There's never a time quite like the start of a new year. Your ideas to start or grow a business, that were once merely day dreams, are now pumped full of optimism and drive. It truly is an exciting time.
However, I can't help but feel that many businesses are started for the wrong reasons. Of course, we are all guilty of envisioning yachts, Ferraris, and mega-mansions, but I challenge all of you, myself included, to reach beyond that in 2015; reach beyond the confines of self-satisfaction, and in to a purpose that stretches far beyond yourself. Lets redefine what it means to be a success in business.
With that said, here are 5 new rules of business success that we should all focus more effort on.
1. Old Rule: Quickly come out with cheap and easy products that take little effort.
New Rule: Only come out with the most valuable products and services. Gone are the days of quickly coming out with a cheap product or service, just because your margins are high. People are desperate for things that make them feel something; things that solve their real world problems, things that will add value to their daily lives. The consumer is getting smarter and smarter year after year, and it's just not acceptable to put a half-effort in and expect to be successful. Change the tide and only create things that are remarkable.
2. Old Rule: When the sale is done, move on to the next.
New Rule: Always continue to find ways to add value to existing customers. As a consultant, it has always baffled me that modern businesses still operate in this fashion. I've gone in to too many businesses watching them ignore customers that have previously bought from them because they are too focused on finding new ones. This has been said a million times: your best customers are your existing ones. Spend more of your time looking for new ways to service your existing base. Treat them like royalty. If you make each and every one of them feel as if they are a Hollywood A-Lister, you will never run out of business.
3. Old Rule: Never reveal your best info, keep everything a secret unless they pay
New Rule: Give away your best info for free. In the new age of business, it's all about trust. With advertisements bombarding us everywhere from TV to Facebook, and with so many scam artists out for our money, the trust factor between businesses and customers has never been smaller. So how do we combat this lack of trust? Prove to them you have value. Give away your best ideas for free. In the past, people would think this was professional suicide, but in today's world, a willingness to help people for free shows that you have even more value to offer them as a customer. They want to help you for helping them. Make the law of reciprocation work in your favor.
4. Old Rule: As a business owner, your employees are there to follow your orders.
New Rule: Give your employees level playing ground and freedom to collaborate on ideas. I highly encourage businesses, big and small, to follow in the footsteps of companies like Google when it comes to employee work habits. These companies revolutionize the way employees conduct themselves in the workplace. Take the fast growing supplement company Onnit for example; employees have complete freedom over when they take breaks. They can get up and go shoot hoops at the basketball court for as long as they want, so long as they are getting their work done. Every employee, from secretary to executive, has an equal say in ideas and projects to implement to grow the company. That's the kind of trust that gets you long term, loyal employees. And it's no wonder that these are the same companies that always lead the pack in innovation as well.
5. Old Rule: The goal of business is to grow everything; more products, more employees, more offices, more, more, MORE!
New Rule: Figure out how to keep your business as simple as possible while maximizing profits. It's well known that there is one thing more valuable than money and it's something you can't earn more of, and that's time. Time is the supreme currency. So don't fall into the trap that more is better in business, because there are many times it's not. It might be appealing to open a third, fourth, fifth, or sixth office, or add 20 more products to your lineup. But remember that adding more real estate and more product equals more employees, more managing, and more time spent on these new things. So I encourage you to participate in an exercise. When you feel the need to add more things, whether new locations, products, or anything for that matter, think about the time you will have to invest to run those things, and how much you will add to your income in return. Also, think about why you want that added income in the first place. You'll find that often times, the extra cash just isn't worth the extra time and stress.
What are you going to start or implement in your business this year that has you most excited?
Jeremy Sandow is a marketing and sales coach that teaches businesses of all sizes how to go from struggling, to successful and prosperous. Visit him at www.jeremysandow.com or follow him on social media @jeremy_sandow