"Being a top athlete requires total concentration. And some sacrifices. I have suffered a great deal, but here's the result. Never give up, make your dreams come true."
Alain Robert, 1962–
Know as the 'Human Spider', Frenchman Robert has scaled 85 skyscrapers including many of the world's tallest buildings, most without ropes or assistance.
During the start-up phase of your business emotion is a powerful ally, but in times of success and failure it can confuse you. So remember: things are never as good or as bad as they seem at the time.
Listen to your heart and you will know the right level of appreciation for any given situation. Allowing yourself to lose a piece of business might be a better prospect than fighting for it; conversely, winning a new piece of business might mean over-expansion during a difficult economic time.
Keep everything in perspective. Take a step away and look back at the real situation – be objective rather than subjective.
"The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary."
Vince Lombardi, 1913–70
American football coach, head coach of the Green Bay Packers and famous for his motivational skills and commitment to winning.
Two thirds of the working population would rather be doing something else instead of their current job. How hard do you think these people are working for the organizations that employ them?
Find some self-employed entrepreneurs and ask them whether they enjoy their work. The answer will most likely be that the work is very hard and the hours are long, but the rewards, both financial and social, are fantastic and going to work is something they look forward to every day.
There are few shortcuts to success, but looking for them is one way to make your hard work go further.
"Some people fold after making one timid request. They quit too soon. Keep asking until you find the answers. In sales there are usually four or five 'no's' before you get a 'yes'."
Jack Canfield, 1944–
American motivational speaker and success coach, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series with Mark Victor Hansen.
If your customers are putting up barriers, find out why – their implied negativity may not always be founded on what you expect.
You need to have the ability to appreciate and empathize with an objection before you can overcome it.
Perhaps you think it's a fatal cost objection, when it may simply be a cost objection during this budget phase. You don't yet know what you don't know, so ask.
Remember, in business it's much easier to say no. Be bold enough to ask difficult questions and challenge the answers you get with creative reasoning.
"I've always worked very, very hard, and the harder I worked, the luckier I got."
Alan Bond, 1938–
British-born Australian businessman, property developer and founder of The Bond Corporation, who was awarded Australian of the Year for bankrolling a winning America's Cup yachting challenge.
Luck and chance play important roles in your success.
However hard you work there will be times when things naturally fall into place with very little effort. In most cases this is simply the culmination of all the activity you have invested in growing your company.
Even if you lose a sale, stay in touch with the prospect and offer to help in the future. You will be next in line should the competitors products fail to deliver.
We all know people who are naturally lucky, but the people who make things look easy are often those who work the hardest.
"A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step."
Lao Tzu, c. 600 bce
Chinese philosopher, author of the Tao-Te Ching, the most frequently translated text after the Bible.
Small successes are the building blocks of large achievements. Jump from each little win to the next and grow in confidence during your business journey.
Celebrate new contracts, new employees, new customers – and the fact that it's Friday. Celebrate the anniversary of the birth of your business and ask your customers to join in.
When things aren't going your way, remember these small triumphs and how you went about achieving them to ensure that you have enough confidence to overcome trivial issues.
Each step you take is a step nearer your goal. If you stand still you will never get any closer.
"Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."
Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904–91
American author and cartoonist, best known for his collection of children's books written under the pen name Dr. Seuss, such as Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat.
If you can solve a problem that millions of people suffer from, then you have both a product and a market.
James Dyson saw a problem with vacuum cleaners and found a way to overcome the time, cost and mess endured when changing bags full of dust and household dirt. By doing away with the bag, Dyson solved a simple problem with complex technology and packaged it as a straightforward solution for the consumer.
Find out what frustrates people and see if there's an opportunity for you to create a better way of getting things done.
"Part of the issue of achievement is to be able to set realistic goals, but that's one of the hardest things to do because you don't always know exactly where you're going, and you shouldn't."
George Lucas, 1944–
Academy Award-nominated American film director, producer and screenwriter, creator of the Star Wars saga and the Indiana Jones films.
There's nothing more frustrating than failing to achieve a personal goal for reasons that are beyond your control. It's the same with business goals.
Always set goals that you can realistically achieve within a set time period and over which you have as much control as possible.
Making £1m in 12 months is not easily achievable: try making £1m in 5 years instead. How do you go about this? Where do you start? What goals can you set to guide you on the path to this larger aspiration?
Set small but achievable goals to boost confidence with small but meaningful wins.
"Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory."
Mahatma Gandhi, 1869–1948
Political and spiritual leader of India and the Indian independence movement, whose birthday, 2nd October, is celebrated as a national holiday and the International Day of Non-Violence.
There will be challenging times in any business, but particularly in a start up. It is imperative that you focus on the task you have set yourself. There will be times when competitors outflank you or when nature conspires to disrupt your business. These challenges are mostly outside your immediate control.
Learn from disasters and work them to your advantage. Some people take the easy route back to their former lives if things go wrong. Have the courage to strive and persevere in order to succeed and create a different world for yourself.
"Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won't, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can't."
You have decided to start your adventure. This is an opportunity to create your own destiny from the start and on your own terms.
There are few hard-and-fast rules in business, so you need to do everything and anything to make your business a success. If you invest time, money and emotion into your business it will come alive.
You are the greatest advocate of your business, so live and breathe your product or service to show the world how enthusiastic you are about it.
"The greatest reward in becoming a millionaire is not the amount of money that you earn. It is the kind of person that you have to become to become a millionaire in the first place."
Jim Rohn, 1930–
American entrepreneur and speaker on personal development.
What type of person do you need to be to achieve success? Are you a born innovator or do you need to learn the rudiments of entrepreneurship first?
The adventure of founding your own business is about more than money, it's a personal challenge. You may want to work for myself, you may want to work hard for a few years and then relax, or you may want to change the way the world works. Whichever applies to you, be bold.
When you act like an entrepreneur, by doing and saying things that move your idea forward, people will see you as an entrepreneur.
You're not born an entrepreneur, you become an entrepreneur.