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Attitude will determine business success

A 5-point self-examination

There is an ad that has appeared in many of the financial magazines. Do you remember seeing the ad with two people sitting on a bench, both reading a book? The woman is reading one about becoming a wealthy person. The man is reading the book titled, “I am happy.”

While not remembering which of the money-market firms the ad was promoting, the gist of its ad was to ask, “Which of the two people would you like to be?” Today, we are taking that comparison and asking you to move it into your business and ask yourself several questions.

In trying to locate the person who is achieving, as compared to the one who is always struggling, it has been my experience that there are several obvious signs to customers as to which type of person owns the business. It shows in the ways they talk to their customers and their employees. It shows in the ways they service their customers, both in routine transactions and with customers registering complaints.

When stopping these business owners or managers to ask questions, it is fascinating and most enjoyable to watch and listen to them as they tell you about their businesses. Victoria Neal, in an issue of Entrepreneur magazine, stated there are five signs that can help you tell if you or the person you are talking to is an optimistic entrepreneur.

They have a clear vision of what they want to achieve. If you visit the offices of these optimists, you will probably see a list of items to be achieved. You may even see that several of the items have been checked off, indicating they have been completed.

In talking with these individuals, they can enumerate what they want to achieve. They often brag about their employees, a new product or service they now offer, or just how they see progress in their efforts to achieve their goals.

Continuing with the list from Entrepreneur, if we are able to observe these people in action, we would find that they spend more than 50 percent of their time working toward achieving that vision.

Jack Rice, an industry speaker and consultant, was a frequent visitor to my business for many years. What I most remember are his comments about the progress we were making in our business. He would tell us we were being proactive instead of reactive to situations.

Jack had a definition of crisis management. It is the business owner or manager who came to work each morning and found less than 80 percent of the workday being spent doing the things he had planned to do. The rest of his time was spent solving problems and putting out fires that did not exist when he came to work that morning.

The third item in this article becomes obvious when we discuss the successes and challenges the owners or managers are having in their businesses. Optimists will take 100 percent of the credit for all of their successes. This is not arrogance but clearly states that the success is not due to luck. It is due to working hard, and working smart.

On the other hand, these people will also take full responsibility for any and all failures the business has experienced. You can also tell that these owners or managers have learned from the situations and are now positioned to utilize that experience for the growth of their businesses.

The fourth point from the Entrepreneur article states that our business owners or managers avoid those who are “emotional vampires”—those individuals, employees, customers, and others who try to take away others’ good feelings. To them success is just luck, and failure is an expected event.

I remember an office manager we hired who was such an emotional vampire that it bothered her when she encountered someone who saw a failure as a lesson and was then prepared to move forward. The emotional vampire became the fulfillment of the expression, “If you hear something long enough, you will begin to believe it.”

Some business owners and managers take the idea of avoiding emotional vampires one step further by surrounding themselves with other business owners and managers who are also striving to be optimistic entrepreneurs.

This industry, like many others, has more and more focus groups created among business owners and managers. They meet at various trade shows and conferences. Often they compare details of their businesses and set goals for themselves—for which they are accountable to their fellow group members.

The last indicator in the list of five is that these people ooze confidence and have a “can-do” attitude. This is not to say that by simply putting a smile on their faces and setting a goal of doubling their sales, they expect to see it happen the next day. In light of the competition businesses face today—with every business from a mass merchant to a one-person operation—running a business requires determination. If the owner or manager of the business is not going to be the optimist, and “cheerleader,” why should any employee have a “can-do” attitude?

Taking this five-point self-examination can help you become the owner or manager of the business that has everything going its way. We are confident of it!

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.
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