My Guide for StreetSmart Business Success was created as the result of my more than 30 years of streetsmart business wits. I have certainly learned a thing or two about what to do and what not to do to come out a winner in the cut-throat world of business, by following my own guidelines.
The secret to how to learn and how to perform street smart business is not achieved from books. Common sense, intelligence, calculated risk-taking, and EXPERIENCE makes you street smart.
The philosophy of Street Smart business success
Since there is no college offering degrees in streetsmart, I created this Guide for myself first of all. The Guide is no guarantee of good results in your business venture, however. Look at it from the point of what a stockbroker may tell you: “Past performance is no guarantee of future success”.
I have paid for creating this Guide, or recipe of streetsmart business advice in blood, sweat, and tears, however.
You should always know what to expect and how to respond to things that you will be faced with as an entrepreneur.
Operating a business can be compared to being in a never-ending game of checkers. You constantly must plot strategies, outslick your competition, and keep your guard up, anticipating every move around you.
How the Guide works
Consider this Guide a map of how to apply the common sense that streetsmart requires in order to work.
These guidelines have always worked for me, and I always follow my hard-earned howtos myself. I hope that your use of these same guidelines will result in great progress in your business ventures.
They are not numbered in any sequence of importance. Each item is equally important.
#1. Learn Everything
Learn everything there is to know about the business you’re in. Never stop learning. Also, never be afraid of consulting and soliciting inputs from professionals and experts much more experienced than yourself.
#2. Attention To Details
You not only need to pay attention to details. You have to pay extreme attention to every detail. Oversee everything like a hawk. Don’t blink. If you blink you may miss something that could spell the difference between success and failure.
You must be capable of multi-tasking, keeping full control of your business at all times. Situational mastering must be maintained during low stress as well as high stress. You are wearing all the hats as a small business owner. That means you must know what’s going on within every aspect of your operation.
Since you are all alone at the position of ultimate decision-making authority you have nobody’s shoulder to cry on. Remember, it can be lonely at the top, but that motivates you to thrive. Consider greeting customers, shaking hands smiling, and make every customer or client feel like a million dollars a privilege that reaps the rewards for you.
#4. Can-do Attitude
Possessing a “can-do attitude” means you need to have a thick skin. Be fearless and willing to take calculated risks. Things will get difficult at times difficult things get at times. You may feel fear, but accept that as a normal reaction to stressful situations. Personally, I use problems as a motivation to perform even better. My competitive nature makes me thrive on problem-solving. Here’s my attitude: Problems are merely there to be solved, and there is no problem I cannot solve, no matter how difficult. Again if you want to be an entrepreneur you’ve got to have thick skin. If you don’t already have a thick skin then grow some!
#5. Trust but Verify & Carry a Big Stick
a) Trust But Verify
The saying “trust but verify” is a Russian proverb, first made famous when President Ronald Reagan used it in 1987 after the signing of the INF treaty with the Russians. You should apply this meme to your own business operating principles.
President Reagan may not have had any experience in street smart business success, but he did have proven street smart political success!
Initially, you should trust anyone who appears to have honest intentions. You put your manager in charge of a critical project because you trust her to do a good job. But trust must go hand-in-hand with verification. You always verify that the trust you put in a person results in the desired outcome.
b) Carry a Big Stick
The “big stick policy” refers to President Theodore Roosevelt’s foreign policy “speak softly and carry a big stick”. Carry a big stick refers to the necessity of taking decisive action on needed matters sufficiently far in advance of any likely crisis. President Roosevelt first mentioned the big stick policy in 1900, when he was the Governor of New York.
#6. Be Methodical
Being methodical means that you must be systematic, orderly, well organized and analytical in your business decisions. If you have a sudden crisis on your hand, the first thing you do is to sit on your hands! Don’t panic-react or do impulsive things in a rush. Take a deep breath while you collect your thoughts and plot your next strategy. Then use a step by step approach to problem-solving by being methodical.
