Rules for Business Success Simply Explained

Rules for Business SuccessAnyone can start their own business. You don’t need any special qualifications. You just need the desire and determination to succeed and a little appreciation of the basic rules for business success.

There are many attractions of running your own business too. When you make a profit it’s all yours. You will be building your own dream rather than helping someone else build their dream. And you will be calling the shots, rather than having to work with someone for whom you have little or no respect.

Now running your own business is not easy of course. However it’s the best chance you’re ever going to have to make some serious money. Look at any self-made millionaire and in all probability they’ve made their money by starting their own company. The chances of you getting rich as a salaried employee are slim to non-existent, unless you work on Wall Street perhaps.

Let me be honest here. There’s no easy formula for success in business; there’s no magic bullet. Business involves some risk and it also involves a lot hard work. You have to be prepared to work hard that’s for sure. Anyone suggesting there are easy ways to make money in business is either dishonest or deluded.

Nevertheless plenty of people do succeed in business, so why not you? If they can succeed then you can too with a little self-belief, surely? Believe you can and you will.

However there are some basic rules you should bear in mind. Here are 12 rules for business success that you must always bear in mind:-

  1. Always have target customers and their problems in mind
  2. Solve a problem for your customer
  3. Create a product around the solution to that problem
  4. You don’t have to be first, just build a ‘better mousetrap’
  5. Remember: Your customer is your boss
  6. Until money is coming in, spend as little as possible
  7. Money in must exceed money out to make a profit
  8. Success depends on making a profit consistently
  9. Your profit margin should be worth the risks you’re taking
  10. Use the skills and resources you’ve got
  11. Be flexible and adapt when necessary
  12. Go for activities where you can add the highest value

With self-belief and determination you can be as successful in business as anyone else. Don’t let negative talk by others put you off. Just go for it, if you think you have what it takes.

Even if you’re not quite sure whether you’ve got what it takes, it’s better to have a go and fail than to spend your life wondering what might have been. Life is too short to look back with regrets.

Business success can be achieved; people do and you can too.

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How to build wealth from nothing – 5 Top Tips

How to build wealth from nothingThere’s nothing anyone can do if you were born poor. That was just unfortunate. However you don’t have to go through life poor.

It is possible to build wealth over time and people do.

Many people born poor become very wealthy through their own efforts and you can too dear reader.

Here are five tips to help you build wealth from nothing.

How to build wealth from nothing:

1. Pay yourself first:

You’ll know I’m sure that making money can be relatively easy, whilst holding on to it is very, very hard.

We’re all constantly bombarded with reasons why we should spend our money in return for some fleeting sense of gratification. Would that be an experience you recognise dear reader?

It doesn’t have to be that way of course and rich people know that only too well.

So what do rich people do that’s different to everyone else? Simple! They always pay themselves first.

And what do I mean by paying yourself first?

I mean when you’re paid, you take a slice off the top of your income immediately and you put it away somewhere safe. And by a slice I mean say 10%.

And what do I mean by somewhere safe?

Well initially that would be depositing your money in an interest-bearing account.

However once your money starts building into a larger sum then you can start thinking about other forms of investment that’ll give you greater returns potentially. Stocks and bonds for instance.

Building a capital sum is important because as your money grows it starts to generate a second income stream for you. That may not seem important to you now but it will be as you get older.

So paying yourself first is a discipline to which you must adhere until it becomes a habit you do without thinking.

You must always put some money away and you must make that money work hard for you. You must grow and protect your investment portfolio with careful diversification and over time you’ll find yourself building a sizeable fortune.

So here’s today’s mantra for you: Pay Yourself First. Never forget that please dear reader.

2. Be an investor not a speculator:

You must understand that there’s a big difference between investing and speculation. They’re not the same thing at all.

I don’t wish to imply that there’s something wrong with speculation though. There isn’t.

In the world of finance speculation brings liquidity to the market and therefore it does have its place.

However speculation tends to operate on the ‘greater fool’ principle.

By that I mean someone is prepared to buy an asset for a given price in the hope that it can then be sold quickly to someone else, the greater fool, for a greater price.

This is what professional speculators do and they can make money this way because they know what they’re doing and they have sophisticated systems to support them.

However for ordinary people speculation is like gambling in a casino. And you should never invest your money as though you’re gambling in a casino.

You might get lucky occasionally of course but over time your losses will outstrip any gains you might make, and almost certainly by a significant margin.

So my recommendation to you dear reader is you should never speculate. Instead you should focus on becoming an investor.

By investing I mean buying stocks and shares in solid, well managed, cash-generative businesses which have the ability to pay good dividends on a sustained basis.

Buy stocks worth holding for the long term. This will provide you with a steady income stream from the dividends regardless of any short to medium term volatility in the market. And spread your risk by building a diversified portfolio.

If you reinvest your dividends then over time you will find that this approach should give you a good return on your money.

If you want to make money and build capital, then my advice to you dear reader is to be an investor not a speculator.

3. Focus on value not price:

The legendary investor Warren Buffett once said, “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.

