Ten rules for success in business

ZAC DE SILVA
Last updated 05:00 06/07/2014

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If only being successful in business was as simple as clicking your fingers. Working with many Kiwi clients regularly, I see time and time again what works for business and what doesn't.

Like most things in life, running a business is a balancing act - you might have the best product in the world but if your customer service leaves a lot to be desired you won't succeed. Likewise, you might have the best possible team, but your competitor down the road beats you every time on product quality and price. Here are my 10 rules for business success. Hopefully there's a point (or two) that you can apply to yourself or your business.

1. Target

You are not all things to all people. Decide on your niche. Narrow your focus and you'll broaden your appeal. The quickest way to fail is to try to be everything to everyone.

2. Be different

If your competitors are doing it, don't. Stand out from an overcrowded marketplace where so much of the advertising and so many products look the same.

What are those things you wish you could do but haven't? Realistically, most of your ideas can be done - do them and be different to the rest. Different is good.

3. Build a team

Don't hire an employee to fill a position, employ a person to be part of a team to build your business. And if they don't ooze your values, don't touch them with a bargepole - you can't change someone's values, so make sure the people you bring on board share the same values as you. Trust your gut feeling.

4. Be fast

Time is the most precious commodity. When delivery is expected Friday, show up Thursday afternoon. Return calls and emails now. And if you can't meet the deadline, tell them as soon as you know you won't hit it, rather than at the last minute. Preferably, of course, just deliver!

5. Say thank you

A lot. Tell your customers and employees how much you appreciate them. Better yet, do it the old-fashioned way: take pen to paper and write them a note.

6. Be consistent

Make sure your business has a consistent look and feel. A customer must get the same flavour from everyone within your organisation and every piece of communication from your business. Always.

7 . Smile

Don't think people buy from you only because of price, product quality or your warranty. They buy because they like you. When you are interviewing someone for a position in your company and you don't see a smile, pass on them.

8. Fanatical optimism

The glass must always be half full.

Attitude will always win out in the end and infect all of those around you.

Google, Apple and Facebook were all one-man bands at one stage, which shows the sky really is the limit (in fact, make that the stars) if you go about your business and personal goals the right way.

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9. Sell soft

Don't ever hard sell.

Instead solve problems and satisfy wants. Do what is truly best for your customer. Do that and watch the word of mouth referrals roll in.

10. Leave your comfort zone

Never accept the idea that this is the way you've always done it. Never accept that a new idea or technology could never work for you.

Try new things. If you don't, someone else will and you will kick yourself for not having given it a go. You can do it (thanks Nike) So, just do it!

So what will you think more on and start doing tomorrow? Actually today would be better.

Zac de Silva is a business coach - www.businesschanging.com

- Sunday Star Times

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