10 Keys to Business Success - BusinessTown

10 Keys to Business Success

“If you’re like me, being upbeat—let alone envisioning a clear path to huge success—might not always come naturally, but by pushing yourself to think positively, to talk success, you can go a long way to turning success into reality!”

Thinking Success Goes a Long Way Toward Being a Success

If you picture yourself as someone who is ultimately going to succeed, then success is going to come a lot easier.

If, on the other hand, you picture yourself as someone who is either highly likely to fail or at least not make progress, then no matter how talented you are or how hard you work, it’s going to be very difficult to succeed.

Thinking success can catapult your career or business ahead and make you more effective in all kinds of different situations—from dealing with people, to concentrating on analytical issues, to developing creative ideas.

Thinking failure can stop you cold, like the icy moat or cold stone walls of a medieval castle, and make you less effective in dealing with people, less able to focus on your work, and less likely to develop creative ideas.

I have found that especially when struggling with starting and running a business that thinking success can be an incredibly important key to achieving business success.

You certainly want to do everything you can to learn and use the best practices in whatever you are doing. But it is easy to underestimate how incredibly important thinking success can be.

But if you’re at all like me, it’s not always easy to throw away the negative thoughts and fears and put on a positive outlook.

So how can you think success? Here are a few quick suggestions equally applicable whether you’re running your own business or trying to build a career.

The Success Formula

  1. Have a five-year plan for success.
  2. Realize that you, not others, ultimately control your success.
  3. Brainstorm alternatives to tough situations.
  4. Celebrate your achievements.
  5. Shrug off your setbacks.
  6. Develop a support network.
  7. Always stand for integrity in business.
  8. Remind yourself that every day is a new opportunity.
  9. Keep yourself in top physical condition.
  10. Always be open to learning new ideas.

Success Means Finding Alternatives

No matter what job you have or what business you are in, a lot of crummy things are going to happen to you along the way. But your ultimate success is going to have a lot more to do with how you respond to setbacks than with the setbacks you actually encounter.

Even after running my profitable book publishing business for many years, I was still dependent upon bank borrowing to finance growth, particularly because of our increasing inventory and accounts receivable financing needs. I remember one time in particular (although there was more than one) when I was blown away because an overhaul of our cash-flow forecasting showed we had underestimated our fall borrowing needs by 100 percent. I would need to borrow an extra million dollars—close to our limit—which would leave us in a dangerous position with absolutely no margin for error.

Uncomfortable with this outlook, I spent an entire evening searching for solutions, but emotionally I couldn’t get past the bad news, so I couldn’t find any solutions. However, the next day I woke up feeling refreshed and optimistic, and after thinking it through, I was able to shave more than $400,000 in expenses and realistically add $500,000 in projected new income.

If you have the right attitude, you can always find alternatives. And to be sure, part of my ability to find alternatives is a lot of experience in working my way out of tough situations using the power of “planning for profits.”

At business school, one of my classmates used to say that there is no such thing as fixed costs—in business, you can cut virtually any cost if you need to. Remembering this can give you lots of flexibility and confidence in your ability to work yourself out of almost any financial hole if you need to.

But my main point is about attitude: the night before, I had no alternatives because I wasn’t feeling successful, but the next morning when the feeling that I could succeed was there, not just one, but all kinds of alternatives suddenly appeared!

No Risk Means No Success

To really get ahead, you have to take some risks. No successful business or career was built without some risk taking.

This doesn’t mean you should walk off a cliff, but you do need to take calculated risks, after you have carefully collected and weighed all the information you can gather.

How much risk should you take? Well, how far ahead do you want to go? I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some of the most spectacularly successful businesspeople have also had some spectacular failures and near-failures. Take Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, for example; they didn’t let their failures hold them back. (Come to think of it, with all of the failures I’ve had, maybe some really big success is just around the corner!)

However, you don’t want to take risks irrationally to prove you’re a brave soul willing to take chances. You should take risks when the risk/reward trade-off is the best alternative for moving your business ahead.

Successful People Celebrate

An important ingredient for success is celebrating each and every triumph—and forgetting about each and every failure—both with the people around you and with yourself, too.

