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Business Survival

The 5 Non-Negotiables For Thriving In Business And Life

Success starts with the mental preparedness to seize opportunity.

Peter Voogd

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Starting a business is easy. Millions of new businesses are started each year. However, you must do more than create an LLC to become a thriving entrepreneur. Unfortunately, simply starting a new business is all the farther that most get.

Inevitably reality creeps in and the cold hard truth emerges. Creating a business that enables you to generate enough money to truly thrive at life and achieve your wildest dreams is not so easy. Entrepreneurs with the ability to thrive at this highest level are a rare breed.

What makes these elite entrepreneurs different from those still struggling? Here are the top 5 non-negotiables that every new entrepreneur must take action on promptly.

1Stay fearless

fearless-business-advice

Fear can paralyse and absolutely destroy an entrepreneur’s ambition and confidence, but only if they let it.

When I quit my job and created my own business, I experienced the same fears all entrepreneurs face starting out – the fear of failure, the fear of what others might say, the fear I wasn’t good enough.

As I increased my certainty, and became aware of what limitations were holding me back I started to face my fears head on. When you face your fears, they disappear.

You cannot let your fears control you and you must be willing to take risks despite them. All great leaders and visionaries have realised that being fearless is part of the recipe for success.

In my experience, most of the people who gave in to their fears and quit are eventually employed by those who conquered their fears and never gave up.

Your only fear should be having the exact same life you currently have a year from now. Remember that your dreams will always eclipse your biggest fears. Stay limitless mentally.

Related: Cash is King: Managing Cash Flow for Business Survival and Growth

2Creating, not waiting

creative-business-ideas

I’ve been fortunate enough to interview dozens of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and one thing is always abundantly clear – they don’t wait for opportunities to come to them, they create them.

A WANTrepreneur spends their first day designing a logo while the true entrepreneur closes their first 10 clients. If thriving is a goal, you must stop procrastinating, stop creating 100-page business plans, stop researching the perfect website font, and start executing on the things that matter.

Most people spend the first half of their lives saying they are too young, and the second half saying they’re too old. The time is now, and there is no tomorrow for champions.

I promise you that one year from now you will have wished you started today. Wake up early, go to bed late, disable distractions, be relentless, stay intentional, and never give up. It’s simple – if you want it to happen, make it happen. Period. You will make time for things you really care about.

3Focus on continual growth and development

business-continual-growth-and-development
Are you showing up better than you were yesterday? Seriously, is your life better today than yesterday? If not, why not? Create tactical steps for tomorrow to ensure you grow and develop. Ask yourself these 3 questions before starting your day.

  • What am I grateful for today?
  • What am I committed to making happen today no matter what?
  • What am I excited about today?

Most people fail to ask themselves questions that spark their minds, and remind them to maximise each day.

Every day you fail to grow is one less day you have to make your dreams become reality. Once small positive thought can change the outcome of your entire day.

All thriving entrepreneurs know that every year their business must become 365x better than the year before. This is accomplished by focusing on continual growth and development each day.

Just like compound interest, mastering this simple strategy can put you on the fast track to financial freedom. Make growth a part of your daily agenda.

Related: Shifting the Business Model of Survivalist Entrepreneurs

4Making money matter

There has never been a better time in the history of our economy to create businesses that matter. My friend Cole Hatter says,

“Don’t wait to get rich to make a difference, but rather make an impact as you get rich.”

Visionary Tony Robbins has preached on this concept. but it has never been as important and powerful as it is today. Historically, money was a taboo subject few dared to debate.

Culturally, the topic of money has recently gone from being the unspeakable subject to a global obsession, and rightfully so. Money is the great equaliser. Having money is a lot more enjoyable and fulfilling, but most importantly it gives you the power of choices.

One in three Americans believe their best chance of becoming wealthy is winning the lottery. Are you kidding me? This flawed mindset comes from the antiquated curriculum traditional education teaches. To truly understand the concept of mastering money, you must self-educate.

“Traditional education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

Those that want to thrive know that money is the one thing that has the instant ability to turn their dreams into reality.

5Urgency

urgency-time-management

I’m guessing you’d like to be financially free by the time you’re 65 years old? I’m sure everybody does. Let’s deal in reality here.

  • 69 percent of Americans who start working at 25 will be dependent on relatives, friends, or charities at age 65.
  • Nearly 36 percent of people age 65 to 69, and 21 percent age 70 to 74, are still working.
  • Almost 75 percent of single Social Security recipients aged 65+ depend on Social Security for all or most of their monthly income.

I will tell you becoming one of the few who are economically secure starts with urgency now. You MUST have a sense of urgency to thrive.

