“Business is supposed to be hard, because that is your competitive advantage,” explains author and Bizversity founder Dale Beaumont, who revealed that people who achieve their goals in business almost always share a few common traits.
According to Mr Beaumont, the very fact that business is challenging helps to keep an onslaught of competitors at bay.
“Most people won’t go on that journey that you’ve been on… Therein lies the gift of business and the reward,” he told My Business.
The author of the Secrets Exposed series, including his latest book Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs Exposed in which he profiles 15 thriving Australian entrepreneurs, has interviewed many business leaders and founders, and said that there are some common traits of those who achieve their goals in business, and also similarities with those who don’t.
“I tried to find people whose stories aren’t as well known to bring them to light,” the founder said.
Most common entrepreneurial trait of all
“I do think resilience is one of the biggest common trends in all of the stories that are featured in the book, and all of the people that I have interviewed,” Mr Beaumont explained.
“It’s just a necessity: you have to be resilient, because otherwise you won’t last. Business has a lot of highs, but also a lot of lows and a lot of challenges. And sometimes these challenges are things that you can never fully predict and imagine.”
Mr Beaumont confessed that when commencing his series of books a decade ago, he went in with the belief that successful people had somehow missed the “knocks and bumps” most people experience, and instead somehow got lucky.
“But what I found is the exact opposite to be true,” he said.
“The people that were the most successful are basically the people that had to deal with and overcome the most amount of stuff. It’s almost like the more you overcome, the more success you have.
“It’s like the saying ‘a kite rises in a strong wind’.”
Ability to adapt
Another core trait Mr Beaumont singles out is adaptability and the ability to think creatively in order to solve a problem.
He refers to one entrepreneur featured in the book who had a wholesale business selling make-up, and faced a situation where she had massively over-purchased stock which threatened major cash flow issues.
Her approach was to lease a vacant store at a shopping centre to set up a pop-up store to clear the surplus stock and raise the required capital. It proved such a success, she went on to establish a new business purely selling cosmetics through pop-up stores nationally.
“That was a really great story, and she’s now doing really well and looking to franchise her pop-up cosmetics company, and it was all born out of a cash flow crisis.”
What does success really mean?
“One of the challenges out there is what other people determine to be a successful business is very personal.
“It does come down to defining: what does success look like to you and what do you want your business to do for you?”
Mr Beaumont said that some people are happy to earn $10,000 without being a slave to the nine-to-five machine; for others, it may be a goal to earn $1 million. But for others it is not financial — it may be building a team around them to carry on an activity they love doing, or to make a contribution to improving society in some way.
But those most likely to achieve their idea of success have goals that blend multiple such components.
“I think if you are going into a business just purely for money reasons, then you’ll certainly struggle and find yourself chopping and changing,” he said.
“People don’t necessarily buy what you do; they buy your intent and why you do it. And if you’re purely motivated by money, it’s pretty hard to get people to buy into that — whether it be customers or potential staff or other people that are going to support you on your business journey.”
He added, however, that money can’t be ignored either. A business relies on revenue to survive, or as Mr Beaumont calls it, “the fuel to run your engine”.
Sustainable goal setting for a sustainable business
Goals are often thought of as a checklist — hit a mark and then tick it off. But this creates several problems.
First of all, short-term goals rarely lead to the creation of a sustainable business model.
Many companies appear outwardly to be very successful: they achieve fast growth, generate huge amounts of publicity, have investors throwing money at them and so on.
But this can simply be a mixture of spin and right place, right time, which alone is not enough to sustain a business longer term.
Mr Beaumont said that for this reason, getting caught up in “looking successful rather than being successful” is a definite trap that should be avoided, and that outward exposure should really only be chased once the fundamentals of the business — solid revenues, a good team, strong customer base and so on — have been bedded down.
He said that the other common trap is to get stuck on the treadmill of goals which creates a “feeling of emptiness” — a common issue with successful sportspeople.
“It can be very empty if you’re constantly chasing the next goal and the next goal and the next goal, because it feels like you’ve never achieved anything: there’s always shit going wrong in your business, there’s always problems to solve, and sometimes we just achieve this goal and move on to the next one,” the author said.
“I do think it’s important for people to actually celebrate their successes.
“Have a goal and reward yourself, and be proud of the fact that you’ve achieved it… and then reset those goals.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.