The right approach can mean a world of difference in business. Part of setting up a long-term plan is knowing where the problem spots are, as well as which business philosophies work better for which industries. That’s why having a strong group of peers and mentors is so important for leaders: An outside perspective, or someone who has already faced a similar misstep, can mean all the difference between struggling and finding success.
This means that you need to have your ears turned toward those who have your best interest in mind. A good mentor can offer encouragement where needed — or chiding, if required — and guidance on any number of subjects, all without trying to run the business themselves. And while someone more senior can offer good advice, they’re not the only voice you should seek: Peers and others at the same stage of business as you, for instance, may have a closer perspective on how things are currently operating, or what new technologies or methodologies are worth your time.
To help you succeed, nine members from the Forbes Coaches Council share the one piece of business advice they wish they had followed early on in their career, something that they now share with all their clients.
1. Research And Understand Your Market
Take the time to do market research and really listen closely to your ideal client’s needs. Get really in tune with them to know where they’re at right now: That is different to where you would like them to be. Take this intel and craft it into an irresistible solution for them to be able to get easier yeses in your business. – Penny Elliott, Pennycomins.com
2. Put In The Hard Work
Starting a business is exponentially harder than another other job. Successful entrepreneurs need to operate well across a variety of functions: sales, marketing, finance, operations, HR, etc. On top of that, creating an enterprise from scratch requires creativity, persistence and continuous learning. – Justin Kulla, BusinessBlocks
3. Mould The Life You Want For Yourself
You are the designer of your life. If there are parts of your life that do not fit well, you can make adjustments. Think of your life and career as clay on a potter’s wheel and you as the potter. Get a picture in your mind of what the masterpiece looks like and keep shaping toward that picture. – Bonnie Hagemann, Executive Development Associates
4. Really Listen To Your Clients
Truly listen and empathize with your clients. Everyone is so interested in getting their own personal message across, that no one pauses for a moment to actually listen and hear the root of the problem or pain. Believe in listening 80% of the time, clarifying 10% of the time, and responding wholeheartedly and intentionally, is the remaining 10% of the time. – Stephynie Malik, ChiqueSpeak
5. Learn With A Team
Most leaders settle for learning by themselves. They read a book or attend a conference by themselves. Good leaders learn with the help of a mentor. A coach can come alongside a leader and help the leader see things from a different perspective. The best leaders learn with a team. An old proverb teaches that where there are many advisors, there is much success. – Ken Gosnell, CXP – CEO Experience
6. Focus On What Makes You Thrive
Be unapologetic and relentless with what makes you thrive. Many times, we are influenced from the outside world, and cloud our own desires for the sake of those around us. The sooner you are able to grasp this nugget, the sooner it will drastically change your world. – Neeta Bhushan, Global GRIT institute
7. Play The Long Game
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day challenges of running a business, but you MUST carve out time at least once a week to take stock of what you’re doing for the long-term health of your business. That includes marketing, training, employee development, community engagement and capital development. Sound investments today will pay dividends in the future. – Jim Judy, Try Franchising
8. Focus On the Rewards
This may sound cliché, but my honest advice is to go for it when considering starting a new business venture, despite the fear it may not work out. One needs to adopt the mindset that the whole journey is a big experiment and that “failure” is not an option, because ultimately it is learning and growth that we will get. Focusing on the rewards instead of the fear is the real key to success. – Noor Hibbert, This Is Your Dream LTD
9. Network With Experienced Execs
Take any opportunity to network and learn from more experienced executives, as well as to be mentored and coached by some of them. Further, exposure to specific meetings, boardroom discussion, and strategic planning would be utterly beneficial. – Izabela Lundberg, Legacy Leaders Institute