Creating a Business that’s Worthy of a Black Belt

by Colette Connolly, Connolly Communications

A couple of months ago, my 11-year-old son received his junior black belt. It was a grueling test, to be sure, a three-hour examination of his physical skills in mixed martial arts, together with his knowledge of a subject he’s been studying since he was 4.

And while there are no words to describe how I felt when he passed the test, it was the joy of knowing that he had put 100 percent effort into the endeavor and that he could finally say, “I did it!” that really made me proud.

While there’s no final exam, per se, for the entrepreneur, there are surely tests and challenges along the way. We may not be consciously aware of it, but it’s safe to say that our customers and prospective clients are judging us on our performance, and there’s a good chance it can affect the way we currently do business and our ability to get future work.

There’s also no doubt that the seeds for a strong business are planted right from the moment an entrepreneur enthusiastically embraces his or her business idea. The notion of expecting and receiving success is a widely held belief in self help and philosophy circles, but that doesn’t mean the philosophy can’t work in the business world either.

Just as my son set goals for himself as he moved from one belt to another, entrepreneurs can do the same by writing down their goals, setting deadlines and also making note of what could possibly stand in the way of succeeding. Setting financial targets is also an excellent idea. Aim high. If you don’t, you are left to settle for just about any job that comes your way.

Knowing your ideal client will also help you achieve a “black belt-worthy” business. Just as the black belt instinctively knows the next move his or her opponent will make, so too will the entrepreneur who studies his or her ideal client base, knowing what current and prospective customers will need and why they need it.

Even if you’ve been in business for years or you’re just starting out, remember the advice of Jim Bouchard, author of the book, Think Like a Black Belt: take control of your life, develop your full talents and abilities, and stop waiting for someone to give you success. Instead, create your own.

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