Do you think those struggling in their 30s, 40s, and 50s told themselves they were going to struggle? Of course not. If you talked to them when they were younger, they were confident they would have their dream house, dream job, have lots of money, and be enjoying life to the fullest. What happened? They never told themselves NOW matters. They didn’t connect their daily actions with their future goals. Don’t fall into that trap.

Realise that now matters more than any other time, and the “someday isle” mentality is killing so many dreams. I know people who have been in the same company for years, but haven’t advanced.

You often hear people say “I have 20 years of experience, I should get paid more,” but in actuality, that person has one year of experience repeated 20 times. If they’re not sharpening their skills, learning better tools, or constantly trying to better themselves, they aren’t becoming more valuable. Why should they expect more money?

Related: How to Turn a Business Around for Survival

Age doesn’t guarantee a higher income, value does. Opportunities are only opportunities if you’re taking full advantage of them. Young millionaires always do, and they are consistently reaching for new goals and ambitions.

You MUST have a sense of urgency that most of society doesn’t have if you’re serious about success. There will NEVER be the right time.

Achieving your wildest dreams and thriving at the highest level is not for everyone. You must be relentless and 100 percent committed to the hustle and grind that is required.

You must believe that not only is it possible for you to have your dream but it is necessary. If you are still reading, you have taken the first step to changing your life and making an impact on the world.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Peter Voogd is CEO of GameChangersMovment.com and is the leading authority on Gen y leadership. He’s trained well over 4,000 young entrepreneurs, and built an 8 million dollar sales organization by age 27. His podcasts, videos, websites, and social media reaches over 100,000 people monthly.

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Business Survival

8 Reasons Why Failure And Focus Are Essential To Business Success

There are two Fs that define the long-term and sustainable success of your business – Failure and Focus.

Nicholas Bell

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There is an event that runs globally across countries such as the United States, Spain, France, Brazil and Israel. It is a conference that is aimed at the entrepreneur, the investor, the developer and the designer. It also caters exclusively for failure – FailCon asks the entrepreneur, specifically within the technology space, to embrace failure. However, this focus on failure isn’t about leaping blindly into the ball pit of collapsed dreams and wallowing in its sorrow as you shout ‘Bazinga!’. It’s about being comfortable with the idea that failure can happen and using it to drive your business focus and long-term success. These eight steps define exactly how…

1. Not big, iterative

Giving someone advice to fail big isn’t practical. It isn’t the kind of attitude that investors will be drawn to either. Instead, embracing failure is about being open to the fact that it may very well happen to you and some of your ideas. It isn’t necessarily going to be a gigantic failure on a scale of company-wide collapse. It could just be that you had an idea, and it wasn’t a very good idea so it failed.

Related: Beauty Of Failure: The Art Of Embracing Rejection

2. Focus on your agenda

If you’re not focused on your end game and business agenda, don’t expect your staff to be. This level of focus is critical as it gives people direction. They then understand exactly where the business is going, what it hopes to achieve, and the role that they play in taking it there.

If you don’t have this level of focus, your staff don’t have anything to latch onto.

3. Learn

learningThis is where your ability to fail is of value. You need to test your assumptions and ideas and then use their failures to learn more about how they could potentially succeed in the future. You have to learn from your mistakes. Don’t drown in self-doubt, take the mistakes and move them towards enhancing your business.

4. Success isn’t easy

Look, if being a hugely successful entrepreneur was easy, everybody would do it. You need to keep the focus and intensity you brought on your first day all the way through to today. Create short term goals and objectives that give you endless purpose and a sense of achievement and use their success to drive you onwards towards your final destination.

Related: Flourishing Through Failure And Finding Fortune

5. Build in plenty of goalposts

Justify every decision and long-term goal through relentless measurement to ensure they are the right decisions. The last thing you want is to hit your goal in 10 years and discover that it wasn’t the right one, your business hasn’t gone anywhere and you’ve worked incredibly hard for nothing. The effectiveness of your time, decision making and execution is critical.

6. Define failure

What does failure mean to you? Understand how you define it and then use this as a barometer to define your idea of success. As long as you have clear objectives for both, you can assess your business, its effectiveness and your results. As mentioned in above, always set goals and objectives so you give your company and people a sense of purpose.

7. Your ideas aren’t always that good

Some of your ideas are not going to fly. They’re going to collapse with an embarrassed sigh. The lesson is that you should be constantly questioning yourself so when you are in a situation where your ideas don’t work, you can objectively examine why they failed and use these learnings to change and adapt.

There needs to be a healthy tension between learning through theory and practice. The latter is learning to win and to handle defeat in real time with real results.

Related: Your Business Failure is Your Fault

8. Get over it

It’s quite easy to wallow in your failure misery and lose years to personalised anguish. It’s harder to just get over it and move on. The thing is, it’s moving on that counts. Those who get up, dust themselves off and start again are those who end up thriving. The ability to compartmentalise and learn is invaluable as you take your business from your first idea through to a sustainable, epic enterprise.