With this observation he’s making a very important point. There’s a distinction between price and value.

A low price for an asset doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be getting value. And a high price doesn’t automatically mean you would not be getting value. Price in itself is not a measure of value. You must consider other factors to judge value.

When you’re buying any financial asset, says stocks and shares, you should always focus on value and you must establish metrics by which you can adequately judge the intrinsic value within that asset.

Judged in isolation price is just a number, nothing more.

A lower price means absolutely nothing if you’re getting little or no value in return for your money.

Never, ever forget that it’s the intrinsic value that will determine whether something is really worth buying or not.

Get real value at the right price and then you can get a decent return over time from an investment.

4. Create a personal private income:

Much as we all aspire to do work we love, you must never forget dear reader that ultimately work is simply a means to an end.

Essentially work is just doing stuff for other people in exchange for money. In turn that money is then the fuel on which we run our lives.

Money provides us with the means to put bread on the table, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs and those of our loved ones of course.

If you work hard enough you can earn a lot of money.

Manage that money wisely and you can build capital. Invest that capital intelligently and you can create your own personal private income streams.

When you have a decent private income in your own right then you can truly pick and choose the work you do.

Then you only have to do what you enjoy doing; that thing that gives you a genuine sense of purpose.

Creating a personal private income is a worthy goal and it’s well worth the effort.

That way you’re in control of your own life and no one else can dictate what you should and shouldn’t do.

You’ll be in control of the good ship ‘Me’ and only you then decide where it goes.

The message here is, work hard so you don’t have to work hard.

5. Never forget what matters most:

It would be very easy to believe that a life filled with lots of money and materiality will make you blissfully happy. Well let me tell you dear reader, in isolation, it won’t.

I’m not suggesting that these things are not important but you must get your priorities right.

Yes of course, go out there and make money. Manage it carefully. Buy nice things and enjoy some of that money too.

However to be truly happy you must never lose sight of the most important thing in your life and that is family and friends. People are social animals; we’re not solitary like cats. We need other people and most of all we need our loved ones.

So make time for your loved ones, especially your children. Enjoy their company and make the most of every minute with them.

Never focus on work to the exclusion of your family and friends. Without them you have nothing. Money is important of course but people are much more important.

Never lose sight of the people in your life.

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8 Top Business Tips for Success

Tips for Business SuccessIntroduction:

I read an article recently about a guy with a college degree who was feeling disillusioned because he couldn’t find a job. At least not one that met his expectations relative to the type of job he felt his degree merited.

Well it’s a tough world out there, as I’m sure you know only too well dear reader, and despite what some people may think, the world doesn’t owe us a living. The world owes us nothing and it’s down to us to make a life for ourselves.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money and there will always be people with stuff that needs doing. So rather than seeking a job, perhaps we’d all be better off if we focused on seeking customers for the services we could provide.

That’s at the heart of what business is all about, providing people with solutions to their problems for profit, and there is much to be said for becoming an entrepreneur.

The advantages of self-employment:

There are many advantages to being self-employed.

For instance, not having to deal with office politics is a big advantage for a start.

And of course being the beneficiary of all of the proceeds of your efforts is another good reason.

Instead of making a lot of money for other people, you make it all for yourself. The harder you work the more you make for yourself too.

Unless you’re a lawyer or an investment banker, the chances are the only way you’ll ever make serious money is through building your own business. Building a business that one day you’ll be able to sell for a lot of money.

However remember this; you might think that if you’re self-employed then you’re your own boss. Well that’s not true. The customer is the boss.

Serve customers badly and you won’t be serving them for very long, that’s for sure.

The first rule of business is that you must ‘know thy customer’.

You must gain a deep understanding of the products, services and marketing that will appeal to your target customer.

One size will not fit all and each market will require a different approach.

Now going into business is not for the faint-hearted. You must be prepared to work very hard, at least in the early days.

However, if you can provide your target customers with real solutions to real problems then you can make serious money.

If someone else is already offering a solution to the target problem then your solution must be better than theirs in some way if it is to sell.

Creating great products and offering great customer service is the route to business success. However never forget your reputation and image. These things matter too.

Make sure you create an image that will appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Running your own business will be a challenge but it can also be extremely rewarding, both financially and in terms of a sense of achievement.

Remember also that running a small business is not a whole lot different to running a large business. The only real difference is one of scale. The key issues are always the same.

So here are some tips for would-be entrepreneurs:-

Business Tips for Success:

1. Control your costs:

Money comes into your business and money goes out. It’s that simple.

However fail to ensure that the former is always greater than the latter and trouble will follow at some point, whatever the size of your business.

A bigger business might be able to weather the storm a bit longer but the consequences of expenditure consistently exceeding income will be the exactly same. Keep losing money and eventually your business will go bust.

Take every opportunity to maximize your revenue and always keep your costs as low as you can. And never, ever lose sight of cash flow.

Don’t spend money unless it is absolutely necessary.

Ask yourself, do I really need to spend this money? What will I get in return? Can I achieve the same result at less or even no cost?

