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Three Essential Steps to Building a Successful Small Business

Dreams versus dreams realized. I note in the preface of my book that the difference, what it takes to continue to build a successful dream realized, is inspired conscious action.

Of course, that’s the beginning of the story. How to really start the journey to build a successful business, many of us know, is a little more complicated than that. What are some of those inspired conscious actions? Below, I share three essential pieces I believe are critical on the road to building a successful small business.

1. Understand what it means to know your destination.
Having a vision for what you want is the cornerstone to building a successful business.
As part of your vision, knowing your desired role, and what capabilities you have and/or need to reach your goals are critical components to think through early, to avoid roadblocks later. Having an understanding of these things allows you to do some of the planning needed to move forward.

Realism is critical. In my book, I discuss being realistic largely in Ownership Conversion, but it’s just as important when you start shaping your vision and building the business you want to transform into your legacy. Of course, realism doesn’t mean limiting your ambition. Realism, in this case, is understanding your market, creating a well-thought timeframe as you scale, knowing how to build a team to support you, and understanding your limitations so you can find ways to overcome or minimize them.

2. Invest in Efficiencies Early
As entrepreneurial companies develop, operational decisions are subject to ‘fake-it-until-you-makeit’ and ‘if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it’ mentalities. While I understand it’s easy to make decisions in this manner, these are good mindsets to abandon early so you can become more efficient as soon as possible.

Think about it: if you were to look into buying a house tomorrow, your first question would likely be “How much work does it need?” If you needed to invest a significant amount, you’d likely pass. Putting resources and attention in the right places early can help create a better-oiled machine early on. This includes finding ways to reward and retain important personnel to maintain a strong team, exploring ways to optimize technology in your internal operations, and understanding what motivates and satisfies your customer.

3. Know thyself.
It seems obvious, right? But before you dismiss the concept, consider this: As the entrepreneur and founder of your business, you and you alone dictate the outcomes, and everything that happens is a reflection of your leadership.

There are three qualities I believe many high performing entrepreneurs share: autonomy, self-confidence, and conscientiousness. While these are resoundingly beneficial character traits, they can also become liabilities over time, if you let them keep you from working on the business as your business grows. Too often, they result in little or no planning for the future. Staying in touch with your tendencies is critical.

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