Business Tips from Top Pros

Look around and sometimes it seems like success is so easy. Grab a magazine, look at the news and log onto the ‘net and all you seem to see is people who are killing it. Everything they touch turns to gold. Sure, there’s the occasional person who puts their business into the wall or screws up a perfectly good thing, but those stories seem few and far between.

Why does business feel different than that? Well, because it is. Most people who start out fail. Those who succeed just got smarter and better and kept trying until they made it work or found something that did. But what did they learn, exactly, and what did they do?

Here are a few business tips I’ve learned from either the hard way or from other top pros…

Accept the responsibility and the potential consequences

So many people in business live and work like it’s all going to fall apart tomorrow. They become so fixated on what might go wrong that they actually predict and facilitate their own demise. It seems antithetical, but it happens all the time. As a young professional, you are uniquely positioned, because you typically will have less to “lose” than a more established and entrenched businessperson. But that doesn’t mean the more established person should take himself so seriously that he or she is afraid to change or grow or take risks. You know who is scared to take risks? Failures.

Learn to focus not on success, but on significance

It’s one thing to make your sales goals. It’s something else entirely to have an increasing influence in the market. If people – and customers – learn to depend on you to meet their needs and their wants, then your influence over and significance to them will grow. That’s when real success comes. Sure, you can make sales, but will they miss you if you’re gone. That’s when you know you’re on the right track.

Quality never stops mattering

From the top down and the bottom up, you need to have the best people doing the best work and doing the best job fulfilling your customers’ expectations. Notice, I didn’t say offering the “best product” because it’s not really about always having the absolute best. It’s about fulfilling customer expectations. Look at McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A. Do they have the best burgers or chicken you can buy, or do they offer a consistent product at a price and quality level their customers expect? Never forget, customers always compare their experience to their expectation long before they compare you to a competitor.

So, what about it? Find something in that list you can use? If not, maybe you need to take a second look, both at the article and at your approach..

Chris Burch is a venture capitalist and founder of Burch Creative Capital.

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