It might surprise you to learn how frequently it is possible to avoid cost, whilst still doing all the things big businesses do.

The key message here is that you must keep an iron-grip on costs and you must manage the flow of money carefully.

2. Do your own market research:

Every product should solve a problem for your customer and you should have some idea of what that problem is and how your product will solve it relative to the products offered by your competition.

Just because you think you’ve got a great product, doesn’t mean you have in the eyes of customers. Your opinion means nothing if there are not enough people willing to buy your product at the price you’re trying to charge for it.

If your product won’t sell then potentially your business could be in trouble.

Perhaps you think you’ve spotted a gap in the market?

If it’s a genuine gap then you might be on to a winner. However a gap in the market doesn’t always guarantee that there is a market within that gap. Maybe there’s a reason for the gap which you’ve yet to understand.

In business, the trick is to find out what people really want and then offer it to them.

How do you find that out?

One very good way is simply to ask them yourself.

I’m not referring to your family and friends here. They’ll be far too polite to give you any meaningful feedback.

You must talk to real customers, if and when you have them, and potential customers.

You can conduct some of your own market research in your local shopping mall or wherever you think your target customers might congregate. And don’t be shy. Only by actually talking to people can you confirm whether your ideas have real potential.

So identify some basic questions, stand there with a clipboard and just start asking people, as politely as possible.

Often they’ll be far more helpful than you might expect.

And don’t forget you can always use the Internet too.

Search engines like Google have keyword search tools which are free to use. These tools allow you to get a ‘rough and ready’ measure of what people are searching for and how frequently.

Market research doesn’t have to be expensive. As a small business entrepreneur it is possible to do it yourself. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this activity but it’s essential that you do it.

Your results might not be quite as scientific as those produced by the professional market research people but they will provide you with a rough guide and that’ll be good enough in the first instance.

3. Advertising costs money: is there a better way?

It’s true that visibility matters. For your business and your products it’s essential.

Your products might be the best in the world but they won’t sell at all if potential customers have no idea they exist. Surely that much is obvious.

The question is, how does any business ensure that customers have visibility of its products? The obvious answer is advertising of course.

However media advertising can be very expensive and it’s a cost which new businesses often cannot afford.

One small advert in the back of a glossy magazine can cost you a lot of money and yet you have to ask yourself whether that would be money well spent?

How often do you notice the small advertisements in the back of a magazine? In my case, the answer is not very often.

With so many advertisements competing for my attention I tend to filter them all out. I’m willing to bet that you do too dear reader.

So, if you’re not careful, money spent on advertising can be money wasted in my experience.

A better approach might be to use some creative thinking with a focus on public relations.

Smart entrepreneurs know that business is show business. It’s all about getting noticed.

For example the entrepreneur Richard Branson is a brilliant exponent at getting media attention at little or no financial cost to his business.

It helps that he’s a likeable guy of course but he’s also clever and creative in his approach.

If you have an interesting back story perhaps the local press, local radio or even television might be willing to run a story on you and your business and the products you have to offer?

Social media can be a very powerful medium for gaining attention for your business too.

Social media is also a useful way of driving traffic to your company’s website, particularly Pinterest which is an incredible tool.

Then there’s using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques on your website content to ensure you drive traffic to your site from the search engines.

Let’s face it you do need to appear on the first page of a Google search if there’s to be any chance of anyone noticing you and your business. However if you can make that happen you can get enormous amounts for traffic from Google and other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo.

Make sure you offer visitors to your company website the opportunity for signing up to a regular email newsletter. And give them an incentive to sign up.

This could be a free report or perhaps a discount code for one of your products.

How about running a competition using your company’s fan page on Facebook or your company website?

The price of say a smartphone or a Kindle or other electronic device as a prize would be cheaper than the cost of a small advert in a glossy magazine but it’s more likely to get noticed and it’ll probably generate a lot more excitement.

If you have a car or van; don’t forget that it can be emblazoned with your company logo, your website details and product information on the back, sides and front. Even on the roof.

It would be free advertising as you’re driving around.

Park your vehicle at a big event attended by thousands of people and you’re beginning to master the art of guerrilla marketing.

The bottom line is that creative thinking and public relations can produce powerful results in your quest for visibility at a fraction of the cost of advertising. The key message is; be creative.

4. Don’t make yourself indispensable:

The biggest mistake any entrepreneur or business manager can make is to think that every decision should be made by them.

If you’ve started a business from scratch you tend to form an emotional bond with it. It becomes your baby and you become very protective of it.

That’s natural of course but as the business grows you’ll have so many things to do that you couldn’t possibly do them all. You could try, of course. However if you try to do everything you’ll find yourself falling behind in key areas like product sourcing, sales and keeping your accounts up to date.

Fall behind and it becomes very hard to catch up. Potentially it is also very damaging for the business.

So you have to learn the art of delegation.

A good start would be to document every task and process within the business and then create an Operations Manual. This can include everything from the preferred method for answering the phone to completing invoices and dealing with complaints.

