A challenge to succeed in your small business

If a survey were taken, I suspect that every business owner would state that he wanted to succeed. I seriously doubt that many people start a business with the intention of failing.

Yet, statistically less than 1% of businesses live to celebrate their 10th birthday. If I were a betting man, I would wager that you will not be one of them. If I made that bet I would win 99 times out of 100.

The above statistic is an average. It does not tell us anything about a particular business. It does not tell us if your business will fail or thrive. It does tell us that most business owners lack and do not obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for business success.

With the Internet the necessary information is easily and abundantly available. This availability of information and resources makes business success easier than it has ever been. Yet, businesses continue to fail at a meteoric rate.

In Texas we have a saying—“Big hat and no cattle”. This phrase refers to someone who talks big, but in the end has nothing to back it up. He dresses the part of a successful rancher, but lacks what actually makes a rancher successful.

Over the past 10 years I have met, spoken with, worked with, and emailed hundreds of small business owners. Most have big hats—they talk about the kind of business they want to have, but they do nothing about it. They acknowledge the need for systems, but do not develop systems for their businesses. They admit they should develop a marketing plan, but they do not do it.

They complain about low priced competition, insufficient leads, and the difficulty of finding good help. And they repeat these complaints year after year, until finally they join the list of business failures.

For many years I struggled to avoid their fate. I did not have the Internet,  or similar resources. I learned from the school of hard knocks. In retrospect, I made it a lot more difficult than it needed to be.

There is no need for that today. The resources are available. The knowledge is readily available. In my opinion, there is no excuse for failure. Yet, statistics say that you will fail.

Honesty is a remarkable virtue. It defends those who practice it, and destroys those who deny it. It can be a powerful ally, or an unremitting foe.

Business success demands honesty. It requires that you be forthright with customers, vendors, and employees. But more significantly, business success demands that you be honest with yourself.

You must honestly scrutinize your strengths and weaknesses. You must be honest about your goals and desires, and your willingness to put forth the effort to achieve them. You must be honest with yourself that building a successful business is not easy.

And then you must have the courage to act. The failure to act is a sign of fear. Fear is the path to failure.

An old proverb states, “Take what you want, and pay for it.” Your business can provide you with virtually anything you want. You must simply pay the price. You must obtain the knowledge and skills necessary. You must pay the price—both financially and in effort. You can make your dreams a reality.

There are many resources readily available. But resources without effort are simply a potential. You must put forth the effort to utilize those resources. You have the choice to be a big hat, or to be the rare business owner who celebrates his 10th year in business.

I challenge you to take what you want, and pay for it. I challenge you to be a success.

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