How To Move From Failure To Success (written February, 2007)

Change Your Attitude.

Maybe you have a good reason for feeling bad. Maybe you were cheated or ripped off, but instead of moaning about “why did this happen to me?” Start asking yourself “what can I do to turn the situation around?” You may not have the answer right away. At this stage though it’s more important to be asking the right questions. The wrong questions will hold you back and keep you in the past. The right ones will move you forward into the future.

Believe That You Have The Power To Change Things.

The one thing to take from the past is the experience of success. Many people “have it and lose it and have it again.” The way they get back on top is by realizing that being down is only temporary.

Maybe you haven’t had the experience of creating a business success or earning a lot of money. Think back to a time when you made a wise choice then acted on it in a positive way. Maybe you recovered from an accident or an illness or maybe you helped make someone else’s life better. Most people can do more than they think they can and just by thinking about it, they’ll find real success.

Work Harder and Smarter.

Forget about winning the lottery. The surest way to make money is the old fashioned way. Working for it! When you’re starting a new business expect to work harder for months, even several years.

But don’t be afraid to take short cuts. If you can hire someone or buy a piece of equipment that saves you time. If you spend all your time producing the product or supplying the service, you may not have time to see the big picture, set goals for the future and make important decisions that will keep your business ahead of the competition. To succeed you need clear focus, which means taking time away from work and pressure to think.

Keep Focusing On What You Want.

At a school for race-car drivers, the instructor told students that one of their most important skills was learning how to come out of a skid. To do this successfully, you have to focus on what you want, not what you fear. Drivers who focus on the fence at the side of the road will hit it instead of hugging the road.

Business people who are fearful of financial disaster may head toward it instead of taking the risks necessary to become successful. If you focus on what you want for your business, you’ll be ready for the challenges and you’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work.

See the recession as a time of opportunity. Economic downturns open up different opportunities. People need value for their money. They need things repaired that they might have otherwise replaced. As a businessperson, you may now be able to buy equipment or inventory for less too.

Think Ahead.

Business growth is rarely a steady upward climb. There’ll be spurts of growth followed by setbacks and you probably won’t be able to predict either. If you believe what you’re doing has value and appeal to many people in the long run look for ways to ride out the bad times.

Also look ahead by staying on top of changes. Keep in touch with innovations in technology and how they affect your business. Don’t buy all the latest gimmicks if you don’t need them, but don’t be afraid to invest in equipment or marketing methods that will help you reach your goals.

Don’t ignore political or social changes that can make a difference too. They can mean that your whole market is changing. Read everything you can get your hands on, stay tuned in to other media and watch carefully what your competition is doing. Keep asking yourself, “how can I cash in on this new trend?” and “what do I have to do to catch up?”

Know What You’re Best At.

Business people sometimes need to stop and ask themselves, “What business am I in anyway?” You’d think they’d know, but it’s often not as simple as that. Perhaps you manufacture and sell auto parts. You need to determine in which of these areas you have an edge. Are you manufacturing methods more cost effective, more efficient and more stable than anybody else’s? Or are you struggling at the factory but you’re a real expert in marketing the products? Once you find what you can do better than anyone else, keep doing it. You’ll not only stay in business through tough times, you’ll stay ahead.

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.