BUILD A BUSINESS MIND
How to develop the right mindset to make your business grow
The fortune 500!!
Forbes global 2000!!!
The fortune 500 and Forbes Global 2000 are two of the most prestigious publications in existence in the business world. Along with the now-discontinued Forbes 500, they represent the pinnacle of business achievement for a business or brand. They are the golden dreams for each business owner and the ultimate proof of business growth. To be listed among the top five hundred or two thousand businesses in the world takes some achievement and growth though. In fact, it takes some serious growth to see your business up there and most of the slots there are reserved for large, multi-owner corporations.
Yet, each of these corporations started out as just an idea too. Each entrant on the lists was once just an unformed thought in somebody else's mind. How do they make the journey from thought to business to an entry on these prestigious lists? How did the founders of these businesses give it room to germinate and grow into the behemoth that each one of these businesses is? Or more importantly, how can you give your own business the same conditions and boosts they gave their own businesses? How can you also prepare your business for the kind of growth they recorded?
The answers to these questions are why I wrote this book. Many businesses never make the journey from idea to actual business or company; of those that do, a large majority die off at the initial stage. Out of those that survive this initial stage, only very few actually grow to become Forbes or Fortune's potential entries. And this is all down to the owners and the kind of mindset they have. Between those businesses that die off and those at the very apex of the ladder lies the greatest majority of businesses and the most common denominator among the hordes of businesses in this category is business stagnation.
Most businesses after recording initial success just remain there; not moving and rooted to a spot. In fact, let me correct a wrong notion. There's no such thing as business stagnation. If your business is not moving, do not be tempted to think it has stagnated in one spot; it is only gathering enough negative energy to launch backwards and gain negative progression. It is a sitting duck simply waiting for unfavorable circumstances to ignite the inevitable crisis that will propel it backwards into a backward spiral.
How can you escape this so-called stagnation? How can you give your business the wings it needs to fly? What can you do to ensure that your business is on the average, always on an upward curve? What do big business players like Elon Musk, Jack Ma, Bill Gates, Robert Branson, Donald Trump, and Carlos Slim Hlelu have in spades that the average business owner does not? How can you develop their instinct? This is the focus of this book.
There is a mental blueprint optimal for the growth of your business and you need to possess the right mindset, a big-business mindset, for your business to grow. It may not necessarily grow in leaps and bounds all the time, but at least, you can ensure that your business is forever experiencing some modicum of positive growth at all the time. I will demystify this mindset and attempt to teach you to build yours. As always though, you need to put what you will learn in this book to active practice to enjoy its benefits. Good luck.
CHAPTER 1; WHY YOU NEED THE RIGHT MINDSET FOR YOUR BUSINESS
What is the big-business mindset? Why do you need it and how can you develop it? This is the greatest essence of this book. Before I define what the big-business mindset is though, we must try to start from the other side; the small-business mindset. What is the small-business mindset?
Let me try to illustrate with a question. If Elon Musk or Richard Branson were to donate all his assets to charity, shun his contacts and business links, and start all over as another aspiring business owner with say a hundred thousand dollars. And you were given this same idea and the same hundred thousand dollars, who do you think would have the larger business in half-a-decade? All other factors considered, you would agree with me that the chances are higher that Musk or Branson would perform better than ninety percent of the average business owner. Do you agree with me? Why is that so?
It is not just because Elon Musk has great business acumen; it is simply because most business owners actually lack the right mental characteristics to dredge his way through business waters. As opposed to the truly successful businessmen who actually possess the right blend of mental attributes to succeed. The problem of most people running a business is fear; they are scared of both success and failure.
In a way, it is rational for you to fear some failure while on an endeavor. However, to become very successful, you do not have this luxury. The fear of failure gives a lot of people a flimsy excuse for not trying hard enough to move their enterprise to the next level. Many people are rooted to a single rung on the ladder because they fear the negative effects of trying and failing to move to the next step. For this reason, they fail to make the kind of concerted effort they would otherwise have made. They fail to put the kind of input that has brought them up to where they currently are. Consequently, they stagnate and fail to grow.
On the other hand and even more surprising to the ears, your business may be stagnating because you are equally scared of success. This one is a psychological reaction and most people are unaware of this fear because it steams just underneath a unconscious level. Being successful comes with a lot of trappings and responsibilities. Actually, being successful and famous heaps on more mental pressure on you than struggling to make it. On a subconscious level, many people are scared of the responsibilities of becoming successful and the continuous fight to grow.
