Succeeding in business requires developing and using a diverse set of skills. Different industries require different specific skill sets but there are a few in particular that are universally demanded. I’ll let you in on a secret. Hone these three skills and watch the power flow:
1. Embrace “No.”
It is better to be respected than liked. Nobody likes a “yes” man. If you want to build a lasting reputation as a business leader, it is important to understand the power of the word “No”. You are the ultimate decision maker for your business and life. It is ignorant to think you can do everything for everyone. It is also ignorant to believe that everyone is going to follow through on their word. Learn to understand it is ok to say “No”. People rely on you to make the tough decisions that will lead the business to success. The world is too competitive to over-promise and under-deliver. If you fall short, you can be easily replaced. That being said, know that those working for or with you can be replaced. You’d be surprised at how productive employees can be if you challenge them. I’m sure you’ve seen a child that has never been told “No”. They are spoiled, poorly behaved and set up for massive disappointments in life. Parents that regularly discipline and guide their children raise well-mannered, driven adults. Building an employee team is no different. Regular guidance and structure helps you build an army of well-rounded successful employees.
2. Develop Honest Relationships
Lies are the bricks that build houses of failure. Be honest with people. Properly manage expectations and you will find that people respect you for that honesty. You will also find that people would rather work with an honest person they can depend on instead of an inconsistent producer. I’ve explained to everyone I mentor how strong relationships are the key to my success. As a leader, it is your responsibility to be able to build relationships and trust quickly. You represent your brand. Carry yourself well and shed positive light on your business. You have a few options in life. You choose the circles in which you do business. Keep a network of honest, hard-working business affiliates and you will find that you will push each other into positions of prosperity and greatness.
3. Do Your Homework
Today’s business environment is fast paced. Companies grow from concept to millions seemingly overnight. In this unprecedented time in history, it is easy to develop a jaded sense of reality. People are selling companies that are not even profitable! It’s easy to think you could just come up with an idea, make a nice pitch deck, sell the idea and retire. It could happen, but it probably won’t. Research and planning are an extremely important part of building a successful business. You can save tons of time and money by putting in a little research up front. If you have a good idea, talk to a few trusted advisors about the idea. Get some input. Figure out if people want what you are about to provide. I’ve had ideas that I thought were brilliant fall flat after I’ve spent millions trying to force them to succeed. I’ve also seen ideas that I considered ridiculous turn into hugely profitable companies. The key here is to figure out if people really want what you will offer and if you can deliver what they need. If they want it, and you can provide it, you have a business that merits an investment of your precious time.
Stay hungry for knowledge. Always broaden your skill sets. As your skills grow, make sure to keep them rooted in strong, tested disciplines. I’ve found that embracing the power of “No”, developing honest relationships, and doing my homework are the real secrets to my success.
Do you agree with me? Do you have another secret for succeeding in today’s fast paced business environment?