The Big Secret I learned from speaking to incredible, ambitious, and visionary female business owners on how to grow a successful business is this:
There is no ONE strategy, ONE fail-proof plan, or ONE path to follow that will lead to success. But there is a list of 5 key ingredients, which, when mixed correctly, with love and passion, and given the right amount of time to bake, can create something truly remarkable.
Something you are proud to share with the world.
Here’s the breakdown:
1. Know your ideal client as intimately as you know your best friend
It sounds so obvious and straightforward, but you may be surprised how many established business owners shared that if they were to go back to the start, they would focus more on really getting to know and understand their client’s challenges, pain points, and needs.
It is easy for us to assume we know what our clients need, but don’t make assumptions. Carry out your research, connect with your ideal client, and interview them to truly understand how to create a solution tailored to what they need, not what you think they need.
A dear friend of mine runs a Venture Capital fund and shared this same insight with me. They receive multiple business proposals with detailed financial projections, growth strategies, marketing plans, etc. but are missing the key ingredient. In-depth analysis of who their client is, how their product/service is solving their problem or satisfying their needs, and how they will do this better than anyone else in the industry.
So, before you start reinvesting in perfecting your website, updating your social media copy, running ads, pitching to Angel Investors or VC’s…go back to basics and challenge yourself but asking these questions: “Do I really know my client in great detail? Do I know what keeps them up at night? Am I clear on what their ambitions and fears are?”
If the answer is no, then at least you are being honest with yourself, and you know what your next step needs to be.
2. There is no such thing as a “magic” formula
The truth is, there are many strategies, plans, and formulas to success that work. The key thing is, you actually need to ‘work’ them and work them with consistency. Don’t give up after the first failed attempt and declare it’s broken.
One of the first personal development books I ever read was Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. The book’s references are outdated now, but the principles contained within this masterpiece still remain true. The 8th Principle to success, riches, industry prestige shared is…Persistence.
Sustained effort, steady focus, continuous aligned action; all key ingredients to keep moving forward towards the attainment of your goals and realisation of your business vision.
A key trait expressed by all the business owners I have interviewed, and work with, is the determination and grit to keep going, no matter what challenges they face.
3. Realise that change is inevitable. Progress is not
It was interesting that so many of the women I spoke with shared this similar experience, as I also have had in my own business: the business idea they started out with rarely was the same as the business they were leading and growing today. It may be reminiscent of the original idea but rarely was it in its same container.
I interviewed a dear friend who is the CEO of a successful tech company, which has received notable financial backing from prominent Silicon Valley investors. It started as a university yearbook, then evolved to a digital platform, then evolved again to its current version to service global corporations with their People processes. While traces of the original idea still exist, the final product is a million miles away from where it started.
The key lesson here is this; when starting or growing your business, the most important part is to get started. Accept that your idea will evolve and expand as you learn more about your industry, clients, and yourself. That’s half the fun and uncertainty of the journey.
Covid-19 has shown each of us that our world can change in a heartbeat. Change is inevitable. Progress; the ability to adapt, reinvent, and reframe challenges to opportunities, is optional.
4. Success is 80% Psychology
Without exception, every business owner I have ever interviewed shares this commitment. They are investing in themselves and their mindset.
Having spent over a decade consulting for multi-million-dollar global organizations and turning around billion-dollar failing companies, the key learning I would share with you is this; companies rarely fail due to external circumstances.
More times than not, companies fail due to the people sailing the ship.
The C-Suite Leadership team loses focus on key priorities, becoming complacent, allowing standards to slip in light of their recent success, denying it’s time for the company to course-correct. They become overwhelmed with stress and their decision-making capabilities are compromised.
As mentioned above, many strategies can lead to success, and many companies thrive amidst the worst external circumstances while others sink. It is not a criticism to business owners or leaders, but a realization that investing in yourself, your physiology, your psychology every single day must be a priority if your ambition is to scale to the highest levels and remain on top when you get there.
A side note on this, I joined the 5 am club early in my business venture, and it has been one of the best decisions I made. Winning the day before, most of the world is even awake is such a rewarding feeling!
5. Find your Mastermind
You may know the idea of a Mastermind or may even be a part of one. But have you ever stopped and examined what this really is?
The idea that by bringing together several minds with a shared vision and a shared outcome, the one mind expands and benefits the others, thereby literally becoming a “Mastermind.”
The most successful business owners I know understand this concept deeply. Below are 3 key reasons why you need to be a part of a Mastermind:
- You are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with
In the same way that “water will find its own even,” you will eventually normalize to your environment. The people you surround yourself with will either lift you up or bring you down.
Think about it this way; if you were to start playing any team sport, let’s say tennis, and joined a beginners team where the other player’s ability was the same or even worse than yours, the likelihood is you would all progress around the same pace. If, however, you chose to join the advanced tennis team, where the players were playing the game at an incredibly high level, you would improve your game much faster so you could fit in with the team and adapt to their normal.
Humans are herd creatures. It goes back to our origins, where our safety and survival relied upon our ability to be liked and fit in with our “group.”
If you are an A Player but surround yourself with people playing a B Level game, eventually, you will begin to lower your standards to fit in and drop to their level.
There’s nothing wrong with where they are playing, but it’s not where you belong. That is why surrounding yourself with people playing the game at such a high level is so crucial. They will hold you accountable to play at that standard, and you will be sure to hold yourself accountable to do the same.
- Benefit from the ideas, knowledge of other industry leaders
There is both an economic and psychic benefit to be created from joining a Master Mind. The financial part is easy to explain; the benefit received of shared ideas, knowledge, networks, successes, and insights. The psychic part is more abstract and relates to what I mentioned earlier about creating a “Master Mind.”
This refers to the spiritual forces that many people are still not well acquainted with. It is explained well in Think & Grow Rich when it says, “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.” In essence, in perfect harmony, several minds coming together create an almost ‘super-mind’ which is far more powerful. It may sound strange if this is your first-time hearing this, but it works under a similar principle that a group of batteries will emit more energy together than each of the single batteries will emit on their own. There is power in the joining of forces.
- It is lonely at the top
To achieve the level of success that only 1% have, you have to be willing to do what 99% won’t. As a result, one of the biggest challenges I hear business owners share with me is finding an inner circle of other visionary, trailblazing women who have equally high standards for themselves, and share the desire for success and impact they too want to achieve.
That sense of belonging, being a part of something bigger, and having your high-level support squad with you every step of the way, matters to your success and sense of fulfillment and is incredibly impactful.
While there is a lot more that goes into creating a successful, sustainable business and creating the impact you desire, the above five ingredients are essential to understand and master.
If any of this resonated with you then I invite you to get in touch and lets discuss how we can further support your business journey. Leave a comment below or send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.