All entrepreneurs start their business with a passion for what they do, and a vision for what that business could become. Perhaps it’s a dream to forge a new path in an industry, develop a life-changing product, or somehow follow in the footsteps of someone you admire. Regardless of the reason, at some point you look at the business landscape and can’t help but wonder exactly how this is all going to work out. Some days you’re fired up to make it happen, and some days you find yourself getting discouraged. And that’s OK. You’re human. But there is a way to stay on the path to your vision, and that’s consistency.
As I reflect back on Kolbeco’s 17 years in business, I’m reminded of clients who have found success, and those who have struggled. When consistency is present, our experience is that success is likely to follow. They’re consistent in their beliefs, their processes, and the steps they’re taking in their plan to reach their goals. Chances are that they are working harder than they ever have before, but they forget they’re working because they’re having fun and tuning out the distractions.
You can get there too. Here’s how:
- Start with a vision that is bigger than you as an individual. Be sure that vision is inspiring, and is about more that the product or service you sell. It has to have a promise to the audience and your team, and must create an emotional connection. That vision helps you stay on track, and gets you through the bad days.
- Keep pushing. Each milestone you reach isn’t an excuse to relax, it’s motivation to keep going. Building a business is hard work. It will probably take you two to three times the amount of work you anticipated.
- Work your plan. I recently covered the topic of consistency as an endurance athlete. There are many similarities between training for a sport and running a business. You have to be mentally tough. Tough as hell, in fact, and tough enough to keep executing your plan no matter how tired you are or what obstacle has been thrown in your way.
- Strive to hit a series of singles to load up the bases rather than one home run. Fact is, home runs are rare, so don’t hang your entire future on the hope of hitting one. They can also create too much demand, strain on cash flow, or operational challenges at once. Your plan should include a series of incremental wins, in all areas of the business, that will move you closer to your goals each day.
- Tune out the negative. People will get into your head. You’ll get into your own head. You’ll read about how 90% of new businesses fail, friends may tell you you’re crazy for chasing your dream, or a potential business opportunity may point out everything wrong with what you’re doing. Take it for what it’s worth, and focus on your plan.
- Don’t be dazzled by shiny objects. When you’re in business, you’ll always be approached by someone pitching you the next great idea, the fanciest new technology, or “the opportunity of a lifetime.” Your strategy shouldn’t be modified to fit the shiny object (be honest with yourself when you evaluate whether it does or it doesn’t). If it’s a tactical move that makes sense, go for it. If it doesn’t fit with your strategy, politely walk away.
Now that we’ve covered the what and the how, let’s talk about the why. What does consistency accomplish and what does it do for your business?
- It keeps you focused on the key metrics and not changing the target each week.
- It helps you control the things you can control and quit worrying about the things you can’t control.
- It helps you become mentally tougher, helping you charge forward when things are good, and keep your head in the game when things get tough. And trust me they will get tough at some point.
If growing your business is your goal, I encourage you to commit to consistency.