Google the phrase “how to achieve small business success” and get ready to receive over 94 million search results. Although there are a lot of results, this is great news, as it means that there are many ways to reach your small business goals and do wonderful things. However, on the flip side, to look through them all in an effort to find the one plan that will work for you could literally take you a lifetime.
That is why I want to share with you one more to consider. It is the same five-step process that I have used to push me to higher levels in my own freelance business. In fact, using this exact process, I was able to more than double my income in my second year as a self-employed freelance writer when compared to my first, tripling it by year number three. I hope it does the same for you, so let’s go over it now.
Step #1: Define What Success Is to You
Defining what success means to you is like typing a destination in your GPS and asking it to calculate the route. After all, if you have no idea exactly where it is you want to go, how on earth can you ever expect to get there? Easy. You can’t.
So, take a moment right now and think about what success looks like to you. Perhaps the best way to do this is to imagine that you had everything you’ve ever wanted in life. Got the picture in your head? Good. Now I want you to answer these questions:
- What are you doing work-wise?
- What hobbies are you enjoying?
- What does your family and friend-time look like?
- What “toys” or other material goods have you acquired?
- What does your retirement look like?
- How much money do you have in the bank or in investments?
In addition to thinking about what you would be doing and all of the things you would have, also consider how you would feel and in what ways your life would be different than what it is right now. Getting a crystal clear image of what it is you want is necessary so that you know what you are working towards and can recognize it once you get it.
Step #2: Visualize Yourself Achieving Success
Now that you know exactly what success means to you, it is time to visualize yourself achieving it. This is a very powerful step to complete and can often mean the difference between reaching success and constantly striving for it, never to have it within your grasp. I learned how to do this when I was in law enforcement to help train my mind to respond appropriately to various life and death situations that may arise. I am not the only one that has used it over and over again to succeed.
A PRWeb press release reports that top Olympians like gold-medalist Gabby Douglas regularly use visualization as a tool to help achieve higher ranks. And if it works for these elite athletes, it can certainly work for you!
To perform visualization, find a comfortable and quiet place to sit. Close your eyes and imagine yourself living the very life that you’ve defined as being successful. Imagine yourself going through the daily actions that helped get you there. Picture yourself engaged in the activities that made you the success you are.
Work to incorporate all of your senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell) so that your mind feels as if you are truly there. Most importantly: Always imagine yourself doing the right things and engage in visualization in which all of your actions are pushing you in the direction you want to go. Do this regularly and your mind will train itself to do the things necessary for you to hit your goals.
Step #3: Create a Plan to Go After It
Okay; you’ve got your definition of your success and you’ve visualized yourself achieving it. Now it is time to make a plan that enables you to go after it. This is going to be the nuts and bolts of the process, so take some time to complete this step.
I used a process that involves working backwards, something I describe in great detail in my Businessing Magazine article titled How to Move Your Small Business Forward By Going in Reverse. I encourage you to read it if you want to know more about this particular goal-reaching method, but the basic gist involves starting at your final goal and creating the steps you need to follow to achieve it in reverse order.
Creating your plan using this method feels less overwhelming and it offers you a new perspective because you’re no longer thinking in terms of how to get from A to Z. Instead, you’re going from Z to A which means that you have to put more time and effort into it and aren’t just operating on autopilot. It’s kind of similar to when you say your ABCs backwards. It takes more mental strength and it forces you to work harder, even though you can say them forwards with no problems at all.
Step #4: Implement Your Plan
A plan is just a plan until you take some action to implement it, which is exactly what you are doing in step number four. So, take a look at the first thing you need to do, the first step you have to take to reach your goal and come up with a way to do it.
You also don’t have to take huge steps, as even tiny tip-toe steps take you in the right direction. In fact, breaking down larger tasks into smaller ones make them feel more manageable. This reduces your feelings of anxiety and stress and makes the process that much more enjoyable.
Don’t worry about taking a lot of time out of your already busy schedule to implement your plan either. As I explain in my book The 15 Minute Total Life Makeover, even if you just dedicate 15 minutes a day toward reaching your goal, you will eventually achieve it. Certainly, some actions will take longer than others but progress is progress, so just focus on always doing something every day to get you one step closer to your goal.
Step #5: Evaluate and Modify
Once you’ve begun your plan, you will likely realize that some things aren’t working out as you had thought or hoped. That is not only likely, but it is to be expected. Things change over time, so it is important to stay as flexible as possible, constantly evaluating and modifying your plan until it better suits your wants and needs.
To do this, just identify the parts of it that don’t feel right or aren’t working and come up with ways to modify them that may bring about better results. Keep modifying until you devise the one plan that gets you exactly where you want to go. And don’t stop until you do.
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