Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top 10 Success Strategies for 2012

The new year is less than two weeks away.  Now is the time to examine your business.  Are you where you expected to be at this point?  If not, what can you do differently next year?  If you are, what strategies can you build on to keep up your momentum?

Here are my top 10 success strategies for a successful 2012.

1.  I have already broken my number one rule for success - treat your business like a business!  Which means not to let things (like holidays) interfere.  As you can see from the date of my last post, I have not been so successful at this.  But we all backslide every once in a while.  But in order to be successful in your business, you have to work at it every day until it reaches that point where you can step away for a vacation and it will continue to function without you.  Just make sure you come back prepared to work.  So the family vacations, shopping trips, and holiday parties are over and now it is time to get back to work.

2.  Set your goals.  You won't know if you have been successful if you don't know what successful is.  What do you want to achieve next year?  Increased cash flow?  More traffic to your site?  Additional income streams?  Set your goals for next year now so you will know when you reach them.

3.  Take it one step at a time.  Once you have set your goals, determine the steps necessary to reach them.  Create an action plan will get you where you want to be.  Then follow it - one step at a time.  Don't try to accomplish everything at once or you will become overwhelmed.  By taking your overall goal and breaking it up into manageable steps, you will steadily come closer and closer each day to accomplishing it.

4.  Learn to serve.  Your value to others is directly related to how well you serve them.  Focus on providing the best possible service to as many people as possible and the rest will take care of itself.  The Bible says it very well - "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."  Focus on serving your customers and I promise the money will follow in direct proportion to your service..

5.  Use your time effectively.  Do you often find yourself wishing for 48 hour days?  Then perhaps you aren't managing your time effectively.  Are you focusing on activities that give you the most benefit?  Or are you wasting time on activities best delegated to others - or even best left undone?  Track your activities for a week.  Use a spreadsheet, calendar, planner or even just a notepad.  Note each activity you perform throughout the day and how much time you spent on it.  Then review it to see if you need to make some changes to get the most out of each day.

6.  Stay on course.  I have a friend who has been part of so many different "business opportunities" it's hard to keep count.  Every few months, he is calling me about "the next big thing" and encouraging me to get on board before it's too late.  Needless to say, while he has been moderately successful, he has not reached the goals he set for himself financially.  He blames it on the fact that he has not yet found the perfect "opportunity."  But the truth is, he never sticks with anything long enough to build it as big as it could become.  Decide what the focus of your business is and stick with it until you reach your goal.

7.  Never stop learning.  Attend a seminar.  Read books - business books, leadership books, inspirational books.  Take a course.  The more you know, the more you can offer.  And the more you can offer, the more valuable you become.

8.  Network, network, network!  Even I have had to concede and jump on the Facebook bandwagon.  You never know where you might meet your next customer, mentor, partner.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn all have hordes of loyal users.  Learn to put yourself and your business in front of them effectively using these tools.

9.  Build your business team.  You cannot do everything - nor should you.  Surround yourself with others who can do the things you can't or don't want to do.  It Should be a Dog's World requires lots of graphics and art work.  I could spend my time on this.  Or I can give my ideas to my graphic designer and let her deal with it.  Since ideas are one of my strong skills and artwork is hers, I am more than happy to let her take care of that part of my business.  Delegate or outsource what you can and should and focus your time on what you do best. 

10.  Plan your day.  Every night before I bed, I make my to-do list of what I need to accomplish tomorrow.  When I get to work in the morning, there is no time spent deciding where to start.  I have my list ready, in order of importance.  All I need to do is start at the top and work my way down, checking off items as I go.  If I don't get everything on the list finished, I simply carry it over to the next day.  But having my list helps ensure I get more done each day because I arrive in the office already prepared for what needs to be done and what is most important.  You can use whatever tool works best for you.  I just you a notepad.  You can do it last thing in the evening or first thing in the morning.  But do take time to plan each day.

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