Everyone wants to achieve unending success. Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs work endlessly to keep their pipelines filled with new clients, customers, new marketing strategies and new opportunities. And, while all this activity is good for building your success, it can cause you to burn up and out, unless you do this one very important thing….
Make taking care of your existing customers top priority. If you don’t, your competitors certainly will, and you will lose your biggest asset (your loyal customer base) and your opportunity for unending success.
I’m an extremely loyal person in all my affairs, including business. I seek to make and keep long-lasting relationships. If I’m your client, you’ll have me forever unless you royally f-up. And, unfortunately, I encounter this far too frequently. It’s truly an inconvenient truth. Worse than delivering this truth is the inconvenience of the time, energy, and money that it costs us loyal customers when our trusted contractors drop the ball. But, out of the wreckage of a company who can’t or won’t make servicing and valuing their customers a top priority, is the foregone conclusion that the customer will always find someone to replace the company that drops the ball.
Unending success is a simple math equation. A company that can’t keep a customer happy, will burn up and out no matter how many customers they add. And, the company who can, achieves sustainable success.
The Top 5 Non-Negotiables to Ensure Your Never-Ending Success:
- See Your Clients as Cash in Your Bank Account:
Realize that every time you drop the ball on going the extra mile to service their needs or to make sure they’re satisfied and happy will automatically withdraw cash from your account until it’s eventually wiped out. But, if you go the extra mile, the balance keeps getting higher.
- Consistently and Continuously Ask Yourself “How Can I Serve My Clients Better:
This includes how you can make it easier for customers to continue to do business with you. If your competitors are making it easier than you are, you’re going to lose market share.
- Always Maintain Good Relations:
Even when and if you lose a client, it’s important not to end on a bad note. Keep the door open.
- Don’t Make Doing Business Difficult:
Do what you say you’re going to do and deliver it in the time frame you promise. And, make communications easy and effortless.
- Go the Extra Mile:
Show your clients that you value them by never taking them for granted. A simple personalized token of appreciation always returns 10x above what it may cost in time or money. Send a simple handwritten note or gift or make a check-in phone call. Routinely ask your customers if there is anything that you can do to make things easier or better for them.
The true art of doing business is found in the art of taking care of your customers.
Commit yourself to being a brilliant artist who can show a wide array of brilliant colors that wow your patrons. If you do, you’ll be amazed how much more success you will attain and sustain.
In Conclusion My Shocking Confession: I admit, I got real bitchy y’all! I wanted to do a big-time upgrade to one of my operating systems in one of my buildings. I had been using the same company for over a decade. So, naturally, I called them and gave them the “come get me” speech. Told them I wanted it asap. Well, after a decade of being a paying customer with virtually not a single complaint or issue on my account, began the series of dropping the ball. The events went like this: It took them forever to send account rep; he came and stayed forever to “run out the clock” at work; he lost his notes; gave me a price that later the manager confirmed, then the manager changed his mind and added 25% more; account rep while visiting cut off existing service and didn’t realize it; company’s system didn’t detect it; continued to charge me for service which non-operation left my building exposed to harm. And, lastly, when I had no recourse but to reach out to their competitor to get new service, former co. made it ridiculously difficult and burdensome to close my account and insisted that I pay for the period of non-service! Bridge burned… never going back. I love my new company 😊
Those who have earned their 1st Million didn’t have becoming a millionaire as their goal. Instead, their goal was made up of more than making money, it was made up of a burning desire to actualize into reality the thing that would add value into the everyday lives of everyday people.
“If we work together, we’ll lower the cost of living for everyone…. we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and have a better life.”
Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart
We’ve all heard it a million times, that to succeed, one must 1st have a mission statement. While this remains a truism, what I see happening more and more, is that entrepreneurs are crafting mission statements more for marketing and press purposes than for a personal representation of their vision and roadmap to achieving its goal. There appears to be more of a priority placed on making money than making a difference. And, as much as making money is an imperative to taking care of one’s basic needs for security, growth and to make a broader impact in the world, the #1 imperative is to focus on manifesting your vision over that of manifesting millions. When one keeps good priority order, the money will follow.
“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance mankind.”
Steve Jobs as quoted by The New Economist, 1980
I encourage you, right here and now today, to take a hard look at your existing mission statement. Is it an authentic personal reflection of your own divinely inspired vision and burning desire to add value to the lives of those you desire to serve?
Once you’ve taken a hard look at your mission statement, and made any necessary amendments, you can then move forward with incorporating the following into your daily mindset and actions to speed your way to making your 1st million:
8 Steps to Making Your 1st Million
1. Have a Well-Defined Major Purpose: A well- defined purpose is one that clearly identifies your unique role in the world, the purpose for your life, and the purpose for the money you will acquire.
2. Prioritize Increasing the Wealth and Well-Being of Others: Use this as your #1 driving force and define and deliver a system to accomplish it.
