It’s not about luck. Success relies on a formula

a group of people sitting around a wooden table

Why is it that successful businesses are often started by high school dropouts, those with learning difficulties and others who were homeless?

Success can’t be taught in school. It’s not limited to intellectuals. Nor does it require one to come from a stable background.

Your success is completely dependant on the formulation of a strategy. And that formulation will separate you from the winners or losers in business.

Some will suggest envisioning what you want is good enough. I say that’s airy-fairy BS because it can’t be measured and is not tangible – I’ll leave that kinda rubbish thinking to life coaches.

If your success is not planned out to within an inch of your life, you’re falling short of the mark and, in time, it will cost you. And the only way it can be planned to a degree that will benefit you and keep you focused during tough times is the process I’m about to explain.

How to formulate a winning strategy

Start with your why
Ok, so this has become a touch airy-fairy in recent times but when done correctly it remains important. Simon Sinek’s book Start With Your Why is well worth the read to grasp the power of having a why that drives you forward.

Here’s one quote from Simon that resonates with me:

“Very few people or companies can clearly articulate why they do what they do. By ‘why’ I mean your purpose, cause or belief – why does your company exist? Why do you get out of bed every morning? And why should anyone care?”

Most business owners I deal with don’t have answers to these fundamental questions and it’s killing them. They start out in business with a loose idea of what they want (commonly it’s to not be ordered around by a mean-spirited boss), but that doesn’t mean they have a strong enough driver when customers dry-up or the finances take a hit.

If you know your reason (or why) for being the tough times can be navigated through. A reason for being in business (or life) is different for everybody and nobody can claim yours is not worthy nor right.

Take some time out to think about your reason for being and articulate it to yourself, your staff, your customers and your family. If they understand why you’re doing what you’re doing, they’ll be more likely to stick by you and back you in.

Document this down. Post it near your desk and read it often. Take inspiration from your why and let it fuel you.

Know what you want to achieve

Knowing your why is great, but knowing what you want to achieve takes you to the next level. There are many decisions that need to be made here:

  • Sold the business and retired by the age of 45?
  • In charge of an international operation?
  • Running a steady business that accommodates work-life balance?

Like your why, what you want to achieve will be different for all people and nothing is right or wrong – success comes in many forms.

But if you don’t know what you want to achieve with your business, you’ll forever be changing track when the next new shiny object comes along to distract you.

This is the point where you make big, lofty claims about what you want to achieve. Don’t allow fear or rationale to kick in. Remember the aeroplane was once a loft ambition of the Wright brothers (no, we’re not related). Now more than 100 years later, we confidently travel the world in less time and relative comfort all because of these two brothers who set about achieving what they wanted to.

So, start noting down what it is you want to achieve and plan big.

Breakdown your big achievement/s

When it’s written down, looking at everything you want to achieve can be scary. Are there really enough hours in the day, week or year to complete that? It’s doubtful, but if you break your big achievement into smaller more manageable tasks you’ll be able to tick-off certain sections of it each day.

Here’s how I do it:

Step one: I have complete and unwavering clarity around my ultimate achievement. Yet, I remain fully aware that hitting this marker is not an overnight sensation. So, I plan out what the next 12 months will look like and what needs to be done to propel me towards what I want to achieve. I put in place measures to keep me on track and accountable. And, most importantly, I remain disciplined and do what needs to be done.

Step two: I then break each year down further into quarterly actionable steps across 90-day work blocks. I don’t believe we have much ability to work beyond 90-day cycles and I make all my clients work to this timeframe. In short, it means every three months I have to reload and start the next 90-day block. The good news is if I achieve what I want I reward myself with some time out knowing I’ve completed my set of tasks and that these have taken me closer to my big achievement.

Committing to working in 90-day cycles enables me to get more done, remain focused and not lose sight of what’s important (in business and life) and alleviates stress and burnout.

Measure, assess and do it again

At the end of the 90-days, you need to conduct an audit of everything you have done over the last 90-days.

This includes your failures and the things you said you would do but didn’t (including those you didn’t start). You can’t move forward without acknowledgment of what needs to improve and what needs your attention.

Be honest and review progress and address the reasons why didn’t do what you said you would. Once you know what they are, action them in the following 90-days – although don’t get into the habit of thinking tasks can be pushed out to the following 90-days simply because you’ve told yourself they can be.

It’s not all doom and gloom here. Celebrate your 90-day wins and enjoy what you have achieved over this time. Running your business is meant to be fun and is also a catalyst for success. If my clients achieve what they set out, I tell them to take a long weekend and get away from it all.

Being successful in business is not reserved for those with an elite education. In fact, you don’t need to have the IQ of a rocket scientist to succeed. All that’s required is the ability to remain consistent and achieve the small tasks that will push you towards your ultimate achievement.

So, here’s what you’ve got to do:

  • Work out why you’re in business and what keeps you going in tough times
  • Articulate what you want to achieve in business (and life)
  • Break your achievements down into tasks that can be completed in 90 days
  • Measure and track your progress

Your success comes down to your willingness to work out a formula behind your strategy that will see you achieve what you want to.

If it’s not in place already, you need to stop what you’re doing and go through the steps.

What you lose in time right now going through this will be returned 10-fold in the coming three months (or 90-days), and let’s not forget the years to come.