As business owners, we are continually bombarded with unbelievable promises of get rich quick schemes. It seems, every day someone has discovered some amazing secret formula that they are willing to share with you, which will make you millions, for just $99.95…plus tax, of course.
You know, if I had a secret formula on how to make millions, I wouldn’t be selling it for $99.95 (many of these schemes just show you how to sell to others what you just bought!)
Everyone is looking for a success formula— a ‘Silver Bullet’. Maybe a recipe that you can follow, like the ones you see in books by TV chefs. Isn’t it funny that when you follow the recipe, the result never looks quite like the picture in the book?
Why don’t these recipe books work for most people? The problem is usually not with the recipe. It is that each step in the recipe is actually several steps which assume a certain level of skill. It’s like giving someone who has never driven a car, a map on how to get from one side of the country to the other. There is nothing wrong with the directions, but they do assume you know how to drive a car.
So why are there so many of these offers?
It’s because people who are addicted to the “Business Opportunity Three-step” keep throwing money at them.
What is the “Business opportunity three-step”?
1. Irrational exuberance at finding the secret formula to business success.
2. Disenchantment when they find that the formula requires hard work, persistence and a step out of their comfort zone, and results are not instantaneous.
3. Frustration and Blame for others when they find the formula does not work for them when they stop following the formula.
So, what is success?
You could define success as being recognized by others for your achievements.
You could define it as achieving what you want to achieve.
I prefer the second definition. People generally regarded as successful have their own personal motivation. Whether their goal was a worthy cause, or business success, recognition by others was usually not the motivation, although that may occur as a by-product of their success.
Some people believe luck has a lot to do with success. Being in the right place at the right time. So let’s take an example of extreme good luck — winning the lottery. No effort, just luck. Yet studies of lottery winners have shown most blow their good fortune in under two years, and not to mention the alienation of friends and relatives making for many, their life a misery.
When Samuel Goldwyn of MGM fame, was asked whether luck was a part of his success, he answered, “Well there may have been some luck, but the funny thing was, the harder I worked, the luckier I got!” So I think we can agree that luck has little to do with success.
So what are the keys to success?
Talk to any successful person you know, or read their books, and it’s the same formula. They started with a vision for their business about which they were passionate. They didn’t wait for luck, they created a plan. This enabled them to understand the value of their time, and importance in gaining knowledge.
The next step was to have a marketing strategy for their business. They didn’t just open their doors, and hope that someone would walk in and buy. They needed to have systems that would ensure their efficiency, effectiveness and profitability, and make their business independent of them. And they needed people management systems as all successful businesses depend on other people for their success.
Finally they had to have the discipline to implement their plans. These are the “Five pillars of business success”.
When you hear all this, you may be saying to yourself: “This is nothing new. I know all this. What I am looking for is the secret formula. The short cut to success without all the hard work. Where is the ‘Silver Bullet’?” I think the secret to success was very well expressed by Dr Ivan Misner. He said: The Secret of Success is the uncommon application of common knowledge. So the question for you today, is are you going to continue to search for the ‘Silver Bullet’ and continue the Business Opportunity Three-Step, are you going to rely on luck, and buy a lottery ticket — unfortunately the favorite wealth creation strategy for most the population, or are you going to roll up your sleeves and start doing what you know you have to do to be successful?
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Lea ding Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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