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With everything that’s currently going on, Covid-19, social distancing and volatile markets, it is essential to focus on your current business investments and ensure for sustained growth and resilience.
Here are 10 possible ways to achieve ongoing success.
1. You’re the first investor in your business
When starting a business, you invest significant cash and time, therefore it is an investment.
As such, it is important to step back from your founder role and evaluate the time and resources you put in, just like any investor would.
Investors during Covid-19 must change their frame of reference and anything could happen
Outline possible return expectations and realistic timelines, decide on key milestones to achieve and critically, what should happen if you don’t achieve them.
Setting a target is important to ensure that you stay on track and that your success is measurable.
2. Never trust anyone who doesn’t mention failures
You can’t learn lessons from someone who doesn’t tell you the full story — making mistakes and learning lessons from those mistakes, is critical to being successful.
Someone who glosses over what they’ve done wrong is most certainly omitting parts of their investment journey.
What’s more, when you encounter a hurdle you don’t realise that it’s a normal part of starting or investing in something new, which may deter you from continuing.
Yes, you may run out of cash. Yes, you will acquire customers much slower than you think. All of these developments are par for the course and you will get through it.
Listen to those who have overcome before, persevere and don’t be disheartened.
3. Sometimes they did it wrong, and it can’t be done
Something you often hear in the market: “Trust us, no one is doing this!”
It is essential to differentiate between other people implementing the same idea and consistently failing, and the market and timing just not being feasible for the product or service.
It could very well be a James Cameron scenario (a film director who had to wait a decade for the right technology to come around before being able to bring Avatar to life) or the solar energy market, which required solar panels to become cheap enough to make multiple business opportunities viable and even lucrative.
Just make sure you ascertain if no one has done it right before, or if it actually can’t be done.
4. Have strong beliefs, loosely held
There is nothing wrong with passionately defending your beliefs but be open to the possibility that you could be wrong.
Too many people hang on to their views, effectively going down with the ship.
Make peace with the notion that you may need to shift your principles based on resounding fact.
5. Find alternative views
When looking for opinions don’t just look for people who agree with you. By seeking consensus, you could be risking a lower quality product or service.
Make sure you assess your own view from multiple angles and find people who disagree with you — this is the only way you can improve your business endeavours.
Don’t let the first encounter with a customer reveal underlying flaws, get alternate views ahead of time and relish in valuable criticism.
6. Don’t build a business affected by headlines
Properly understand the factors that can have an effect on your business. You want as few as possible of those to be outside of your control.
A business whose fortunes change each time something happens politically or economically is far more difficult to sustain.
Look for ways to buck the trends, be counter cyclical and not be a victim of current circumstance.
Covid-19 has every business asking not only how do we survive this, but how do we avoid being a victim to this in future or even how do we thrive next time.
Be flexible and adapt (like restaurants who are now offering make at home meals), invest in PR and crisis communications and build goodwill with stakeholders — all of these will stand you in good stead when things get tough.
7. Don’t base decisions on the day’s emotions
Making critical decisions when you are euphoric or angry, almost guarantees that you’ll make the wrong choice.
It’s the same as writing an angry email or buying and selling shares out of fear or hype — step back, take a day, clear your head and consider all the facts first before making an informed decision.
Emotional responses are a no no.
8. Find people who make you better
You’ve heard it before – all the best CEOs surround themselves with people who are smarter than they are.
The fact is, it’s true. Don’t just hang around people who agree with every decision you make, this will only enhance the echo chamber and guarantee eventual failure.
Look for people who can apply themselves to give you better answers and alternatives than you could yourself.
9. Plan to get through it
Significant revenue growth will always take longer that you think, so include this is your overall financial plan.
Make sure you know when to cut back on your expenditure (the only thing in your control) in order to allow for delayed income or growth and ensure overall, sustainable business expansion.
10. Never lose your sense of wonder
When you’ve done this long enough, you may start channelling your inner Scrooge (and start developing a “bah humbug” approach).
Learn from past mistakes but don’t lose sight of possibilities — incredible things can happen.
Remember, effective mobile internet seemed like an unreachable dream a few years ago, as did utilising instant messaging (like WhatsApp) for educational purposes, but today we have a government-led initiative to provide accurate information to users around Covid-19.
Ultimately, it’s about changing your frame of reference and anything could happen.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn. See the original article here.
*Brett Commaille is the investment principal of Hlayisani Capital