Therefore, by will or design, they stop growing the moment they get to a zone they are comfortable with and refuse to venture out of their comfort zone. This is how most small business owners think and this is the small-business mindset syndrome. It is why you have been unable to break through that glass ceiling you have superimposed upon your thoughts. It is why even with the greatest ideas, most businesses never grow beyond a plateau. In due course, they get used to their comfort zone and are simply unable to grow beyond it. Now, let's take a look at how the giants of the business world think and act.
How successful businessmen think
Truly successful businessmen are a rare commodity. Not every successful businessman today can even lay claims to having understood the business world entirely. Some were lucky recipients of some extraordinarily good fortune and luck. Not even every successful businessman today will remain successful tomorrow. This is because not every one of them has mastered the art of navigating their own thoughts. Yet, within the treacherous waters of business exists a caste of men who have the right mindset; the big-business mindset.
This is the mindset you need to subscribe to experience unlimited business growth, unfettered by a mind devoid of reluctance or insecurity. Your business is going to mirror your state of mind; your business cannot grow faster than your mind and your thoughts forever define the limits your business can grow to.
The successful ones do not view growth as the latent threat you see it as. They do not worry about expanding too rapidly. Rather, they are more wary of growing too slowly that they lose momentum. This is the basis of the big-business mindset. Successful businessmen are forever looking into the present, but as a springboard for success tomorrow rather than as a checklist for previous mistakes and current fears. It is not to say they are rash risk-takers, they simply cherish success more than the fears of failure. Their love and desire for success is simply more than their fear of failure.
This is what the most successful people know and practice that others do not. This is the simple truth behind even the biggest corporations in the world. It is the truth from which Coca-cola, Daimler AG, Versace and Microsoft grew from. It is the bedrock you need to build your own business upon; the fuel that can propel your business towards interminable growth.
CHAPTER TWO; CHANGING YOUR MINDSET
How can you acquire this big business mindset that I have been talking about? Getting that mindset is not open-sesame. It is not entirely the easiest thing to do. It takes conscious and rational effort to build such a winning mentality. It takes due practice and careful diligence to host such a great mindset within you. To change your mindset requires changing your thoughts and the way you view everything from opportunities, to challenges and risks.
It is not easy to change to this mindset because it is human nature to seek safety first. By nature, humans are risk-averse. It is easier to take the safer option than even the easier option. When we are faced with two options, unless you have trained yourself to be insightful, the innermost voice within our mind is always going to push us towards what looks like the safer option; the option that does not put you in the danger of failing. Therefore, we always grasp for the safer handles in life.
Take for instance, if you have the chance to break into new markets but you might need to take out a business loan. Provided the typical businessman is not a hundred percent sure that he is taking very little risk, he is going to plop for the safer familiarity of his current market and the lower revenue he is generating.
On the other hand, with a changed mindset, you will begin to see that there is a much easier way of dealing with risks and such unsure circumstances. However, the most important thing is that you are now willing to take the chance to change your mindset, and take control of your own business fortunes.
Developing the right habits
It was famous bestseller, Brian Tracy, who said; “Successful people are simply those with successful habits” and judging by his insight, it is no surprise to find out that successful people mostly share the same sorts of habits. The most important to note among the habits of the most successful businesspeople is that their habits are focused generally on being very productive. It is why some of them are designed and marked as being over-busy.
It is not as if they are too busy, they are simply in control of their time, life and actions. They simply build the kind of habits that allow them maximize their potentials. In fact, we will look better at the concepts of controlling your time better in a subsequent chapter. Do you still doubt that your habits are the first things you need to change? Allow the words of William Makepeace Thackeray clarify your doubts; “Successful people aren't born that way. They become successful by establishing the habit of doing things unsuccessful people don't like to do.”
Look critically at the lives and stories of the greatest business minds the world has ever seen, the Edisons, Disneys and Fords of this world; you will instantly discover a particular thread running through all their lives. They were all men (and women) of decided routine. They formed their success upon a bedrock of productive habits that built up their mental and personal readiness to achieve. It is not necessarily only the big habits and personality traits that decide how successful you are going to be; even the little things, how much sleep you get, how well you prepare for the day ahead, whether you wear a smile or not and your ability to show gratitude, also play a big, big part in the level of success you are going to achieve.
Be innovative and ready for change
When we do the same things every time and get a particular result, we soon get comfortable with the expected results that we begin to settle down with them-even if not the results are not exactly the best we could get from the same circumstances. In truth, human nature is resistant to change and this is the main reason why you need to shed off the kind of mentality the average businessman is equipped with and embrace a better thinking and mental process.
