Want business success? Follow the path of others

If we fail to implement best practices, the results are going to be predictably unhappy

David FullerThere’s a certain adrenaline rush you get when you go over the handlebars of your bike and are flying through the air, as I did recently.

That thrill (and pain) is hard to replicate except maybe by riding bulls or broncos at a rodeo.

The result, however, is certainty predictable: you’re going to hit the ground.

Thrills and predictable results in business are similar to sports.

A couple months ago, I ran into a fellow who told me he was getting tired of running his business because, as he said, he had lost “the thrill of the deal.”

Business can be exciting and exhilarating when we have clarity about our purpose, are energized by serving our clients, when we’re getting results and when we’re surrounded by a great team of people.

Take away any of those conditions and the result is predictable 90 per cent of the time. Stress starts to build in the organization and over time, as leaders, we become tired, disillusioned and discouraged. We lose the thrill.


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Just last week, a guru in the construction industry told me the secret of his “overnight success” that took 20 years was the consistency of his marketing. This really struck home when another business owner in a similar industry told me he had been marketing for three months and was tired of not getting results.

If we want predictable results in business, we need to have a clear proven plan that we follow week after week, month after month, year after year. We may want to adjust the plan to account for changes in technology or environmental factors, but it’s the consistency that matters.

There’s a saying that “Success leaves a trail.” We don’t need to reinvent the wheel to be successful. We simply need to look to others who have gone before us and follow their path.

Whether we’re planting a garden, raising kids or pets, playing sports, or running a business, there are certain best practices that get predictable results 95 per cent of the time. There are systems that, when implemented, ensure positive outcomes.

In gardening it might be: Don’t plant before the last full moon of a certain month. If your garden is dry, add water. Put a fence up to keep out foragers.

These might seem like common sense if you’re a gardener. But if you’re not a gardener, you might not have a clue if someone didn’t tell you.

Unfortunately, many business leaders think they know it all. We believe we can manage people, run our finances and be a whiz at marketing the day we open our business or take our leadership position.

But if we fail to implement best practices, the results are going to be fairly predictable.

There’s a reason 30 per cent of businesses never make money and another 30 per cent are only marginally profitable. The owners haven’t followed the clues left by those who have been successful before them.

If you want to be successful in your business, start rubbing shoulders with those who are the most successful in your industry. Find out what they’re doing that really works. Read their books, follow their blogs and talk to them to pick their brains. Then do what they did and you will probably get similar results.

If you’re into mountain biking, leadership or business long enough, you’re going to have bruises, make costly mistakes and have brushes with failure (and maybe even brushes with death). It’s all part of the thrill of the game.

If you stick with it long enough, you might even have some good stories to tell your grandchildren and some clues to pass on to them so they can be successful as well.

Troy Media columnist David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself Healthy. Hurting from your fall? Email dave@profityourselfhealthy.com

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