It can also include the degree of flexibility which you are delegating to staff, so they can get on with basic tasks allowing you to get on with those activities which are much more important for achieving business success.

No business should be dependent solely on one person.

If it is and that person gets seriously ill or has an accident then obviously the business would be in trouble very quickly and it would struggle.

Delegate basic activities to your staff and you can be sure that the business will continue to function even when you’re not around.

It will also give you a bit more thinking time for steering to the company towards bigger and better things.

The key message here is that you must delegate. Never delude yourself into thinking that only you can do a particular task.

5. Charge sensible prices:

It’s easy when you’re a small business to undervalue your products and your time. The result is that you undercharge for what you have to offer.

This is particularly true when professionals are selling their expertise and time on the basis of a consultancy arrangement.

It’s common for first-timers to lack the confidence to charge what they might perceive to be a high rate for their services.

The problem is that selling things cheaply can be counter-productive because customers then think they’re getting an inferior product or service and can be put off.

It is a fact that price can often be used as a proxy measure for quality when your business is being judged.

You have to be very business-like when considering the pricing of your products and services.

So look at what your competitors are charging and then analyse where you think your products and services fit into the market.

If you struggle with that idea then you can always seek guidance from someone else, like a fellow business owner or your accountant.

However you must always remember that you must believe in your products and services. If you don’t then why should anyone else?

You must project confidence.

If you don’t have the courage of your convictions then the chances are that your business will never succeed.

Believe in yourself and charge what you’re really worth. Sell yourself on the basis of the value you bring.

6. Make the best use of technology:

Sometimes small business owners think that because they are small they can act in a small way. However that can be a mistake.

Don’t be afraid to invest in your business. For instance investing in up-to-date technology like the right phone system and websites do not have to be expensive but they can be the difference between a customer contacting you or not.

These days no business, large or small, can operate without a website.

And that website needs to be as user-friendly as it possibly can be.

Make sure your website provides customers and potential customers with the opportunity to sign up for a regular email newsletter. And as suggested earlier, offer them encouragement so they do sign up.

Ensure also that your telephone system allows customers to reach you at their first attempt. Certainly customers won’t make too many attempts to call you before they will simply go elsewhere.

If you don’t know how to do all this yourself then go on a course or seek guidance from someone with the right expertise.

Good communications will pay handsome dividends over time.

7. Set goals:

You have to know what it is you’re trying to achieve, if you are to have any chance of successfully achieving it.

Never set your sights too low either. Set yourself a challenge and then put all your energy into achieving it.

Once you’ve set a goal then you need to establish a plan as to how it is going to be achieved.

For instance if your goal is to achieve a certain level of turnover over the next year, you have to break that down into the small steps you will need to take for it to be achieved.

How many sales will you need to achieve each day, each week and each month?

What implications will those sales targets have for production?

Do you have enough sales staff to generate that amount of business?

And so on.

Always create a plan and review it regularly making adjustments as and when necessary.

8. If you got a great idea then do something with it:

How many great ideas never see the light of day because the person with the idea fails to do anything about it?

And how many times does someone with an idea see someone else come along with the same idea and beat them to market?

Procrastination stops many entrepreneurs from cashing in on a great idea. Don’t let this be you.

If you’re waiting for the perfect time to do anything you will be waiting for the rest of your life.

Now is always the perfect time.

Don’t wait until you think the economy will be better or your children have left home or some other arbitrary barrier.

The right time to start your business is right now.

So go for it. Yes you’ll make mistakes. You won’t get everything right first time. You won’t become an instant millionaire either.

However by getting started you will be heading in the right direction and you will learn along the way.

Hard work combined with implementing good ideas will get you there eventually.

Concluding Remarks:

I hope these tips prove useful to you dear reader.

It was not intended to be a comprehensive guide for entrepreneurs and I recognise that you may many of your own ideas.

I love to hear them, so please feel free to share them with our readers.

Polite request:

If you found this article useful then please share it on social media with your friends. When you share, everyone wins.

Please share it now and I’ll be ever so grateful. You’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

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Other articles you might also find interesting:

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

How to find the right job for you: Simply Explained

Do you enjoy your work? Do you have a job you love? Do you wake-up each morning filled with enthusiasm for the day ahead? Alternatively maybe you just feel your job allows you to earn an income but beyond that you can’t wait until 5pm when the working day is over? Perhaps you’re constantly asking how to find the right job for you? If that’s you then you’re not alone.

The acid test when you’re not sure is to ask yourself the lottery question. What does that mean? If means you ask yourself this, “If I won the lottery and money ceased to be an issue; would I continue to do the work I’m doing now or would I try something else?

Yes of course if you won the lottery you’d have a little fun with the money first, but eventually your life would need a sense of purpose and routine again. So how would you fill your time then?

If you enjoy what you do, and you are recognized as being very good at it, then you’ll do your job well and you’ll be successful at what you do. And if you enjoy what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Now how good would that be?

