One of the biggest differences between those achieving business success and those who fade into the shadows is long term commitment. All too often we set off with rose tinted glasses in a euphoria of excitement that our business is going to be the best and we are going to join those glamorous people in the Facebook ads sat on a beach working just a few hours a day from their laptop.
But reality tends to be rather different. When the money hasn’t started rolling in within the first 6 months, doubt starts to creep in. When the first tax return is prepared and you haven’t been able to draw the equivalent of the minimum wage as yet, you start to feel under pressure to return to the world of employment.
It is those who plan, those who are prepared for it to take time and those who refuse to give up that succeed. They are committed to their plans for the long term, not just on the hope of a get rich quick scheme.
As Steve Jobs said, “Half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance”. Too many people want instant gratification these days. That’s not going to cut it.
As a general rule of thumb, and from my experience working with small businesses over the years, I tell clients to expect to make a loss in year one, break even in year two and start to make a profit in year three. By year five you should be making a decent enough income.
If these timescales scare you, then think carefully before going out on your next venture. You may well be lucky and achieve financial success far quicker than this, but being prepared for your true business success to take five years will put you in a better position for reality.
To be successful you will have to be consistent and persistent in your efforts. Going guns a blazing with your marketing for 3 months and then losing your mojo as the results are not what you expect and so then doing nothing for the next month is not going to get you anywhere. When you start up your marketing efforts again, you may as well be starting from scratch. Doing one small thing every day will get you greater rewards long term than intermittent blasts of activity.
Liken it to training for a marathon. If you train hard and get to running 16 miles but then take a break for a couple of months, you are not going to be able to get up and go out the door and pick up where you left off. You will have to take quite a few steps backward to get back on track again.
It is tough being a small business owner. You will need to remain focused and determined at times when others around you try to instil you with their doubts. You will need to retain your self-belief when the naysayers come calling. But if you are prepared and committed for the long term, the rewards will most certainly be worth it.
Remember the adage, all good things come to those who wait. Do you have the commitment necessary for business success?