This doesn’t come naturally to me, but I had a great sales manager who more than made up for it. I remember a time when I was complaining about my disappointment that our sales were off budget by 15 percent, but then he pointed out how happy he was that sales were up 20 percent over the previous year! His kind of talk breeds success.

At Adams Media, we published a book by Don Dwyer. At the time, Don’s various franchise empires had more franchisees than any other in the world—even more than better-known names like McDonald’s. Perhaps his most successful franchise system was a home-based cleaning enterprise.

Although he was hugely successful and wealthy, Don made his money focusing on the details, like the best way to get dog urine stains out of a carpet. Don also made his money by thinking success. Obviously, for Don, this was a learned trait—something he taught himself and that he wanted to teach others.

In his book, Target Success!, Don emphasizes how important it is to celebrate success even if you don’t hit your exact goals. If sales are budgeted to be up 20 percent, but they only go up 17 percent, celebrate anyway. Have a party for the company and give yourself a reward, too!

Just like thinking success doesn’t come naturally for me, neither does celebrating success. I was even singled out in a group of ten entrepreneurs I belonged to as the one who had the most difficulty celebrating success.

So if you, like me, are not good at thinking success, try these strategies and put in some effort—you will go a long way toward making success happen!

Takeaways You Can Use

  • Thinking success breeds success.
  • Have a plan.
  • There are always alternatives in tough situations.
  • Being in business means taking risks.
  • Celebrate even small victories.

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About Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.

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Discover how to generate awesome business ideas, how to evaluate them, and how to choose the very best one for you. 10 lessons. 2 ½ hours.

Learn how to find a great business idea with this course. Discover how to generate awesome business ideas, how to evaluate them, and how to choose the very best one for you. 10 lessons. 2 ½ hours.

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Hi there, I’m Bob Adams, BusinessTown founder, serial entrepreneur and Harvard MBA.

I have started 17 businesses. Most of my businesses I started with less than $2,000 – including one business that I sold for $40 million dollars.

But I was once in your shoes, not sure what to do or how to get started. I had to learn what works and what doesn’t work, sometimes the hard way.

I’ve got great news for you! You’re not going to go through years of trial and error. Because the recipe for business success is waiting for you on BusinessTown.

On Businesstown you’ll get short video courses that will show you exactly what to do at every step of starting your business. From finding your idea to writing your plan and making your first sale, we will guide you through the entire process.

So if you are thinking about starting your own business, take advantage of our 7 day free trial and see what BusinessTown can do for you.

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Frequently asked questions:

BusinessTown is an e-learning platform built for people interested in starting and running a business. 

On BusinessTown, you get unlimited access to 130+ business courses taught by real successful entrepreneurs and highly skilled experts. You also gain access to 50+ business tools and to our discussion board, where you can get expert answers to your business questions.

No matter what you want to learn or where you are on your business journey, there is a course for you. 

Marketing, ideas, financing, planning, naming, how to get started… BusinessTown covers everything you need to start and run your business right. 

The courses are available anywhere, anytime, on any device, and you can take them at your own pace. 

Create your BusinessTown account to get started and try BusinessTown free for 7 days. 

BusinessTown includes unlimited access to 130+ business courses taught by real successful entrepreneurs and highly skilled experts.

You also get full access to 50+ downloadable tools like worksheets, templates, and samples, and to our discussion board where you can get an answer to any business question you have. 

BusinessTown is $19.95 per month. It provides unlimited access to all 130+ courses, all tools, and our discussion board, where you can get expert answers to your business questions.

We offer a free 7-day trial. If you decide that BusinessTown is not for you, then just cancel within 7 days of starting your free trial and you will not be charged at all.

If you wish to cancel your BusinessTown account, you can do so through your account page under the Billing section. 

If you have any questions, email us at bbisson@businesstown.com. We are more than happy to help!

BusinessTown includes 130+ courses on all business topics: Getting started, business ideas, business plans, strategy, marketing, websites, social media, online advertising, finance, accounting, leadership, sales, legal issues, home-based businesses and more!

Looking for a business idea? Why don’t you check out our course How to Find a Business Idea. 