So if you’re not happy with your job right now, the next question to ask yourself is, “What do I really want to be?

To answer that question, you really need to consider:-

  1. What are you good at?
  2. What do you enjoy doing?

These are quite different things but if you can find the sweet spot between them then you have the basis for finding a job you’ll love. So the steps to job heaven are as follows:-

STEP 1: What are you good at?

Not merely competent but really good at? Think about that question carefully and be honest with yourself.

What activities are intuitive to you? Things you can do easily and readily without having to give them too much thought?

Ask friends and colleagues for their views, and ask them to be really honest with you. Ask people you work with about the tasks they consider you the absolutely, first choice ‘go to’ person?

Gather together this information and make a list.

STEP 2: What do you enjoy doing?

Then make a list of all the things you really enjoy doing.

Which activities really give you a buzz? What activities get you so absorbed that you really lose track of time? What activities would you do for free or as a hobby, if you couldn’t make a living at them?

Paul McCartney once said that if he couldn’t have made a living out of writing songs and playing music, he’d have done it as a hobby, simply because he loved it so much.

What activities make you feel the same way? Make that list and don’t be reasonable.

All this requires time for reflection and careful thought, as well as feedback from other people. So do give it the time it deserves.

Don’t jump to conclusions. You do want to ensure you get it right don’t you?

STEP 3: Where is the common ground between your lists?

When you have your two lists ready, the final step is to identify the common ground between them, the point at which the two lists intersect.

If you find an item that is contained on both lists then you have found the Holy Grail. Finding something you’re genuinely good at and have a real talent for, and which is also something you’d really enjoy, will give you the greatest chance of success.

It is essential you find the common ground between your lists because:-

  1. If you really enjoy it, you’ll stick with it.
  2. If you’re really good at it, someone will notice

And if you get it right, sometimes people will sprinkle fairy dust on you too.

Finding job heaven is never about luck. If you’re doing something you enjoy doing and you’re doing it well, you’ll stick with it long enough to get someone’s attention. And when you get their attention, you’ll dazzle them because you’re doing it well.

That’s not luck; it’s hard work, perseverance and timing.

Once you’ve identified what you want, the next question is, “How do you get it?” That will be the subject of another post.

Have you managed to find job heaven? If so, how did you succeed?

If you’ve any ideas you can share then that will really help your fellow readers.

Polite request:

If you found this article useful then please share it on social media with your friends. When you share, everyone wins.

Please share it now and I’ll be ever so grateful. You’ll be helping a keen blogger reach a wider audience.

Thank you.

Other articles you might also find interesting:

© Roy J Sutton and Mann Island Media Limited 2019. All Rights Reserved.

9 tips for getting the most from your work

Getting the most from your workDo you feel valued by your employer? Now just think about that question for a second dear reader.

I’m sure you’re aware that companies are very good at circulating messages which include platitudes like, “Our employees are our most important asset. We value our employees.

However you have to ask yourself how many of them really mean it? The answer is few, if any, in my experience.

Now to be fair, many employers probably think they mean it at the time such messages are circulated to the workforce.

Staff in the Human Resources department may be genuine when they issue such statements. Nevertheless the reality is almost always quite different, however right on and trendy your employer tries to be.

Rarely are employees truly valued by their employers.

Most companies regard people as a commodity to be used when they’re useful and then discarded when they’re perceived to be no longer of use.

So what does this all mean for you?

Well for a start it means that you have to look after your own interests.

If you don’t look after your own interests then no one else will, that’s for sure. If you think someone, somewhere is thinking about your best interests then, with the exception of your parents, then that’s unlikely at best.

It’s all down to you to get the most from your job and your career.

You must decide what you want; you must decide where and how you can add the greatest value; you must decide what’s the next logical move for you, in pursuit of your goals; and you must decide on the timing of when it’s appropriate to move.

Occasionally you might get lucky and a great opportunity will fall straight into your lap. However that doesn’t happen often, if at all.

Remember that you are the captain of your own ship.

So you decide where it goes and you must steer it accordingly.

It would be a mistake to rely on others to plan your career, quite simply because they won’t and it would be naïve to think otherwise.

So today I offer you my 9 tips for getting the most from work.

Getting the most from your work1. Take a pragmatic view:

Now, reading this,  you might think that I have a jaundiced view of companies and corporate life.

Actually I don’t; this is simply a realistic and pragmatic view based on many years of experience.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money.

If a company has stuff that needs doing then they are willing to pay good money to get it done.

However once that work’s been done, or is no longer required, then employers see no reason to retain people. Why would they? After all they’re in business to make money.

So be realistic and take a pragmatic view. That way you won’t be disappointed.

2. Recognise the psychological contract:

Let’s be fair, the company’s approach is no different than the one we’d take as individuals. If we need our house painting, we hire a painter and decorator. Our house gets painted and when the job’s been done we pay the painter for the work completed.

We don’t start worrying about the painter’s job satisfaction or career development. The psychological contract between us and the painter ends when the bill has been settled for the work completed. That’s the way it is. Simple.

