One of the most important things to realize, when you start your own business, is that you are 100% responsible for your success or failure.
Now, I'm not saying that you need to blame yourself if things go wrong, but there's a variety of reasons why businesses don't succeed, and many of them are down to lack of knowledge. And that's, to some extent, nobody's fault initially. But, that doesn't mean you have to stay that way.
The point I'm trying to make here is that, when you start your own business, you always have good intentions. We all do. But, those good intentions are often dented when things don't go the way we would like them to. And many people start their businesses from a position of lack of knowledge or ignorance, or even worse, naivety in just thinking that putting out a handful of emails is going to instantly bring a rush of customers to your door. Or that building a website and putting out some social media means that you can get thousands of followers and the phone's going to start ringing. It doesn't work that way.
So, the key with taking personal responsibility is to realize that, if there's something that isn't going well in your business, you have the opportunity to examine, improve, and revive whatever it is that's not going well.
And the thing is, it's a case of constantly learning.
Nobody starts out as, and nobody is born as, an expert in business. Nobody who starts a business for the first time is instantly a successful businessman. We all have a learning curve.
One of the biggest travesties I see in businesses is people who start their own business, but just refuse to learn. They've learned a particular technique (often in a former job) or they've been sold a particular methodology of doing things, and when they try it, and they try it again and again and again and then it simply doesn't work.
So, my point in this piece is just simply to say, "You need to take responsibility."
If something isn't working, you need to take responsibility, make the right decisions, and get some learning.
If you don't know enough about marketing, there's plenty of marketing help out there in the world. If you don't know enough about selling skills, there's plenty of opportunity to go and learn more selling skills. There's thousands of videos on YouTube, thousands of articles you can download that will help you improve your marketing and sales skills.
If you don't know anything about finance, you don't know anything about managing the money, again, there's no excuse for not knowing how to do this stuff. You are responsible. The tax man isn't going to be sympathetic if you owe a load of tax and you simply say, "I didn't understand how bookkeeping works." You have to take responsibility.
If your marketing isn't working, improve it. Learn the skills. Take some courses. Buy some help. Buy some coaching. Improve it. If there are people in your business who aren't working particularly well and you don't know what to do about that, get help.
The point I'm trying to make here is that you have to take ultimate responsibility for your success and failure.
You can't blame the economy because the economy keeps ticking over. It does change regularly but it never goes away.
You can't blame negative people around you because you don't have to hang around with negative people.
You can't blame your background. There are countless stories of people who came from a really poor background and ended up being very successful.
Lack of education is not even an excuse any more. There's so much knowledge available to you on the internet for free, there's no reason why you should fail for lack of knowledge.
It could be lack of confidence. Again, there's lots of stuff you can do to improve your confidence, but you need to take responsibility.
Ultimately, when you get the hang of taking responsibility and realizing that “you are it” in your business, then things will start to change. What will tend to happen is that you will look for solutions to problems. If things aren't going well, you will find a way of improving and changing the situation.
The one thing I would urge you to do, don't ever think that just because things aren't going well now that they have to stay that way and it's somebody else's fault. Whatever happens, good, bad, or indifferent, you are responsible. If it's not going well, you are responsible. Now, I'm not saying you should blame yourself for it going wrong. Just look at yourself and think what can we do to make things better? What can we do to improve on what we're doing? It isn't working, so what can we do to make it work?
However, if it is going well then make sure you take responsibility for that too. Give yourself some credit and make sure you celebrate.
Now, there's one other thing that I do need to say: You might have heard the phrase, "Winners never quit and quitters never win." Now, I want to turn that slightly on its head because, if you're working a plan which is just never going to work in the marketplace because you're trying to sell the wrong product to the wrong people in the wrong way, no matter how persistent you are, you're never going to get great success.
It's a bit like selling VHS videotapes now. You could be the most passionate person about VHS. You could have the best stock of VHS videos. You could have the best VHS marketing. You could be the world's VHS expert. You could be determined. But, you're selling the wrong product at the wrong time to the wrong market. I hate to say it. You're NEVER going to sell many VHS videos and you're certainly never going to become particularly successful doing it. Things have moved on.
Now I know that this article will not sit comfortably with some people but ultimately there's no excuse for staying where you are in your life and business.
So, like I said, look at what you're doing. Always be looking for ways to improve. But, remember, the buck stops with you in your business and in your life. You Are 100% responsible For Your Success or Failure.