There’s no shortage of well-meaning people offering business advice to budding entrepreneurs. Even seasoned business veterans have to navigate the murky waters of what business advice to take and what advice to let in one ear and out the other.
So what business advice should you follow in order to further your business? To put it simply, take advice from people who are legitimately successful and who have already accomplished goals similar to yours. Anything else is simply a distraction.
I recently had the privilege of attending the Business Game Changer event, hosted by SpeakUp Speakers, in Salt Lake City, Utah. What made this event different from others I’ve attended was the fact that the keynote speakers had done exactly what I intend to do: Collectively, they generated over $250 million in business revenue. I was able to meet with them and pick their brains both before and after the event, and drill down exactly what it took for them to be successful (and profitable).
Here are four success tips I learned from those seasoned business pros, along with some real life examples of how to apply them to your growing empire.
Pro Tip #1: Seek to be transformational, not transactional
Cary White, an author, sales expert and CMO of Adventure Quest Training, says the key to creating a buying atmosphere (instead of a selling atmosphere) is to focus on transformations, rather than transactions.
Most businesses make the mistake of focusing on sales transactions, but smart businesses realize that in order to have staying power, you need to transform the customer.
A prime example of a business that majors in transformation is Disney. While there’s certainly no shortage of theme park competitors, Disney consistently takes the cake as number one, because going to their theme parks is a transformational experience.
The key to becoming a transformational business versus a business that just takes people’s money lies in the customer experience. Focus on the experience you’re providing the customer and set out to make their experience with you better than any of your competitors.
It’s also imperative to align your business with a higher purpose. If your only goal in business is to make money, your customers will know it.
Find your passion and let it drive the decisions you make every day. Make your mission and your purpose known on your website and in your branding, and the right customers and clients will find their way to you.
Pro Tip #2: Turn challenges into your biggest opportunities
A common theme during this game-changing business event was that success is often dictated by how you treat your challenges. Do you let them define you or do you look for the silver lining?
There’s a reason the tragedy-to-triumph and rags-to-riches stories dominate the headlines: Successful people are overcomers, and there’s a lot entrepreneurs who stand to learn from people who’ve overcome hardships.
So you’re facing a challenge in your personal life or your business? Experts suggest that you write down a list of your challenges and then next to them, write down the opportunities inherent in each challenge. What do you stand to learn from these challenges? How will you be better as a person or as a business owner when you come out the other side of the challenge?
For the challenges that don’t seem to have a silver lining or easy fix, stop dwelling on them. Some challenges are simply beyond our control. By focusing on things we can change, instead of things we can’t change, we become more productive and efficient in our businesses.
Pro Tip #3: The best salespeople don’t sell anything
Yes, you read that right. The best salespeople don’t focus on selling, they focus on relationship building.
Clay Neves has spent over 30 years as a sales trainer, and his expertise has landed him on Inc.’s 500 & 5000 lists multiple times. His golden piece of advice? Top-performing salespeople don’t give sales pitches, they ask questions.
Rather than perfecting a sales pitch or cornering every business contact you meet, you’re better off building relationships and having conversations.
By asking leading questions and allowing potential customers and clients to sell themselves, you completely shift the sales process and avoid looking like a shady, used-car salesman.
Another pro tip? Learn to say no to customers and clients that aren’t a good fit. Your bottom line will thank you and so will your sanity.
Pro Tip #4: Take accountability
The best business plans and marketing strategies in the world can’t save your business if you don’t take accountability for the things you do (or don’t do).
Jerry Lund, owner of Fire and Fuel Apparel and an attendee at the event, says the most important thing he learned from these million-dollar business experts was something very simple: “If I take the accountability for it, I can fix it.”
At the end of the day, accountability not only helps you get things done, but it also breeds trust with your customers and your team.
Find an accountability partner, mentor or coach to hold you accountable until you learn to do it on your own. Once you’re able to be accountable to someone else or yourself, you can get real about why your business is or isn’t working.
It’s much easier to collaborate with potential partners, clients and industry leaders when you’re accountable. And successful collaboration is key to growing a business.
Stop listening to your broke uncle
Taking the right business advice can save you from making expensive mistakes. By listening to people who have accomplished similar goals, you can avoid many common business pitfalls.
The key to taking anyone’s advice is to stop listening to people who are broke, unhappy and inexperienced. Find people who are successful in your industry and mimic what they do. After all, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel unless you absolutely have to.
Image from Jirsak/Shutterstock