3. Give Yourself Permission to Experiment: Understand that some of the worlds most successful innovations came after vast experimentation. Allow yourself to try different modes and models until you find the one that you know in your gut is the right road for you to take.
4. Seek to See What’s Not There: Having the vision to see what’s not in existence is what creates magical innovations that change the lives of all humanity. Get in the practice of asking yourself “What’s missing? What’s not being done?”.
5. Do Your Homework: Research, Compile Data, Analyze, Plan and Then Act: Make a regular practice to research, develop and deploy.
6. Start Saving to Invest ASAP: Always seek to save to invest, invest as soon as you can, and on an ongoing basis. However, do keep a strong cash on hand supply. Do not over-extend.
7. Trust Your Instincts and Let Them Lead You: You can seek and listen to expert advice, but never go against your gut instincts or go against your better judgement or values.
8. Diversify and Take Calculated Risks: You simply will not become a millionaire if you don’t invest, take calculated risks and diversify. However, diversify only into industries that you have gained a level of knowledge and expertise in.
In Closing My Shocking Confession: Everyone predicted I would fail at being a real estate broker because I regularly advised prospective clients to hold rather than sell. Yep, that was me. Turning away business and walking away from guaranteed money in the bank. I had one extremely large deal that was a 7-figure commission due me. The deal went all the way through to last two days of due diligence when my client told me they were going to move forward, go hard with their deposit and close. I had just found out the books of the property had been cooked. I was 15 days away from a 7-figure bank deposit. What did I do? I told him to cancel the deal. I may have lost that money, but I had held dearly to the practice of putting my client’s wealth and well-being as a #1 priority over my own pocket book for many years and it’s what allowed me to build a global network of investors who trust me and to become a self-made millionaire.
Ambition is like a loaded gun. It’s a powerful weapon that if not trained to be used correctly can injure the shooter and or anyone within range. The word “ambitious” seems universally to connote a positive personality trait. I’m not sure how that “ambition” term became universally assumed to be a good thing. You know what they say about the word “assume”!
Dictionary.Com defines Ambition as: An earnest desire for some type of achievement or distinction, as power, honor, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment.
If you read the definition carefully, you will notice it fails to mention anything beyond desire and willingness. There is a whole lotta nadda being said therein.
What is the ambitious persons’ intention for the accomplishment of their achievement? Is it intended to do good and benefit others or hurt certain groups or solely benefit themselves? For the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to assert that readers here have pure and good intentions behind their ambitious goals. Now, having said that, desire and willingness are still not enough. And, even adding taking relentless action, it still is not enough. As a matter of fact, if you are taking relentless massive action on your ambitious goals, you may be running the risk of driving yourself to failure instead of to success.
Here are the Top Twelve Tools to Ensure Your Ambition is Driving You to Success Rather than Failure:
1. KNOW YOUR CORE VALUE. You must have a core value that becomes the basis for driving all your thoughts, words, actions and decisions. Examples: Honesty, integrity, loyalty, dependable, god directed, respect, etc.
2. HAVE A CLEAR AND CONCISE MASTER GOAL. A master goal isn’t something that you choose, it chooses you. It’s that one unrelenting goal that you cannot get out of your mind or quit going after even if you tried. For Gandhi, it was freeing the people of India.
3. DEVELOP HIGH LEVEL OF TOLERANCE. Judgementalism and quick to trigger temperament will cost far more than the expense of the thing in which you are striving to achieve. Long term success is achieved by those who know how to control their emotions and deal with frustrations rationally.
4. ADOPT A HABIT OF SEEING POSITIVE IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. There is a seed of positive benefit in every situation. Seek to see it and seize it.
5. TRAIN YOURSELF TO FOCUS. Focus only on what you need to do each day to meet your responsibilities and achieve your master goal. Eliminate all non-essentials.
6. MINIMIZE NEGATIVITY IN ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE. Get honest with yourself about the people, habits and behaviors that erode the quality of your time, energy, focus and life. Be brave and let them go.
7. LEARN EFFECTIVE COPING SKILLS AND STRATEGIES. Have a go-to decompress habit that works for you. Examples: Pray, meditate, exercise.
8. BECOME AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR. Yes, we live in a time of “remote” everything. It is not an effective all around strategy. If you fear talking to or meeting directly with the people you need to advance yourself, just do it or learn how to do it.
9. UNDERSTAND AMBITION DOES NOT REQUIRE AGGRESSION. Aggression is the antithesis of success. A pleasing personality is known to be a key to success. Be assertive not aggressive.
10. HONOR YOUR COMMITMENTS. If you honestly discover you cannot deliver what you promised, then just speak the truth and find a way to compensate the promised party.
11. CONSISTENTLY FOLLOW THROUGH. Sounds so simple, and yet, this is the most common occurrence I encounter on a daily basis when working with businesses, entrepreneurs and clients. Most are good at the front end of connecting, but 90% don’t follow through to deliver at all or effectively.