It has oft been repeated that innovation is the soul of business and no words could be truer. The world itself is never static-the dimensions and opinions of the people living within it are subject to frequent change. Therefore, the needs and perceptions of businesses and products are forever changing. As the perceptions change, so do the solutions different businesses attempt to offer to settle the wide and increasing gap. As needs change, so do the approaches businesses adopt to meet the expanding market. Within this seeming chaos, it is easy for your business to stand still and get swept away by the winds of change. Technological advancements can even render your business ideas and products unneeded. For example, with the quality of the cameras on smartphones, the Smartphone market has continued to cut into huge swathes of the market once dominated by camera-manufacturing companies and subsidiary industries that depended on them. If for instance you fail to adjust to such momentous market shifts or you jump on the wagon of change too late, you may find your business holding the short end of the pipe.
As a businessman, consistency is key but possessing the ability to adapt and change approach as dictated by the circumstances and market you are serving is just as critical. Consistency will ensure that you have more long-term customers who are satisfied with the quality you offer them each time but without being able to adapt and change your services and products to suit their taste, you won't have them for too long.
Do not turn to the inflexible behemoth in your niche. Do not be that example of a rigid business unable to envisage and plan ahead of the market. When market trends seem to be changing, almost every businessman senses this. However, most chicken out and fail to react appropriately. Instead of studying and decoding how they may shift their position to tap into the incredible potentials that every single trend brings, most simply sit on the fence waiting to see just how the storm is going to pan out. Most times, the storm knocks them off their perch and sweeps them along with the flood waters.
However, the few business-smart entrepreneurs always view trends with welcome hands. They view the changes as an opportunity to turn their business in an even better direction. Do not get me wrong, I am not asking you to leap before you look but you must be ready to leap. You cannot weigh yourself down with the fear of what changing might mean. You cannot scare away success by dreading its imminent arrival. You need to be ready to change your approach, services, structure and product in accordance with what the market seems to be demanding.
Market demand is key for your business and you must not only be on the lookout for changes in market trends, you must have it at the back of your mind that if the market should ask you to change any part of your business model, you are going to be ready to change. It is of high importance for you to have this as part of your mindset; many businesses who die out because they lost grasp of market economics do so because of leaders who thought it impossible to change some aspect of their operations or the other.
The powers of perseverance
Perseverance is knocking a thousand doors, receiving a thousand rejections and yet refusing to give up on a business idea and that's exactly what Colonel Harald Sanders of the KFC fame did. He was just another ex-serviceman living on a paltry pension; when he received a check of 105 dollars as his monthly pension, Colonel Sanders decided to try his hand out at something he hadn't tried before; business. At the age of sixty-five, he set out as a novice and first-timer in the business world. He hadn't been trained in the basics of what to expect but he had two things in his corner; a good idea and a non-diminishing well of perseverance and resolve.
Armed with a recipe for fried chicken which he had perfected on his own, he struck out attempting to find people interested enough to invest in his idea of starting a franchise. Yet, this aged individual suffered 1,008 rejections before a single person showed sufficient enough interest in his idea. You read that right!!! One thousand and eight attempts at trying to sell the same thing to entrepreneurs who seemed to have no interest in his offerings. What do you think carried him along during these trying times? What was the armor that prevented him from getting run over by desolation and frustration? Was it because his idea or recipe was so good that he felt unable to quit? The answer to all these questions is “NO”.
He didn't run off during the waiting period simply because he knew one basic truth; sometimes, you have to knock over and over before the doors of success are opened. This was why the Colonel slugged it out and ended up forming the bedrock of one of the most recognizable brands on Planet Earth; Kentucky fried Chicken (KFC). The Colonel is also immortalized in the logo of the brand he created. Such is testament to the powers of being able to hold on, when conditions do not favor your business.
Let us be sincere. Every business will face some adversities. You are definitely going to run into bumps and potholes along your path. You are going to experience a cash crunch, negative growth, reduced revenue and interrupted supply lines. How you choose to react to them is going to be crucial. You can either decide to fold your hands in submission and lose all hope of recovery. You can choose to allow rejection become permanent. You can decide to allow circumstances overwhelm your positivity and challenges overcome the advantages in your corner. You can allow the winds of setbacks blow you around eventually blow you apart.
