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Success: Luck or Hard Work?

Luck and hard work are connected in many ways.

While you may get a stroke of luck one day, this is usually driven by the hard work put in to finding opportunity or working on your own self-development.

Luck certainly does exist and we can’t deny it’s importance. Think about how different your life would look if you were born in a different country, with a different culture and different educational opportunity. Your entire existence is dependent on nothing but luck.

However, luck does tend to favour people who work hard and make the effort. When comparing yourself to similar people with similar backgrounds, the difference in success usually comes down to hard work and determination.

It all depends on how you view life and success. You may have won the genetic lottery, but it’s what you do with it that determines your success in life.

Successful individuals do tend to have some of the same characteristics and behaviours. Particularly, persistence, resiliency, courage and perseverance. They are driven by a clear purpose and a desire to ‘make something of themselves’, learning from their failures instead of letting failure de-rail them.

Successful people tend to have a passion for life and what they do, they pride themselves on their integrity and discipline. They are self-reliant while being optimistic and value connection and community.

Hard work allows successful people to be open to possibilities, to find opportunity and to ‘go for it’ when luck does strike. In essence, creating their own luck. Putting the work into your business and your own personal journey, plus surrounding yourself with the right people, makes you more able to take advantage when luck does come your way. It becomes a case of ‘right time, right place’ because you worked hard to be at that place at that time.

We cannot control our luck; all we can control is our own effort. However, if you are willing to work hard and pursue opportunity, you are more likely to stumble across a lucky break.

And once luck does come around, the best way to make the most of it is to work hard. You could just turn your lucky break into a lucky streak.

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Going for Gold: Setting S.M.A.R.T Goal

Goals are part of life and business, they provide direction and motivation. They help you prioritise what you want to accomplish – even if it is not a conscious decision. Without setting goals, life can become chaotic and everything comes down to chance. If you want to realise your Vision, you must have goals.

Setting goals provides the target, but how are you going to get there? How can you gain clarity and focus on a determined outcome?

S.M.A.R.T Goals

You’ve surely heard the term and you may even know what it stands for, but why are they so important?

SMART Goals give you structure, clarity, focus and the ability to track your progress toward your goals. They help to ensure that everyone on your team knows where you are headed AND how you are going to get there. In short, they will increase your chances of achieving your goals.

S.M.A.R.T stands for

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Achievable

R – Relevant

T – Timely

S – Specific

This is like the Mission Statement of your goal. Create simple, yet significant goals that are well-defined and clearly set out. Specifying your goals helps focus your efforts and motivate you toward achieveing them.

Think about what you want to accomplish and why is it is important. If you want to know more about “Why you should start with Why”,

Get specific about things like who should be involved and where this is all going to happen as well as which resources will be involved. Also bring into consideration any limitations or conditions.

M – Measurable

Being able to measure your goals is a true motivator as you progress through them. Measuring your progress helps you stay focused and gets everyone excited about getting closer to the main goal.

Think about your metrics and how you are going to determine if and when you have met the goal. Set milestones for bigger goals so as you accomplish one task, you are motivated to continue on to the next.

A – Achievable

The goal is supposed to inspire and encourage you to achieve it. If the goal seems impossible, you will only get discouraged and continue to procrastinate. The goal needs to be realistic, have you got the resources – time, effort and finances – to achieve the goal. You should stretch your ability and aim to improve, but the goal must be possible otherwise you may simply ‘give up’.

Do an analysis of past performance in the area of the goal and base your goal from that. If your goal is to boost sales by 100% in one month, but previous months have increased by an average of 5%, the goal probably isn’t attainable.

R – Relevant

Your goals should be relevant to your overall vision. They should be driving you toward your ultimate ideal of your business and your life.

Think about if your goal is worthwhile and if it matches well with other goals or efforts, it should make sense within the broader business goals.

T – Time-bound

Create a clear and defined timeline for your goal, create a start date, any progress update dates and an ultimate deadline. Ensure the goal deadline is realistic but create some sense of urgency to create motivation. This prevents everyday tasks from taking priority and getting in the way of the goal.

Keep the deadline flexible as being too stringent can make achieving the goal nothing but a race against time, causing undue stress. Then, if you don’t achieve your goal within the timeline, consider why. Was your timeframe off? Were there external factors or unexpected roadblocks involved?

Creating SMART Goals should be a motivating experience if you approach them with positivity. They will help keep you motivated an on track. They give a sense of direction to help you achieve all your goals and bring your closer to the overall vision for your business.

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Why Start with Why

We all know that goals are an integral part of business. They are what give us clarity, focus, make us accountable and increase potential, as individuals and as businesses.

So, how do we go about setting business goals…

You may have seen the TED Talk or read one of the books by Simon Sinek where he talks about “The Golden Circle”. This simple but powerful model states that leaders should always start with “Why”.

Once you have the “Why” or purpose of your business, or goal, then you can strategise about How to achieve it and then finally What it is you actually want to accomplish.

The problem is, most people start with “What”. We start building a goal by determining what the goal is, then we wonder why we can’t stick to it. Think about New Years Resolutions; how many people do you know set a resolution to go to the gym, then by February, their membership card is sitting at the bottom of their unused gym bag never to see the light of day again.

The reason these What goals don’t work is because there is simply no feeling, no purpose behind them. There is no reason to keep going when the hard days come along, you are not even sure why you tried. That is why whatever your goal is, you must first ask yourself, “WHY?”

Keep asking yourself why until you find the true meaning or purpose of the goal. Find the why that will motivate you to keep going when things get tough, the why that will inspire you to take action and push past your comfort zone. With a well determined purpose behind your goal, you will find it much easier to push yourself to places you never even thought possible. In fact, it becomes almost impossible to turn your back on your goals.

You will also find it is easier to motivate the people around you with a well determined why. Being able to demonstrate why you want the company to move forward and giving your staff that emotional connection to your business goals will empower them to drive faster growth.

Just remember that determining and even communicating your Why is just the start, you still need to put in the work to achieve your goals. Strategise How you are going to achieve them and put a plan in place, your What. You still need to take the action, but with a powerful Why in place you may just find it so much easier and much more fulfilling reaching your goals.

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Using Checklist for Selling

If you want to increase your average dollar sale, it’s a really good idea to create a checklist or a questionnaire. Similar to add on selling, you simply run through a checklist with your client whenever they purchase a particular type of product.

This list should, of course, be prepared in advance and used with as many different products as possible. For example, let’s say that you are in the construction materials business. If a customer buys a can of paint, run through the list to see if they need brushes, thinners, drop sheets, stirrers, etc.

Here are some useful hints and tips on creating and using a checklist:

• Make sure every team member has the list.
• Check to make sure it’s being used with every customer.
• Have a reward system in place that acknowledges team members who make additional sales off the list.
• Test and measure – if they aren’t working change the questions.

Use a Questionnaire:

Dig as deep as you can. Make sure you ask enough questions to leave no stone unturned. The more questions you ask the more chance you have of finding another need or want that you can fill.

Also, if you’re unsure of any additional products or services that you could sell, a simple questionnaire can be effective. Use it to ask your customers what else they would like you to sell. Don’t limit yourself too much. Ask the customers to get a little creative. Maybe there is a whole new opportunity just waiting to be suggested.

Here are some useful hints and tips on using a questionnaire:

• Make your questionnaire simple but effective as a sales tool.
• Offer customers an incentive to participate, or just explain how what you’re doing will help them.
• Fill it out on the spot with you acting as a sounding board, don’t be afraid to ask more questions to dig deeper.
• Ask for their suggestions and act as quickly as possible.

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