12. NEVER SACRIFICE YOUR VALUES TO GET AHEAD. There is nothing worth having that is attained by sacrificing your values. It will, at some point in time, come back to bite you hard in the behind.
“The main thing, of course, always, is the fact that there is only one of you in the world, just one, and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost. Ambition is not enough; necessity is everything.” Martha Graham
If you combine ambition with purpose, positivity, persistence, pleasing personality, productivity, minimalism, non-violence (self or others), truth, focus, relentless adherence to your values, determination and lastly and most importantly: an urgent and unrelenting need to positively advance the quality of life for all beings; you will drive yourself to success and greatness. You will not need to seek fame, attention or acclaim. It will find you in the footprints you leave behind as you traverse the terrain to your destiny.
In Closing My Shocking Confession: I don’t fall in love easily, but when I fall, I fall hard. The reason I don’t fall in love easily is because I’m super diligent about the person having a matching set of core values and beliefs to mine. Enter picture, the PERFECT guy. I mean, all the right inside rich stuff (I don’t pay attention to the outside stuff). He was the president of his place of faith, believed in God, prayer, family, and giving back. He was super funny, intelligent, in touch with his emotions, creative and highly ambitious. What could go wrong? It still hurts to talk about it. He got slammed with a bunch of big challenges all at once. He was pulled into many disputes that challenged his reputation, creditability and financial security. He was loved by so many. What I didn’t know is that in his struggle to maintain his status, he began to sacrifice his core values hoping that it would save his image and empire. Instead, he lost everything when it got uncovered. Then, he took his own life. Challenges come and go; money comes and goes; even people come and go; all that ebb and flow can successfully be navigated. But, the loss that often one cannot ever fully recover from is the loss of self, faith and ones’ values. Ambition alone is not enough.
This article by Linda Zander originally published on Forbes.com
I was sitting in front of a tenured senior manager of a world-renowned corporation, listening to his management problems. He was having a difficult time motivating his team to meet performance objectives. His overwhelm and panic induced by their underwhelming numbers was palpable. After he exhausted himself of his concerns, he looked directly at me, folded his arms across his chest and said, “Where do I go from here? I’ve tried everything I know.”
To make an assessment and provide positive direction, I proceeded to ask him a few key questions:
1. What is your management style?
2. How do you motivate your team?
3. What is your company’s core value?
4. What is your core value?
5. What is your relationship status with whom you report to?
6. How do you help your employees achieve their personal goals?
He paused. He didn’t have any answers. After a moment, he responded with:
1. “My management style is tough.”
2. “I motivate my team by telling them that they’re not doing well enough.”
3. “I don’t know what my company’s core value is.” (Even he was surprised that after a decade, he still hadn’t known or hadn’t thought to ask.)
4. “My core value is love.”
5. “I report to someone who’s fairly ‘macho.’ I’d like to speak more openly with him about how I feel, but I fear he’ll perceive me as weak.”
6. “I’ve never thought about how to help my employees achieve their goals. Why is that important?”
What his answers revealed is that he didn’t have a clearly defined, non-conflicting set of values to effectively direct and drive his actions.
Given the sheer size and financial strength of this household-name brand, there certainly had to have been a values statement and guiding set of principles in place to have grown it to the global level of success that it had achieved. But, after our session and subsequent talks with other high-level executives in the corporation, I discovered that they had lost sight of them and slipped into a “too big to fail” and “hands-off” corporate mentality.
Adopting one or the other is dangerous, but together, it’s potentially disastrous. A “too big to fail” mentality coupled with intentionally handing off the shaping of corporate culture to franchisees (asserting that if their risks failed, taxpayers would bear their loss) was causing a double-whammy moral hazard. From the top down, the corporation was engaging in exaggerated risk taking, weakening the fabric of the once powerful corporate culture and market discipline that had paved their path to success. Distancing themselves from their founding set of principles, they were now experiencing lost market share.
Shaping and sustaining a corporate culture reflective of a company’s values, beliefs and behaviors starts from the top. Founding leaders should know what their values are and work diligently to create a corporate culture that is aligned with them to be perceived and experienced by their employees and customers. The external success achieved is the result of the internal values that leaders instill.
The above corporation had gotten complacent, and if they didn’t hit the refresh button soon, they’d be facing even greater declining profits and brand erosion.
To be a highly effective and successful leader one must:
1. Have a clear set of non-conflicting values in place driving every communication, behavior and action.
2. Align themselves with individuals and organizations with like-minded values.
3. Never lose sight of your values regardless of challenges or how successful you become.
4. Help others to achieve success.
Start by asking yourself the six key questions above and answering them honestly. Your answers will help you analyze your current positioning in having a solid set of values and where they may need modifying. Once clearly defined, let your values direct your leadership activities to optimally foster an open, positive and motivational environment where attaining goals and sustaining success can consistently be achieved by you and your team.
Without consistently living a set of clear and non-conflicting values, there is no effective strategy or direct path to achieving and sustaining success.