So why should we expect our employers to be any different?

Companies are not charities or job creation schemes. Commercial companies have to make a profit, if they’re to grow and survive, and costs have an impact on profit, obviously.

The psychological contract we have with our employer is one where we do stuff for them and then we’re paid for our efforts at the end of each month. We’re the hired help and once we’ve been paid that’s where the psychological contract ends as far as our employer is concerned.

Your employer will not spend his or her time worrying about your aspirations or your dreams. Once again, it would be naïve to think otherwise.

3. Accept commercial reality:

Commercial reality whether we like it not is that all companies exist to make money for their owners. It’s that simple. Why would anyone start a company for any other reason?

So if you think that your loyalty will be appreciated by the average employer then I think you’re either mistaken or deluded.

Employers will take everything you give and a bit more besides, but once you’re no longer required they will be as ruthless as they have to be.

If they weren’t able to be ruthless when necessary then that could put the whole company and the jobs of everyone involved at risk. So there’s a good business reason for the way companies tend to operate.

Furthermore we don’t spend our money unnecessarily, so why should we expect a company to be any different?

From time to time you’ll meet leaders of real stature and class who will treat you very well. However they’re the exception rather than the rule.

Most senior executives are driven only by self-interest. Once you’re no longer of use, they will be as ruthless as they have to be. That’s the way the world works, so don’t expect it to be any different for you.

4. Don’t expect loyalty to be reciprocated:

The point I’m making is that you must be ruthless too. You must look after your own interests, constantly.

It’s perfectly reasonable for you to be working with your own agenda in mind. Deliver the results for which you’re being paid of course but always with one eye on your own best interests.

In any job you should make sure that you know what you’re meant to be doing and what you’re meant to be delivering.

What you’re delivering must add value. You should know what that value is and you should be confident that it’s not something that can be done by a machine. If it is, then the chances are that one day it will be and you will be out of a job.

Never do anything out of a misplaced sense of loyalty because that loyalty is unlikely to be reciprocated. At work you have to be very business-like in everything you do.

The name of the game from your standpoint is to earn a living. If it’s not obvious to you what your contribution is meant to be then you should start to worry. If you cannot explain what you’re meant to be doing in a couple of lines then it’s time to move on.

If you don’t know what you’re meant to be doing then the chances are that your boss is wondering too. And once your boss starts to question your role then there is a risk that it won’t be too long before your job is eliminated in a future cost-saving exercise.

5. Look after your own interests:

Remember this: No one owes you anything.

Life is what you make it. As I said earlier, you’re the captain of your own ship. You should be steering that ship in a direction that suits you and your ambitions. Steer the good ship ‘Me’ in the direction you wish to go and not in the direction someone else wants you to go.

You should be working to your own agenda and within the framework of your own plans.

If you think your employer has plans for you then you’re fooling yourself.

You will only figure in your employers plans for as long as it makes good business-sense for them to include you in those plans.

If they can’t see how you’ll add value to their plans then a parting of the ways might not be far away.

6. Take every opportunity to develop your experience:

You may make mistakes occasionally and you may do things for employers which for whatever reason come back to bite you. If you do, don’t worry. Just learn any lessons from the experience and move on.

Lessons learned are far more valuable to you than anything someone else can tell you. That commodity based on life’s lessons is known as experience and it’s a very valuable commodity indeed.

Take every opportunity to broaden your experience and grow. Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. The more you have to offer the more employable you’ll be and the greater will be your financial rewards.

7. Have realistic expectations:

Never expect loyalty from your employer and you won’t be disappointed.

You’re not indispensable and neither is anyone else.

If you weren’t around then someone else would be hired quickly and the business would move on. And in all probability you’ll soon be forgotten.

The chances are that someone else will take the credit for any significant contribution you’ve made but you’ll probably take the blame for everything that’s wrong, including things in which you had no involvement at all.

That’s life, unfortunately.

8. Work to you own agenda:

If you look after your own interests then your achievements will be all yours and you’ll be on the road to success.

You have to carve out the success you want; no one else will do it for you.

Add real value to your employer for as long as you can or for as long as it makes sense within your own plans for you to do so and then it’s time to move on to the next opportunity.

Don’t get overly sentimental; you’ve got to be as ruthless with your employer as they would be with you. It’s perfectly reasonable to work to your own agenda, and that’s exactly what successful people do.

9. Keep reading; keep learning:

Never underestimate the value of reading and continual learning.

The more you read, the more you learn and the more you learn the greater will be your value.

Read one good book related to your work or personal development each week and over a year that’s the equivalent of a PhD’s worth of knowledge gained.

Increase your knowledge by that amount every year and you’ll be light years ahead of your colleagues.

Increase your value and you increase your ability to earn more. And what’s not to like about that?

So what are your views?

Now I’d be interested to hear what you think dear reader. I’d love it if you could share your own experiences with other readers.

If you’d like to add your own views about the world of work then please feel free to add your comments below.

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How to sell anything to anybody

Selling is a subject that often gets a bad name. Some people even look down on those who choose make their living by selling.

