Friday, June 18, 2010

Small Business Success Tips - Persistence

A ridiculous claim has repeatedly been made for the value of persistence in a small business, which boils down to, "If you persist, you will succeed." The problem with untrue claims is that when they are rejected, any related truth is rejected also. So let us sort out the truths and untruths about persistence.

Starting a small business usually turns out to be harder than the owner anticipated. Almost all small businesses go through financial strains, especially when beginning, and take far more of the owner's time than he imagined he could supply. Frustration and discouragement are common. If your business does not fit this mold, but is succeeding easily, good for you, and keep on doing what you are doing. Otherwise, read on.

The two obvious truths relating to persistence are 1) if you give up, you lose, and 2) you cannot give up and win. The only other two possibilities are persist and lose, and persist and win. Logically, then, there is only one way to win, and that is to persist. Persistence does not guarantee success, but it provides the chance.

How does a small business owner turn persistence into success? One major action will do it.

Keep improving.

Every aspect of your business, from production to sales to finances, can continually be made better, as in more efficient and more effective. In short, quality can be increased. All the principles of quality come into play in every area, but the most important is the first: Quality is an Attitude. You have to want and intend improvement, across the board.

Persistence without improvement is spinning your wheels until you have dug them into a rut too deep to drive out of.

Two other principles of quality are Learn and Fix. Here is where the bulk of your persistence time will be spent.

The more you learn about the various aspects of your business, the better you will be at them. No matter how busy you are, your future success depends on spending some time every day on learning. Most of your learning can be from articles and ebooks on the internet. Some will be from books and audio or video tutorials. We are not talking about learning from experience; that falls under the next section. We mean learning the theoretical and practical information about what to do and how to do it for every function in your business.

Then there is the School of Hard Knocks: learning by experience. You make a mistake, or you do not get the results you expected from an action, and you learn from it. First you fix it, to keep overall quality up, and then you figure out why it happened, and how to prevent it in the future.

What is the enemy of persistence? Discouragement. Whether you feel discouraged by how long it is taking to make progress, or because people are actively discouraging you, the best answer to discouragement is to acknowledge its presence, then spit in its face. Persistence almost always takes longer than you want it to. Discouragement is just a temporary reminder of that fact.

Persistence alone does not guarantee success. Persistence with continual improvement does.

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