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Business Survival

How To Embrace An Exponential Mindset For Your Business

In the age of exponential technologies, it’s a risk not to take a risk.

Mic Mann

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Think global and exponential

If you’re an entrepreneur trying to establish a successful business, it’ll be dead before it even takes off, if you don’t build it for the future. You have to think three to five years ahead, so when it launches, it’s still relevant.

Think like former Canadian pro ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky, who said: “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” And these days it’s easier for entrepreneurs to predict the future thanks to technology and data insights.

Consider what Singularity University co-founder Ray Kurzweil calls The Law of Accelerating Returns. He says the only thing that’s constant is change and that change itself is accelerating exponentially. As per Moore’s Law, information-enabled industries are doubling their performance and halving their price every 18 months, according to the price-performance ratio. The field of biotechnology has managed to surpass that.

Related: 5 Mindset Changes You Must Make When Going From Employee To Entrepreneur

There’s no time to slow down, your business has to constantly evolve, and you have to keep asking “what’s next”. Encourage experimentation and innovation in your company. Innovation focuses on incrementally improving your already existing products and services, while experimentation allows for fresh outlooks and breakthrough strategies that leapfrog old ways.

We should reprogramme our linear mindset into an exponential one. Don’t aim to grow your business by 10 per cent year-on-year, but rather 10 times. The first thing I learned at Singularity University is the potential of exponential growth. If you take 30 linear steps, you only move 30 places, but if you move 30 exponential steps your place doubles with each step and by the 30th step, you’ve moved over a billion places.

We’ve seen this happen with unicorns – not the magical creatures, but start-up companies that are valued at over $1 billion within their first year – like Slack (cloud-based team collaboration tools and services) and Square Inc. (a mobile payment company). It once took around 20 years for American companies to reach the billion-dollar valuation mark, now it may take less than a year.

In the early stages – until your third step – your progress may seem linear. Many exponentially-geared companies give up at this point – just as their growth rate is about to explode. Persevere!

A few decades ago it was unthinkable for an individual or start-up to disrupt entire industries. Start thinking globally, not locally. Use staff-on-demand and crowd souring to propel your business ahead of the competition. It’s unlikely that you have the world’s smartest minds working for you, however with the power of the crowd, you just might.

If you’re struggling to find a solution, turn the challenge into a game and offer prize money. You’ll have thousands of people attempting to solve your problem, but will only pay for the best solution. Kaggle is a platform for predictive modelling and analytics competitions. It lets statisticians and data miners compete to produce the best models for predicting and describing data. Mining company Gold Corp placed its geological data online and offered money to anyone who could locate gold at their Canadian mine. Four of the five winning entries struck gold. And in 2011 it took a team of gamers 10 days to solve an enzyme riddle that could hold the key to curing AIDS.

The six Ds of tech

As companies become information-enabled they should internalise what Singularity University co-founder Peter Diamandis calls the six-step growth cycle of digital technologies. These Six Ds of Tech Disruption are digitisation, deception, disruption, demonetisation, dematerialisation, and democratisation.

The first step is digitisation. Once something enters the digital realm it gains the potential for exponential growth. Think of the radio and CDs. You no longer need either, instead you can stream online, listen via YouTube or download music. After digitisation, growth appears slow, even deceptive. Sadly that’s when many companies opt out. Be patient!

Related: How To Build The Right Mindset For Start-up Success

No one imagined Kodak would disappear after a century. Kodak thought they were in the business of printing photographs, while they were in the business of memories. Think about the need your business solves. Kodak invented the digital camera, but was too scared to disrupt its own industry. It didn’t realise that people were no longer taking photographs in the same way, so their competitors disrupted the industry instead.

Today, the camera has become part of the smartphone and photographs are predominantly shared via social media. Instagram epitomises the next step in the equation: demonetisation. With time technology becomes cheaper and even free. Instead of printing photographs, many people instantly share them on a free smartphone app like Instagram.

Next comes dematerialisation. The radio, camera, video recorder, GPS, calculator and calendar are disappearing from the physical world as they’re being built into the smartphone. The wallet will dematerialise next with the advent of online transactions and cryptocurrencies.

Finally, democratisation happens when government, corporates and the wealthy no longer hold control and masses of people have access. Just think, the average South African with a smartphone has access to much more information than the president of the United States of America had 20 years ago.

In the age of exponential technologies, it’s a risk not to take a risk.

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Business Survival

Why, When You Fail, You Should ‘Fail Forward’

So, you’ve fallen on your face? Consider that you’re walking in the footsteps of some ‘famous failures,’ like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and Stephen King.