However we’re all trying to sell something all of the time. Even if it’s just the skills we have or a service we can provide, if we’re to make a living then we must sell something, wouldn’t you agree dear reader?

Learning the art of successful selling is actually very important and everyone should seek to improve their selling skills, if only to ensure that they can sell themselves effectively.

Selling is a process and by learning a few simple techniques you can improve your ability to sell.

So what are these techniques?

1. Know your product:

Ultimately, it’s all about the product.

If you want to sell anything successfully then you need to know your product really well and you need to believe in your product too.

That product has to be something that you would buy yourself.

You need to know the product in detail, all the features and all the benefits; all the advantages and all the disadvantages.

Then you need to know all about your competitors’ products that your customers could buy as an alternative to your own.

This is important if you are to position your product against that of the competition and to counter any reasons given by your customer as to why they might be reluctant to buy.

You really do need to be able to talk about your product favourably relative to any other options your customer may have.

2. Know the problem your product solves:

Ultimately, every product must solve a problem for the customer. A product must make the customer’s life easier in some way.

If a product doesn’t solve a problem for the target customer, why would they buy it? Why would any customer part with good money unless the product made their life easier?

So it’s simple really. You must have a good understanding of the problem or problems for which your product can be an excellent solution.

And you must be able to explain this is simple, straightforward language.

How to sell anything to anybody3. Capture buying intent:

Cold-calling is the most inefficient and soul-destroying sales approach there could possibly be. Phoning or door-stepping people and saying, “Want to buy this?” will have a very low success rate.

The key to successful selling is capturing warm sales leads. In other words, you must capture buying intent.

If a customer walks into a shirt shop then you know they’re looking for a shirt and therefore you have a very good chance of selling them one.

So find ways to engage people who are actively looking for something like the product which you are selling.

To do this you’ll need to ensure that your customers and potential customers have visibility of your product.

You must raise awareness of the product, as well the features and benefits and the value it offers. You must create desirability too.

4. Know the customer’s needs:

Your product should have a target customer. You must know the sort of person for whom the product offers a solution.

In other words, you must know who the product is aimed at and what their needs are likely to be.

To understand the customer’s needs you may need to ask some questions first.

For instance, using the shirt selling example again, a customer may be looking for something to wear for a formal occasion or perhaps they’re looking for something more casual. You want to ensure that the shirt you sell them is right for their needs.

So you must identify the ways in which your product will satisfy the customer’s needs because, if you make a sale, you want the customer to feel they’ve got exactly what they wanted.

You want to ensure that they get a good buying experience. You certainly don’t want them to feel like they’ve been cheated in some way.

5. Sell the benefits:

You don’t sell the product to the customer, you sell the benefits.

In what ways will your product improve the customer’s life? In what ways will your product potentially be an answer to the customer’s prayers?

In what ways does your product offer good value for money?

You don’t have to be the cheapest on the market but you do need to be able to convince a customer that it makes sense to buy your product rather than going for the cheapest.

A customer won’t part with good money unless they believe your product will add value to them in some way.

6. Know why your product is their best option:

Now dear reader, if you’re in business, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that it’s a highly competitive world out there.

Put simply, today’s customers have plenty of options.

You must be able to convince a customer on why your product is their best option.

If you’ve got a good story to tell about your product then you can stimulate the customer’s interest.

And once you’ve got the customer interested then you can gently apply pressure to close the sale.

And don’t be shy when it comes to applying pressure gradually.

Business is business and if you don’t close the sale you can be sure that someone else will.

There’s an art to knowing how much pressure to apply of course.

You shouldn’t push too hard because that can result in a negative reaction from the customer.

It can also leave customers feeling like they’ve been sold something they didn’t really need.

If that happens, you’ve made a sale but lost a customer. That’s counter-productive.

The last thing you want is an unhappy customer because they’re likely to tell a lot of people about a bad experience.

Bad publicity and customers bad-mouthing you can really hurt your business if you’re not careful, needless to say I’m sure.

 Conclusion:

No business or individual can succeed without making sales.

If it’s your job to sell then you really have got to sell. And if you don’t sell, you’ve failed. Simple!

If you don’t make sales and meet your targets, then the result is likely to be that you’ll lose your job very quickly.

Business can be an unforgiving environment, as I’m sure you’re only too well aware dear reader.

No company can afford the luxury of having people on the payroll who don’t deliver the results for which they are paid.

And let’s face it, we’re all paid to deliver results.

In order to sell, the question to which you must have a very good answer is, “Why should the customer buy my product?

If you’ve got a good answer and you’ve targeted the right customer then you’ve got a good chance of making a sale.

You also want to be confident that you can leave the customer feeling that in exchange for the money they’ve spent, they’ve received good value and a good buying experience.

So learn the art of successful selling. It will pay you a handsome dividend.

Further reading:

Now there are plenty of good books and excellent authors on the subject of selling.

