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I have. A lot. So I've been spending a lot of time studying successful businesses and learning how they got there. I've learned a few simple things that have given me the confidence to take my own business to the next level.
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1. Everyone started small. I found that the businesses I most admired were rooted in the hard work of one or two people. Some had savings to help them, but many got an idea and began with no source of funds. They came up with creative ways to handle challenges, didn't give up and put in the hours.
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2. All had a business plan. I found this fascinating, since many new business owners I've spoken to lately haven't bothered with writing a plan. Having a plan helps you map out the route you want your business to take. Without a map, you can get lost really quickly. The plan maps out your goals for the business, helps you outline the structure to meet those goals and brings order to a lot of data.
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3. Each business had a strong vision. They didn't all necessarily know how to execute it, but they knew they loved antiques and wanted to establish a certain level of business. Having this kind of passion is a cornerstone in every successful company.
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4. All the businesses took longer to be successful than they anticipated. Most thought it would be profitable in 6 months. Most learned that it takes at least a year and often two before a profit can be realized. During that time they were learning, making mistakes, making improvements and learning how to handle crises. Great use of that time of growth.
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I've been researching, studying, planning and writing out my business plan for months. I'm now taking the leap! I'm opening a premium auction house in my California Sierra foothills area.
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Am I waking up in a cold sweat at night dreaming of an auction house filled with 3 customers (all of them my children)? Yep. Am I determined to not let that little kernel of fear blossom into a paralyzing terror? Yep. I can do this. After learning about all these other successful businesses began, I realized I don't need to master it all the first go around. I can learn.
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Whether you want to reach thousands of customers via an expanded website, open a brick & mortar vintage bookshop or reach more customers abroad, using the time and tried methods used by successful businesses is always a wise idea. Follow your dreams and see where they lead you!