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Arianna Huffington

5 Inspiring stories to keep in mind

1000 times he failed

Teachers described him as “too stupid to learn anything.” He got fired from two jobs because he was “non-productive.”

Then he tried inventing something completely new. What’s even crazier is that he tried 1 000 times, unsuccessfully. When a reporter asked him how it felt to fail 1 000 times, the story goes, he replied, “I didn’t fail 1 000 times. “[The invention] was an invention with 1 000 steps.”

Through pure determination, Thomas Edison – initially a failure – made the world a brighter place to live in. If such good things come from success, then why do we choose to always look at the brighter days and completely disown the tough times?

Here are five more inspiring stories to keep in mind, should you ever feel that you’re the biggest failure.

The woman whose book got rejected 36 times

Arianna Huffington

Arianna Huffington

You’d think that once one book you’ve written becomes a bestseller, publishing another one would be a walk in the park. But it’s not that easy. At least not for Arianna Huffington.

Having produced that first bestseller, The Female Woman, when she was only 23,, Huffington tried to pitch her second book, but none of the 36 publishers she approached said yes. Still, she didn’t give up.

And that’s just one of a couple of failures from The Huffington Post’s co-founder. She has been dropped from hosting a BBC show, garnered 0.55 percent of the vote (when she ran for governor of California) and been unsuccessful when she called for then-President Bill Clinton’s resignation through her website.

But now The Huffington Post gets millions of visitors every month; she’s had a successful book career; and, if it helps, she’s very rich. Clearly, “failure is a stepping stone to success.”

Related: How Failing Fast was Nomanini’s Ticket to Creative Innovation

The woman who was “unfit for television”

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey is worth more than $3 billion. But it hasn’t always been like that. And, considering that a Baltimore TV producer called her “unfit for television” right before he fired her, it’s telling that the main source of Oprah’s success was a TV show that ran for more than 20 seasons.

Oprah also tried to get into the movie business with the movie Beloved. It lost to Bride of Chucky in terms of revenue and consequently lost the $80 million invested in it. Oprah has said this failure sent her into a state of depression.

But then, in 2013, she got back onto the horse (speaking cinematically) with The Butler.

See? Even when you make it, you’re still at risk of failure. Henry Ford, William Crapo Durant and Walt Disney (among so many others) all went bankrupt after they’d already made it big. But each one sprang back in his own way.

The man who was fired from the company he’d founded

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Not all of Apple’s products have received mass acclaim. More specifically, not all of the Apple products launched by Steve Jobs have been successful.

One such failuret was the Lisa computer. This was supposed to be a desktop computer targeted at personal business users. For a purchase price of $10,000 (about $24,000 today) consumers could buy the first desktop that would allow them to use a mouse to work with a 5MHz processor and up to 1MB RAM. The Lisa sounded like a magnificent idea, at least at the time.

However, the pricey computer sold poorly, and then-CEO John Scully, someone Jobs had chosen for that position a few years earlier (there are so many lessons in this story), helped remove Jobs from the Macintosh division in 1985.

So Jobs left Apple. Then he founded NeXT, and failed again, but sold the software division of NeXT to Apple in 1997. Then he returned and became CEO in 2000, and this time he was determined to make Apple something special. He succeeded.

Related: Why Balls to the Walls Could Mean Failing Fast

The man who almost gave up after 30 rejections

Stephen King

Stephen King

Stephen King was just selling short stories and teaching English when he had the idea to write Carrie. However, despite the $2,500 advance he received for the novel, he decided to give up on the book after 30 rejections.

But his wife wasn’t going to let him do that. She urged him on, and he finally agreed to submit the manuscript again.

Carrie is one of King’s bestsellers and went on to become two film adaptations, one of which won the lead actress Sissy Spacek an Oscar.

The man who quit – just before striking gold

gold-mine-panning

Talk about hitting a gold mine

One last story comes from Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. In it, the author writes of an interview with a millionaire named R.U. Darby who in turn described an uncle of his who, having heard of the riches that came from finding gold, set out to do just that. After weeks of commitment, this miner finally spotted a vein of shining ore. He raised the money for the necessary machinery and went ahead and he started shipping the gold. However, before long, he’d lost the vein of the gold ore.

Related: How Tebogo Ditshego Transformed a Failing Business and Tripled his Revenue

He tried to find it again and was unsuccessful. Then his workers quit and sold the machinery to a junk man. The junk man called in an engineer to inspect why the project had failed, and it was determined that the vein was just 3 feet (three) away from where the Darbys had left off.

The lesson? Before you stop trying, try again. If not for yourself, then for other people. What would the world be like without Thomas Edison’s invention? How about Alexander Graham Bell? Use failure as a step to elevate you because it’s by learning to accept failure that we can see great success.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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