Or you could instead choose to remain resolute and unshakable in resolve. You could decide to withstand and cope with whatever fate throws at you. You could decide to be just like the Oprahs and Ambanis of the world. Instead of sitting waiting for the storm to pass, you could make a sail and learn to ride with the high winds. You could begin to plot for life after the storm and plot out survival strategies. That is what the big businesses do. They never allow themselves get broken by tough times. They may get bowed but do not get broken by difficulties in the course of operation. Instead, as surely as the sky is high up, every problem has a solution. Work on the solution, persevere while you wait for positive change and do not ever allow the thoughts of relenting or quitting pop up within your mind. When you make quitting an option, you become more and more aware of it until it suddenly becomes the only choice you seem to have. Successful people do not quit; you cannot quit either.
CHAPTER THREE; SETTING UP YOUR BUSINESS TO GROW
This chapter deals with how changing your mindset can affect the way you set up your business. From the moment you begin to adopt a new mindset, you must work on implementing your new principles on each facet of your business. From the initial stages, you either set up your business with the right kind of props that can make it grow and soar high above even your expectations or set it up to fail or stagnate after initial success. What are the mindset changes you need to successfully set up your business to grow?
Develop a clear goal
Not planning out your destination or taking each day haphazardly is a rookie's mistake. There is no way for you to make great progress if you don't know your destination or your path to success. It is why businesses have mission and vision statements. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the time, they remain just statements, beautiful adornments to be shouted only at general meetings. Actually though, your vision and goal should be clear enough for you to see. You should know exactly what you wish to achieve in the long and short term. You should have a definition for what you consider success and a concise way of measuring it.
Your vision statement should be loaded with a great incentive to spur you on to further excellence. You should be able to craft a personal statement too detailing your goals and targets. Having just clear goals will not be enough too. You also need a detailed plan complete with milestones, targets and contingency alternatives. Remember, he who fails to plan has planned to fail.
Risk-taking; folly or genius?
This is perhaps the greatest difference between perennially successful and average businessmen. We view risks differently. To the greater percentage of people, taking risks is dangerous. It is risky and you have absolutely no idea what might happen. You cannot even control events that might unfold after you take the plunge, and because of this, you decide not to take the risk to grow or bust.
To the successful businessman though, he doesn't think of risks in these terms. He merely sees them as a stepping stone to greater awareness and opportunities. For, hiding within each risk is a golden chance to make it big-time. You only need to see beyond the recurring thoughts of the dangers of failing. Life itself is chance and when you have the choice of potentially choosing what may happen to you, then, I see no reason why you should run off from this opportunity.
As Winfrey Oprah said;”I think the greatest risk in life is daring not to take risks.” To become extraordinarily successful, you need to do more than the ordinary that everybody else is doing. You need to do the extra to be different.
I am not advocating for recklessness. Instead, the funny fact is that actually, successful entrepreneurs hardly take a wild guess. They take out what we call informed guesses. They tap into the powers of knowledge and base their decisions around the knowledge they have gathered. This knowledge is often available to everybody but only a few take out the pains to access it. Make yourself into a bastion of information and you will be surprised by the clearer perspective you are going to get. It will no longer be a wild guess for you; it would be a coolly calculated punt.
Leverage, the greatest tool in business
Machines make work easier and faster. With the right tools, you can do much more work within a shorter period of time. And that is what leverage is all about. Leverage refers to your ability to use other people's money, time, skills or strengths to achieve more than what you can pull on your own. Leveraging ensures that you are not taxed to your limit and you have enough freedom to recharge you batteries. Of course, you offer something in return, cash or kind to help persuade the other party to lend you his strengths.
For example, if you need a hundred thousand dollars as capital but you are unwilling to commit such expenditure without iron-clad guarantee of success, you do not need to abandon your idea just yet. Why not seek for ten other investors willing to contribute ten thousand dollars each to make the hundred you need, probably in exchange for some stock in the business while you retain overall control. That way, the risk is shared among the ten of you and even failing will not impact you too massively. The rich know this. They use other people's money, skills and time to reduce the risks they need to take. You need to learn that too; it gives you the strength and skills of multiple people instead of just your own. You only have your own strengths to tap from but your strength has a finite limit. With leverage, you can expand the limits of your abilities and pool the strength of other people with yours.
Effective communication and marketing
You may change your mindset for all it is worth and still fail in your business if you are not on the same wavelength with every other person involved in your structure. Remember, you want to change the overall direction of your business and changing your mindset is only just the beginning. Effective communication must flow between your thoughts and actions, between you and your subordinates and between you and prospective clients/customers. If for any reason, there is a breach, the disconnect spreads rapidly. It hampers the ability of your business to respond. It is like having a large elephant whose nerves have been disabled trying to turn around in a spot. Always be clear about exactly what you want.
