Here are some of the things successful entrepreneurs say to themselves every day, because these statements help them do the things that lead to even greater success.
1. "Ideas are great, but execution is everything."
Everyone has great ideas, but the only ideas that have value are the ideas you execute. If you're searching for that one big idea that will change your business, take a step back and regroup.
Spend a few minutes each day searching for a revolutionary idea, but put the majority of your focus on developing ideas that help your business execute better.
Fix what isn't working, and think of better ways to serve your customers. Those are the ideas you really need.
2. "I will repay my dues."
Sure, you work hard. You sacrifice a lot. But hard work and sacrifice isn't a result; each is just an element in a process. The only thing you deserve is what you earn. For example, don't pull cash out of your business simply to reward yourself, simply because you've worked hard and you deserve it.
Reward yourself after your business has generated, and is likely to keep generating, significant cash.
What you deserve is not the result of your effort, it's the result of your bottom line.
3. "Capital is an answer, but never the answer."
No business has enough capital. According to the Census Bureau, 30 percent of small businesses were started with less than $5,000, and 10 percent of small-business owners used a credit card to partly or fully fund the business.
You may have little control of how much cash you have on hand, but you have a lot of control over revenue and costs.
Stop worrying about the capital you don't have and focus on leveraging what you do have, especially your effort capital.
4. "Where sales and revenue are concerned, too much is never enough."
If you're like me and your background is in operations, it's natural to focus on increasing productivity and minimizing costs. Often it's impossible to save your way to profitability, though, and sometimes making cuts, especially in marketing and sales, makes it even harder.
Often Randolph Duke is right. The way through many problems is "Sell! Sell!"
5. "The only customer loyalty that matters is earned loyalty."
Loyalty is hard to earn and easy to lose. I'm so loyal to my local bike shop I'll even pay more; otherwise, I'd feel guilty.
But say I want to buy a bike they sell for $3,000. Would I buy the bike elsewhere for $2,900? No. $2,800? Probably not. $2,500? Absolutely. A customer's loyalty is primarily based on a customer's self-interest, as it should be.
If your prices are higher, your service can outweigh those price differences, but only to a point. Plus, even as you read this, your competitors are working hard to steal the loyalty of your customers.
6. "I will do at least one thing that scares me."
The most paralyzing fear is fear of the unknown (at least, it is for me).
Yet nothing ever turns out to be as hard or as scary as we think. Plus, it's incredibly exciting to overcome a fear. You get that "I can't believe I just did that!" rush, a thrill you may not have experienced for a long time.
Every day, do one thing a little scary, whether physically or emotionally. Trust that you will figure out how to overcome any problems that arise. That's a great way to help your business grow -- and to help you grow.
7. "We will do what other companies are not willing to do."
Often the easiest way to be different is to do the things other people refuse to do.
So pick one thing other people won't do. It can be simple. It can be small. It doesn't matter. Whatever it is, do it. You'll instantly be a little different from the rest of the pack.
Then keep going. Every day, think of one thing to do that no one else is willing to do.
After a week, your business will be uncommon. After a month, your business will be special. After a year, your business will be incredible, and it definitely won't be like any other.
8. "I am my business."
Every employee is important, but you are more important only because you have the greatest authority and therefore the greatest responsibility.
Ultimately your business is a reflection of you; fail to recognize that fact and you give up the responsibility that is naturally yours.
9. "Word of mouth is a result, not a driver."
Word of mouth is relatively passive and largely outside your control. No matter how many incentives you create, most of your customers won't become raving fans and spread the "gospel of you" to everyone they meet.
Except in rare cases, the only way to grow a business is to actively market and sell.
Someday word of mouth and referrals may drive significant business, but until that happens, focus on actively hunting, not passively gathering.
10. "I will fix the small problems so they won't grow into big problems."
Sometimes you can't afford to let others struggle. Allowing employees to learn from their mistakes is fine, but sometimes you have to step in.
Before you delegate a task, decide how far you're willing to let an employee go. Then track the person's progress and take over when necessary. Employees can still benefit from an abbreviated experience as long as they stay involved after you take back some of the control.
Learning experiences are great -- but never at the expense of results.