Do you need help creating your business plan? We’ve got you covered. Take a look at our course How to Create a Business Plan.

Do you want to be walked step by step through the entire process of starting a business? Check out our ultimate course, Start-a-Business 101. 

Are you not sure that you are ready to start your own business? Consider our course, What It Takes to Start a Business.

Are you looking for financing for a new or existing business? We offer 5 courses on financing a small business. We suggest you start with the course, How to Finance Your Business.

Do you want to learn about marketing? Because it’s so important, we offer over 30 courses on sales and marketing. Consider starting with the short course, Developing Your Marketing Message.

Want to learn about marketing online? We offer 5 courses on creating websites, 6 courses on digital marketing and 5 courses on promoting through social media. To get started we recommend the course, The Complete Guide to Digital Marketing.

Looking to get inspired and learn how other entrepreneurs succeeded in starting and growing their businesses? We offer several courses on this including, How to Succeed as a Woman Entrepreneur.

Do you already have a business and are looking to improve it? We have several courses on this topic. Try starting with the course, How to Boost Profits.

No matter where you are on your business journey, there is a course for you.   

On BusinessTown you have access to 50+ downloadable tools like worksheets, samples, and templates to help you start and run a business. 

Our most popular tools include:

The Ultimate Startup Checklist, 18 pages 

The 300 Best Small Business Ideas ebook, 105 pages 

The Complete Business Plan Template, 29 pages

Complete Sample Business Plan, 35 pages 

Sample Marketing Plan Under $2k, 12 pages

One Page Marketing Plan Template

One Page Sample Marketing Plan

50 Guerilla Marketing Tactics Worksheet, 8 pages

Business Idea Evaluation Worksheet 

8 Basic Steps to Making the Sale Template

Sales Presentations that Your Customers Will Love Template

Sales Presentation Sample Dialog

50 Ways to Generate Endless Sales Leads Worksheet 

Cold Calling Script Template and Sample

Emails that Land Sales Template and Sample

Voicemails that Get Callbacks Template and Sample

Income Statement Templates and Samples

Balance Sheet Templates and Samples

Cash Flow Templates and Samples

Calculate Depreciation Template

Key Financial Ratios Sample

How I Started a Successful Business with No Money and No Experience, Case Study

Key Questions to Select the Best Business Idea Worksheet

Validate Your Business Idea Worksheet

Using the 6-Step Approach to Choose a Business Idea Case Study

21 Easy-to-Start Part-Time Business Ideas Guide

42 Home-Based Businesses You Can Start Guide

Why I Repeatedly Changed the Legal Entity of My Business, Case Study

Evaluate Customer Segments and Competitors Worksheet

Differentiate Your Business from Competitors Worksheet

How I Differentiated My First Business in a Crowded Marketplace, Case Study

Creating a Press Release Template and Sample

Marketing Bob’s Rent-A-Bike, Case Study

Planning, Designing and Creating Your Website Worksheet

Search Engine Optimization Worksheet

50 Blog Post Ideas Worksheet

50 Creative Online Marketing Ideas Worksheet

Evaluate Potential Names for Your Business Worksheet

How I Financed Buying a Business Case Study

Cover Letter to Seek Financing Sample

Collection Letter Samples

The Four Quadrant Theory of Time Management Graphic

BusinessTown courses will show you how to start your business right and grow it into a highly successful enterprise. 

You will learn from highly experienced entrepreneurs and experts who have been there and done it. You won’t have to learn by trial and error. You won’t have to guess what to do next. BusinessTown courses will guide you through your entire business journey.

Even if you are a beginner you will quickly learn how to start a business you love. If you already have a business, BusinessTown will show how to grow it and make it better.

By just watching one video lesson a day (about 7 minutes average) you can quickly ramp up your business knowledge. No matter where you are on your business journey, there is a course for you taught by an expert on BusinessTown.

What would you like to learn more about today? Starting a business? How to find a business idea? How to write a business plan? How to do your marketing? How to build an online presence? How to get financing? How to prepare financial statements? BusinessTown has courses that cover all these topics and hundreds more.

So if you want to become a smarter entrepreneur and start and build a successful business, you’ll want to start streaming the courses on BusinessTown today.

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