Here are some I really like and which I’ve found very useful for improving my own sales skills. I recommend that you read them dear reader:-

The Psychology of Selling: The Art of Closing Sales – By Brian Tracy
The Art of Closing the Sale – By Brian Tracy
How to Master the Art of Selling – by Tom Hopkins

All of these books are available on Amazon and you can check them out further by clicking on the links.

DISCLOSURE: Please be aware that there are Amazon affiliate links in this post. So should you make a purchase via one of my links then I will receive a small commission from Amazon. There will be no extra charge to you as the purchaser. These commissions serve only to pay for the upkeep of this website. Your understanding is appreciated. Thank you.

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Brian Tracy: Habits of Success

Habits of SuccessIf you want to be successful, then you must develop good habits. That’s a reasonable statement, don’t you think dear reader?

However what habits should they be? That’s not quite so easy to answer, I hear you say.

Well fear not in the video included here Brian Tracy presents some interesting ideas on the habits of success.

I admire Brian Tracy and I listen to his audio programs in my car all the time.

In my opinion, Brian Tracy is always excellent and always full of wise words and good advice.

And I can tell you that this video is well worth your time.

So let Brian tell you more about habits which he believes are consistent with achieving success. Take a few minutes out of your schedule because you will find it well worth a little piece of your time.

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15 Quotes by Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens is remembered by us all as Mark Twain, his pen name.

He was one of the greatest American writer’s as well as being a humourist, entrepreneur, publisher and lecturer.

In short he was a major talent and much of what he had to say is worthy of our attention.

So here are 15 quotes by Mark Twain to emphasise my point.

Quotes by Mark Twain:

  1. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything. ~Mark Twain
  2. Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company. ~Mark Twain
  3. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. ~Mark Twain
  4. The only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d rather not. ~Mark Twain
  5. A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read. ~Mark Twain
  6. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. ~Mark Twain
  7. Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. ~Mark Twain
  8. Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others. ~Mark Twain
  9. Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable. ~Mark Twain
  10. Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. ~Mark Twain
  11. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. ~Mark Twain
  12. The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. ~Mark Twain
  13. Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. ~Mark Twain
  14. The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. ~Mark Twain
  15. I never let schooling interfere with my education. ~Mark Twain

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15 Quotes by Steve Jobs

Quotes by Steve JobsSteve Jobs was an American entrepreneur and best known as the driving force behind the success of Apple Inc. Together with Steve Wozniak, he was a pioneer of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.

Famously he dropped out of college and proved, if proof were needed, that you don’t necessarily need qualifications or a college Degree to make an impact and leave a genuine legacy to the world.

What you need is passion and a desire to do something well and to do it better than everyone else. And Steve Jobs had that in spades.

Sadly Steve Jobs died, far too early, at age 56 on October 5, 2011. His death being due to respiratory arrest related to the pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour for which he was being treated at the time.

However his influence on business and technology was enormous and his ideas resonate with people to this day.

In my opinion, he was one of life’s great thinkers and I think his views on life and work are worth reflecting on.

So here are 15 quotes by Steve Jobs which I think are worth a few minutes of your time.

Read them; reflect on them. And then consider your life and where you’re going. Are you living your life with passion or are you just going through the motions?

As Steve Jobs implied, our time is precious. We must live our own lives our own way. And we cannot be defined by how other people think we should be. We must be ourselves.

Quotes by Steve Jobs:

  1. Stay hungry, stay foolish. ~Steve Jobs
  2. I want to put a ding in the universe. ~Steve Jobs
  3. We’re just enthusiastic about what we do. ~Steve Jobs
  4. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. ~Steve Jobs
  5. My favourite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. ~Steve Jobs
  6. We hire people who want to make the best things in the world. ~Steve Jobs
  7. Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful, that’s what matters to me. ~Steve Jobs
  8. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. ~Steve Jobs
  9. You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. ~Steve Jobs
  10. That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. ~Steve Jobs
  11. For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something. ~Steve Jobs
  12. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. ~Steve Jobs
  13. I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. ~Steve Jobs
  14. I think money is a wonderful thing because it enables you to do things. It enables you to invest in ideas that don’t have a short-term payback. ~Steve Jobs
  15. As individuals, people are inherently good. I have a somewhat more pessimistic view of people in groups. And I remain extremely concerned when I see what’s happening in our country, which is in many ways the luckiest place in the world. We don’t seem to be excited about making our country a better place for our kids. ~Steve Jobs

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Why enjoying yourself can never be a waste of time

Enjoying yourselfTime you enjoyed wasting, was not wasted. ~John Lennon

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a great believer in making the most of your time.

In particular, a constant message is that you should not waste your time. However, as with everything, it is important to strike a balance.

As John Lennon reminds us in his observation above, truly enjoying yourself can never be a waste of time.

Enjoying yourself and having fun has positive benefits for your health.

For a start, it reduces stress. Also what would be the point of life if you couldn’t have a little fun occasionally?

Remember the words in that old Music Hall song, “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think. Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink.”

You can’t be serious all the time. Sometimes you’ve just got to have some fun. So go on. You know you want to.

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