Successful entrepreneurs seem so……… well, successful? When we look at how well they have done, we wonder why we haven’t yet discovered our ‘million dollar idea’ that will place us in their ranks. After all, who doesn’t want to be the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? We all want to succeed although our definition of success differs from person to person. So the question I want to ponder is, where is that magic pill that anyone can take and become successful? After all, most motivational articles, books and podcasts tell us that we ALL have the ability to succeed!

I must assume that most people, like me, go through ups and downs in business, and the resultant seasons of self-confidence and self-doubt. When everything is going well, our confidence is through the roof and we bask in the glory of success. However, when business is low, we begin to question everything.

Am I in the right business? Am I in the right market? Is my business model appropriate? Should I move to another city? Which culminates in… Oh dear, what’s wrong with me, why won’t my business succeed?

At this point, we remember the concepts in all the fabulous business and motivational books we have read. Page by page, section by section, we search for answers. Hoping that the magical solution to revitalise our business will miraculously jump out at us. But no! It doesn’t happen when we expect it to. Then, in time, the orders slowly start rolling in, and the good times are back again. Business is good. Then we wonder why we were so stressed in the first place!

Life is full of ups and downs and similarly business also has ups and downs. There is no magic pill that can keep your business on a consistent high or constantly drum up new clients and new markets. The magic pill lies in the simple concept of planning. A boring, mundane, uninteresting word, PLAN.

Plan for the lean times, plan during the good times, plan when you feel like it, plan when you don’t feel like it. In business we start off with the business plan, strategic plan, financial plan and we sometimes draft a scenario plan. There are short term plans and long term plans. Whatever plan you draft for your business, make sure it’s practical and usable. Planning should prepare you for the unexpected.

  1. If your business is seasonal, make a plan for how you will keep your staff busy during the quiet season;
  2. Put money aside for the times when your income is low or non-existent;
  3. Clear old stock, have clearance sales on things that are not selling;
  4. Use the quiet time to read, study and expand your knowledge;
  5. Build new networks and establish new contacts when you are not too busy;

You can’t operate at 100 km per hour all day, every day. It is important to pause, regroup, revitalise yourself and replenish your energy. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, and some days, you must run slower than others and preserve your strength.

In conclusion, there is no magic success pill. Success is not accidental or instant. The magic is in planning, consistency and going the distance, even when it seems hard!