The same thing goes for marketing. Until you can effectively communicate what exactly your business does specially for clients, you are going to remain stagnant. Until you can show everybody a very cogent reason to patronize you, yours will be just another business attempting to stay afloat..
CHAPTER FOUR; HOW TO BUILD ON INITIAL SUCCESS
Initial success is not the ultimate goal. In fact, many of the biggest businesses started today started off as failures. Henry Ford, probably the greatest automobile entrepreneur ever went bankrupt twice before he achieved any success at all. Twice, he created companies to market and sell his automobiles and both times, his business tanked. It was only with his third company that he eventually made any progress.
Many businesses with great ideas experience an initial positive upsurge, then, things just seem to taper off. Inevitably, growth then begins to trend in the negative direction. Therefore, this book will be incomplete if we make no mention of how your newfound mindset can help you build upon whatever initial success you record and ensure that initial progress is never reversed.
We have mentioned this before under perseverance but the importance of your reaction to setbacks cannot be overstated. Too many businesses go down because the lead man does not know how to handle rejections. An experienced salesman will tell you that rejections always occur. You will spend time to do astounding research and craft a great business pitch. Yet, you may still get rejected. This is not your cue for turning inwards and going on an inner mental rampage. That would only ensure you approach your next proposal or pitch with even less confidence and lower your chances of success.
Instead, a rejection simply means “convince me better and further”. It means try me again some other time. It means “I don't need this now”. It may even mean “No, I have already pitched my tent with your rival” but a rejection has never meant “You are terrible and will never succeed in convincing me”. If this is the case, why should you ever get worried when you get rejected? It only means, go back home, and try this again.
Manage your time
Time is the most volatile commodity in life. If not properly managed, we can lose its thread and suffer from wasted efforts and reduced productivity. That is why you need a routine that adequately structures your day for you. You need to have a plan for spending your time; do not just plunge into the day without dividing your time among the tasks you need to complete that day. Dividing your time effectively means you will know exactly what you should be doing at every minute of the day. It means you can cut out on time-wasting acts that do not add value to you. It means you can focus and channel your mental energy better towards having a great day. Automatically, this will boost your productivity and your business will enjoy the laser-guided diligence with which you work at it. We either manage our time or risk wasting it.
Have a system not a structure
Both “structure” and “system” may sound close enough as to be considered synonyms but there is a difference in business. Each business has a system, a logical flowchart of carrying out their objectives and tasks, with each member of the team knowing exactly what he needs to do. However, a lot of businesses take it up a notch and turn their system into a structure. Everybody, so to speak, has a unique function he contributes to the overall process and cannot be replaced or shoehorned into another. Each part of the whole business functions like an individual equipment, instead of being a part of the overall machinery of the business.
It is important that you actually learn to discern when your system is turning into a rigid, compartmentalized structure. You need to retain your business as a system; an interface of smoothly-networking parts, with each part acutely aware of what the others are up to. That will discourage disinterest and conflict of approach. It will give you the united front you need to breach through the barriers in front of you.
The middle third is where the vast majority of businesses remain. They are neither growing upwards nor sliding backwards especially. They are simply stuck in a loop of stagnation. Unfortunately, a lot of business owners opt for the relative “safety” of this zone. They remain in this zone for far too long, too scared to take the growth that is rightfully theirs and scared of going backwards when circumstances change. Yet, that's exactly what happens. When you are not moving forward, the chances are quite bright that you will soon bowl over when adverse circumstances come calling as they will.
Instead of being sitting ducks though, the finest business minds in the world have learnt to be proactive, to always be on the lookout for positive growth. Positive growth starts from your own mindset though. Your business cannot grow if your mind is not ready to accept growth. It matters not if you have unlimited capital and a reservoir of great ideas. If you do not have the right mindset, your business growth will eventually reach a plateau and taper off. When this happens, negative growth is usually the next order of action.
To prevent this, and reach out beyond your potentials, you need to develop the right mindset. You need to be ready to accept change as it is a prerequisite for growth. You need to leave your mind fertile for new ideas and make your resolve strong enough to overwhelm whatever challenges you face. It is the blueprint for success; the tested and trusted manual for learning how to grow. You have that in your hands now. It is solely your choice to either choose to remain stagnant and “degrow”. Or you could get out there today, and start laying the blocks for building monumental success. You need to grow now!!!
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