson discussed in his Q & A, there are no magic formulas or shortcuts to look for. By the same token there are shortcut traps that are guaranteed to produce negative outcomes in your life and business.
Marc Chernoff recently detailed 7 shortcuts that always lead to regret on his blog.
The most effective way to handle what must be done is to do it. Put in the required labor. Don’t sell yourself short by taking shortcuts like these:
1. Taking the easiest route possible.
Someday you will look back on your life and realize that everything worthwhile you’ve ever accomplished initially challenged you. And that is as it should be, because big challenges often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary success.
Every struggle arises for a reason – for experience or a lesson. A great journey is never easy, and no dose of adversity along the way is ever a waste of time if you learn and grow from it.
Remember, an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards, and such is life. When life is pulling you back with difficulties, it means it’s going to eventually launch you forward in a positive direction. So keep focusing, and keep aiming!
2. Settling for the way things are by default.
The decision to settle for mediocrity is a real killer. If you settle for just anything, you’ll never know what you’re truly worthy of. There is ample time for you to be who you want to be. Despite the struggles that you might be facing, never give up on yourself. Don’t just take the easy way out and settle for less than what you know you are capable of.
Realize that it’s not always about trying to fix something that’s broken either. Sometimes it’s about starting over and creating something new. Sometimes you need to distance yourself to see things clearly. Sometimes growing stronger means growing apart from old habits, relationships, and situations, and finding something different that truly moves you – something that gets you so excited you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. That’s what LIVING is all about. Don’t settle. (Angel and I cover this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
3. Leaving everything to chance.
It’s not what you do every once in a while, but what you dedicate yourself to on a daily basis that makes a difference in the end. Having a plan, even a flawed one at first, is better than no plan at all.
Don’t trap yourself, endlessly, in a state where you are unable to ask for directions, even though you’re terribly lost, simply because you don’t know your destination. Figure out what you want. When you get real about the true feelings you crave, you end up surprising yourself with an abundance of new opportunities and possibilities.
Bottom line: One day your life will flash before your eyes. Do your best every day to make sure it’s worth watching. Work towards something that brings meaning to your moments.
4. Following the crowd.
Allen Ginsberg once said, “Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” In other words, in this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to be your incredible self.
Never let what other people expect from you dictate what you expect from yourself. Clarity about your true desires is so liberating because you get to stop proving yourself to everyone, including yourself.
We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own way, and we will never be happy if we live someone else’s idea of life. So stop being ashamed of how you feel. You have the right to feel any emotion that comes to you, and to follow a path that makes you happy. Don’t compare yourself to others, or get discouraged by the success of others. Follow your intuition, never give up on yourself, and stop expecting others to understand your journey, especially if they have not walked your same path. (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
5. Putting things off.
Be frank with yourself. The things you say you will deal with later rarely get done. It’s time to get up and make an immediate difference in your life. You know all those things you’ve been meaning to get done for the past month, year, etc.? Pick one right now and start doing it. Get your hands dirty, challenge your mind, and get sweaty if you have to. Break out of your comforting lull and get involved. If you feel crummy, it’ll make you feel better. If you already feel good, it will make you feel great.
Ultimately, you will not be judged by what you say; you will be judged by what you do. Wake up each morning determined, so you can go to bed satisfied. Have the courage and discipline today to do what is needed instead of simply what is convenient. Or as Pablo Picasso once said, “Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
6. Ignoring people instead of forgiving them.
Forgetting people who hurt you is your gift to them; forgiving people who hurt you is your gift to yourself. Always forgive others, not because they necessarily deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace of mind. We are all one, so when we forgive others we forgive ourselves, which is the first step in the healing process. Without forgiveness, the potential for true happiness in your life is limited.
In addition, we often tell ourselves that we’re better off without some people in our lives, and while this can be true, you should also build forgiveness into your character. Keep in mind that some relationships will temporarily split, only to come back together twice as strong as before. Forgiveness alone makes this possible. (Read The Mastery of Love.)
7. Cutting too many corners with your important relationships.
It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return, but what hurts even more is to love someone and never find the time to let them know how you feel. There is no greater sadness than holding on to the loving words and deeds you never delivered to those you love.
The people you take for granted today may turn out to be the only ones you need tomorrow. So make plenty of time for those who truly matter. The best gift you can give them is the purity of your full attention. Just be present with them and pay attention to the little things, because when you really miss someone, you miss the little things the most, like just laughing together.
Original Article: 7 Shortcuts You Will Regret Taking In Life – http://www.marcandangel.com/2013/10/13/7-shortcuts-you-will-regret-taking-in-life/
Your dreams are much too important to trade them off for foolish shortcuts or a wake of damaged relationships. Make the commitment to push forward day by day for as long as it takes to see your dreams become reality.
One of the greatest keys I have found to staying on course over an extended period of time, is simply to surround myself with other visionary entrepreneurs who are as equally committed to their businesses as you are to yours.
Click the button below to learn more about the entrepreneurial community I have chosen to surround myself with.