Bringing Your Business to the Next Level

The new year is a great time to implement changes that will improve the success of your business. Once you are ready take that process seriously, here are the 10 business skills you should focus on.

Whether your business is already successful, or perhaps you’re struggling a little — working too hard for your business, instead of having your business work hard for you — the new year is a great time to plan and make changes that will bring you to new levels of success.

Of course, there are a lot of people ready to tell you how to get your business past its present plateau. Your biggest challenge is trying to figure out which of the thousands of books, e-books, workshops, and web sites you should be paying attention to.

In this present business culture of emotional selling, as well as short-term thinking, much of the information you seek will leave you with either fluffy motivational hype that makes you feel good but accomplishes little else, or gives you simple 1-2-3 tactics that may or may not work for your present situation — but do nothing to really help you tackle future projects or challenges.

The bottom line is you walk away with a short-term solution at best. That’s why my advice is to avoid the temptation of seeking tactics to solve just your immediately perceived needs and, instead, focus on developing real entrepreneurial skills. These are time-proven, principle-based skills that will help you attain a greater level of success now as well as in the future.

It doesn’t matter if you’re the owner of a small business, a “serial entrepreneur” with numerous businesses to your credit, or even a young person who wants to start off with a huge advantage over your peers. These highly-effective skills — which help you to decide what you want, create a plan to attain it, then overcome every conceivable obstacle along the way — are just about all you need to earn a mountain of money and gain the true freedom that real entrepreneurship delivers.

In researching over 250 business owners, professors and notable experts on the subject, my business partner and I compiled a list twenty-seven distinct areas of business skills that were mentioned as important for maximum entrepreneurial success. However, there are ten particular business and life skills that were noted by the vast majority of those we studied.

These are the skill areas that, when developed by themselves, all produce solid gains in performance. However, when they are developed — even slightly — in combination with one other, the synergistic effect produces tremendous increases in success.

Here are those ten business and life skills:

1. Vision and Perseverance. Much has been written about Vision, yet some of what has been said is so overly complicated and daunting that very few have actually taken the time to write out what the vision for their business really is.

For maximum business success, you simply have to hold in your mind a clear picture of what you want your business to become. This type of vision keeps the potter from making an ashtray while working on an urn. Likewise, it will ensure that you grow your business into one that gives you deep satisfaction and financial rewards, instead of one that taxes your time and energy. Having a clear vision will also help you to develop your will and responses to overcome any challenge and come back from any setback — stronger than ever.

2. Wealth Mindset and Attraction. Unfortunately, many still consider mindset and attraction principles to be a sort of spiritual “hocus pocus.” However, the more we study the power of the mind, the more society is beginning to recognize this as real science with a solid set of “how-to” principles. The more you get to know the mind you have been endowed with and how it has been wired to work, the more you will be able to accomplish even your most lofty goals without striving and working around the clock to make things happen.

3. Business Systems. We all know that systems are important. They are key to your building a walk away business that is a real asset, as opposed to just having a high-paying job that you’ve given yourself. Through learning more about real ways to quickly and easily create systems for your business, even the most disorganized among us can put together a step-by-step system to transform our businesses from a “job” to a real profit machine.

4. Energy and Fitness. Typically overlooked by most entrepreneurs, having superior levels of energy and fitness can be an invaluable business asset. Not only will having peak energy levels enable you to accomplish more, but it also adds to your personal attractiveness and helps you to project a winning, top-notch image.

5. Tax Reduction and Asset Protection. It has been reported that when asked what the #1 secret to his success was, Microsoft Founder, Bill Gates replied, “Having a working knowledge of the tax code.” Yet, how many of us are so focused on ways to make an extra 10% a year selling our “widgets,” when we ignorantly overpay larger amounts than that in personal income and corporate taxes. Unfortunately, with over 66,498 pages in the current US tax code, most well-meaning CPAs don’t even know about many of the very legal and ethical methods that are designed into the laws to help businesses thrive and produce for our economy.

Learning how to properly structure your business will enable you to take home more money — even without an increase in business. It will also help you to become virtually bulletproof to today’s deluge of frivolous and unmerited lawsuits.

6. Motivation.  Anyone can go to a seminar or watch a show that leaves them feeling charged up and ready to tackle the world. However, this feeling often fades pretty quickly when the light of day to day reality hits. Learning how to tap into your personal passion and develop a method for self-motivation will infuse your business with energy and enthusiasm and attract others to help in the process.

7. Leadership and Influence. To accomplish anything of significant size or value, you simply cannot go it alone. You’ll go farther and faster if you surround yourself with great people who can help you succeed. From individuals or employees who support your efforts, to the management and legal experts who can help you make the best decisions and even those friends and colleagues who advise and motivate you — your rise to the top requires a great team. Attracting and motivating a superior team requires developing superior leadership skills.

8. Networking and Referrals. These are, perhaps, two of the most misunderstood and misused words in business. Yet, networking and generating referrals can provide incredible gains to your business. Learning a tried-and-true system for cultivating a rich, never-ending supply of prospects and referrals can help you predictably deliver these gains, year after year, without increasing your advertising expenditures.

9. Marketing. Do you have a comprehensive strategy that consistently delivers new customers and profits again and again. If not, then this is the year you need to get beyond employing advertising tactics and develop a real marketing “machine” to predictably deliver increases in sales — whenever you want them.

10. Entrepreneurship. There’s a big difference between selling your skills, talents or specialized knowledge and being a real entrepreneur — one who can consistently create profits from different ventures time after time. Real entrepreneurs have learned how to recognize, evaluate and act on opportunities. When you learn these skills you will be able to build businesses to be assets that deliver passive profits or can be sold for huge gains. You’ll also have the freedom that comes with knowing you could start over and do it from scratch if you ever needed or wanted to.

Admittedly, a list of ten different entrepreneurial skill areas like this can be overwhelming to think about. There are several that I know I could use some work on. Being created for growth, the learning and improvement will never end. That thought can be both empowering and exhausting at the same time.

However, focusing initially on even 2 or 3 of these areas will quickly start the process and create the synergy to help you make huge, rapid improvements in both your personal and professional life — so that when you look back on 2007, you’ll be amazed at what you finally accomplished.

By concentrating on these universally applied skills and principles versus simply short-sighted tactics, you will be equipping yourself for greater success in all your undertakings in 2007 and beyond!

Later this month, my business partner Thom Scott and I are hosting an Extreme Business Makeovers seminar to provide practical, expert guidance in each of these ten areas.

Our seminar has been scheduled in conjunction with the kickoff of Entrepreneurship Week USA on February 23rd and 24th in Orlando, Florida, and will feature a wide range of highly-respect business speakers — including Hall of Fame Quarterback Fran Tarkenton — each of whom is an expert in one or more of these skill areas.

For more information, please visit our event web site.

Bob Burg is a partner in Burg-Scott Communications and a co-Founder of The Success Mechanics. Their next Extreme Business Makeovers seminar, featuring Hall of Fame Quarterback Fran Tarkenton, is being held in conjunction with the kickoff of Entrepreneurship Week USA on February 23 and 24 in Orlando, Florida. Visit the Success Mechanics web site for more information.

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To post comments, please log in first. The Atlasphere is a social networking site for admirers of Ayn Rand's novels, most notably The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. In addition to our online magazine, we offer a member directory and a dating service. If you share our enjoyment of Ayn Rand's novels, please sign up or log in to post comments.