Starting a business is a tough thing to do, no doubt.  Drumming up the first customers is never easy, and even then, making money is a lot easier said than done, and reaching the ultimate goal of creating a successful business can seem near impossible.  I recently came across an article by entrepreneur Clay Clark, whose DJ business developed from a David Worley Fannie Mae Businesssimple business operating out of a college dorm room to a massive company.  Over the course of this growth, Clark claims to have made plenty of mistakes which he learned from, but not all entrepreneurs can afford to make such mistakes all of the time.  In the article, Clark wrote about the essential tips to ensuring that a business thrives.

First, claims Clark, you need to think big.  Find goals that you’re passionate about, and then pursue them.  The bigger the better.  Remember that a goal is a dream with a deadline, and keep that goal in mind.  If you don’t impose the deadline on yourself, then your dream will never be accomplished.

While getting up and selling yourself doesn’t come naturally to everybody, it’s a necessary tool to creating a successful business.  If you can’t sell your product, then nobody will want to buy it.  If you can’t learn to sell, then you should partner with somebody who can, otherwise your business will fail.

Sometimes, even meeting the minimum requirement on something can be difficult.  But keep at it, and over-deliver on your promises and deadlines.  If somebody wants you to do something by Thursday, do it by Wednesday, and do more than they asked for.  If you over-deliver now, in the future, you will be overpaid, which is never a bad thing.  In a similar vein, it’s important to be a person of integrity.  Always deliver on your promises, no matter what.  Building a foundation for success on top of a solid reputation is a great way to exponentially grow your returns.  To ensure that you’re delivering the same thing to everybody, it’s also important that you standardize everything that you do, which will help you effectively scale when the business grows.

Successful people are never content with where they are, and always looking to improve what they already have.  Take, for instance, Apple.  When Apple created the iPod, it was a revolutionary game-changer, and made the struggling company a hot commodity.  While Steve Jobs could have sat on his winnings for the rest of his life after this, Apple continued to innovate, working to develop new products.

As a businessman, you should develop mutually beneficial relationships with everybody that you can.  If you can develop sincere, mutually beneficial relationships with your customers based on trust and consistency, then your customer base will grow rapidly.  When your business grows, recruit a team with the right people.  As you progress forward, reward your best people and remove your bottom people when necessary.  If you can’t fire your worst employee, Clark says, then your best customers will fire you.

In any business, there are going to be some low points.  Not if, but when you fail, get up by your bootstraps and learn from it.  In addition, if you and/or your team does something successfully, celebrate it, and learn what you can from it so that it can lead to even more successes in the future.  In the same vein, remember what Warren Buffet said: be greedy when the market is fearful, and fearful when the market is greedy.  Let’s say that people are fearful of some crisis and want to liquidate their assets.  This is when you buy!

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