#7. Maintain 100% control of your finances at all times
This one is self-explanatory. If things get 1% or more percentages out of total control of finances, immediately do whatever is necessary to return to 100% in control.
#8. Think like a Diplomat & Psychologist at the same time
You are going to run into all kinds of personalities in your business, from staff to customers to suppliers and beyond. The better you are at mastering people interaction the better off you’ll be in human interaction and negotiations.
As the boss, you will be dealing with all kinds of emotions. Sometimes you will be praised, while other times you will be berated. Don’t ever let anything get to you. If it benefits your business and your goals it’s ok to have your ego bruised and your pride swallowed. Don’t show anger. rather, always stay calm, collected, and diplomatic, and stay in full control of the situation. Maintain a confident attitude at all times and don’t blink if you feel insecure.
#9. Monitor your Competition
Constantly monitor your competition like a hovering radar. Plot countermeasures as needed. Dirty but slick, clever tricks are all fair games. Always outsmart your competition. That’s a necessity in street smart business success.
#10. Work Hard, Play Hard
Here’s my interpretation of this phrase: I work very hard and non-stop on my business ventures. But, all work and no time off is not good. Everybody needs a private life away from work. So, make sure you take time out for yourself to recharge your batteries. Let every thought about business or work leave your mind during your off-time. A healthy balance between work and play results in maintaining a high quality of life.
#11. Brand and Operational Strategies
Your operational strategies must always be centered around your brand. Your brand is your identifying mark, your identification. It’s what your customers or clients identify you with. Your brand is your unique label. When you become a powerful brand people will come to you. They come to you because you represent the best choice for what people need or like to associate themselves with.
Review and revise operational strategies and goals every day. This must be a part of your daily business routine. Your plan of action and goals for each day and week must be clear in your mind ahead of time. If you are not a planner, but rather, an impulsive or procrastinating person, then you really play with fire in small business! Actively work on your every goal to completion.
#12. Street smart Business Success includes learning from your Business Mistakes
There are two parts to how you can learn from your business mistakes that you need to be aware of:
a) Learn from your own mistakes.
Accept that it is normal to make mistakes. But do everything you can to learn how to prevent the same mistake from happening again. By the way, everybody makes mistakes, no one is perfect. Prevent mistakes from happening before they happen.
b) Study other people’s mistakes so you won’t make the same mistake.
If you study and learn from other people’s mistakes then you know how to never fall into that trap yourself.
#13. Business Relationships
A business relationship is just what the phrase implies, a relationship based on the best interest of your business.
Always keep business and personal relationships separate. Don’t be afraid of dumping any business relationship if that’s the best course for your business. This applies to everybody you deal with in business, from suppliers to professional help to contractors, employees, and even customers.
In private, among those who truly know me would describe me as “Mr. Nice-guy”. In business, however, “Mr. Nice-guy” can turn into “Godzilla” in a minute, if needed. I still treat everybody with respect, however, even those who may have wronged me at some point.
Your customer or client is your “boss”. Without customers or clients, there is no business. The bottom line: always do whatever you can to please your “boss” (customer or client) and to keep her or him happy. If you don’t? Well, you just may get fired! One key thing to remember when you talk with customers: Listen to them and let them speak before you open your mouth!
But, are there times when your “boss” is just outright wrong? Absolutely! How do you handle those situations? Here’s is your starting point: remember, being a psychologist is one of those many hats that you have to wear as a business owner.
Therefore the customer is always right. By always applying your mind to the initial benefit of the doubt in favor of your customer you would create a mindset that sets you up for further negotiations. That will help you say the right things to the customer. Always keep what they want in your mind first, to stay in sync with their thought process. In that way, your answers should be geared towards what they want to hear, while you gradually make them understand that what you have to say is actually to their best benefit. Negotiations, applying diplomacy and courtesy skills will help you greatly when you deal with your customers and clients.
Your inputs on this?
If you have anything to add to this guide to this guide for street smart business success please let me know here. I know many of you out have a lot of business experiences to share, so your comments are always appreciated.