How To Be Successful
06 Oct 2008
The spin and hype from the world of motivational and inspirational speaking seems
to promise anyone and everyone can be a roaring success if only they believe in
But, where does the truth lie? What does it mean to be successful and how does one
In the 90th Mind Your Own Business Podcast entrepreneurs Guy Kingston and John Richards
take a considered and mature look at just what it means to be successful. Then the
assess what qualities they see in successful people that have led to that success
– not always the obvious ones that first come to mind.
Mind Your Own Business Resources
Video Podcasts: You can find them from the video page of our website
www.myobpod.com/video or on
Social Networking: Join our Facebook Group and our exclusive Business Owner Group on LinkedIn.
Blog: Updated three times each week, the Mind
Your Own Business Blog is a little bit different from the rest –original
Newsletter. This comes out with every new podcast release – sign up at
Listeners’ Club: Join our Listeners
Club, which is the only way to get access to our entire archive of past
And Listeners’ Links – here’s an example:
How Not To Succeed In Business
Here it is: the absolutely guaranteed secret of success in business...
Identify what people want and provide it to them efficiently.
Honestly. It really is that simple.
This, of course, begs the question, “If it really is that simple, why it is that
there are so few successful people?”
So the real issue is not so much how to succeed in business as how not to succeed.
There are three basic methods of failing to succeed in business.
Method One is to fail to identify accurately what people want. Most failed businesses
make the mistake of trying to sell what the entrepreneur thinks the customer wants
rather than what the customer actually wants. This is an easy mistake to make, given
that customers are often unclear, not least in their own minds, what they really
want. The lack of clarity may deceive the entrepreneur into thinking that he can
exploit the uncertainty by clever marketing. This is a classic error because, although
clever selling may be deceptively successful in the short term, it cannot build
a viable business if what is being sold is essentially unwanted.
Method Two is to fail to deliver what it wanted in an efficient way. This covers
both relative inefficiency – where one is simply not as efficient as one’s competitors
– and absolute inefficiency – where one is so inefficient that one cannot even turn
a profit even if one has no competitors! Inefficiency can take many forms – inefficient
marketing, inefficient financing, inefficient strategy, inefficient cost control,
inefficient management, inefficient operations, inefficient pricing, inefficient
administration, etc – any one of which can destroy a company with a sound business
idea to serve an accurately identified customer want.
Politicians may pretend they can break the “cycle of boom and bust”, but when they
try, they postpone the inevitable and make things worse.
Method Three, however, is by far the most common.
A cyclical recession occurs when a whole economy effectively looks at its credit
card statement and decides it needs to reduce its outstanding balances a bit.
It is, quite simply, not to try – or, at least, not to try properly.
For example, for many years, British industry tolerated lax management and labour
practices, in denial about the fact that the British Empire was gone, and its captive
markets with it. Sooner or later, British business had to come to terms with the
new reality. That realisation was the recession of the early 1980s.
The vast majority of people do not try at all. This is not necessarily to their
discredit. They define success by standards other than financial. They have other
priorities – perhaps their families, or a hobby, or a political or a charitable
cause – and money is only a means to an end to them. They may well be right.
Yet there are others who do try, but try so half-heartedly that they would have
been better off not trying at all.
Although commitment does not guarantee success, it is a necessary precondition.
Anyone setting out to succeed in business must understand that it demands focus
– at least in the key phases. It demands that one works when others are idle, and
that one invests when others are spending. One must accept that enterprise is risk
– and risk means being prepared to sacrifice.
All sorts of people have found success in business. Private enterprise is the only
true meritocracy. Yes, it helps to be intelligent or good-looking or socially skilled
or born into money or well-connected, but there are people who have succeeded without
any of those advantages – and people who failed despite having them all.
Many multi-millionaires are people from a poor background with little education
and little in the way of social sparkle. Some are plodders. What they had was a
commitment to their businesses, based on a commitment to succeed.
Business is Darwinian. Survival of the fittest is cruel, but ultimately it is the
best way to allocate limited resources. If a business is terminally inefficient,
or operating in a market of decreasing viability, it is better that the money of
the investors, the labour of the employees, and the enterprise of the management
be deployed elsewhere, where they can do more good.
While it is true that many with a similar commitment still fail – either because
they make mistakes or because the ball bounces the wrong way or, most commonly,
through a combination of both – it is unlikely that one will ever succeed without
© Agincourt Productions