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5 Essential Elements You Need to be a Complete Success in Business

I am sure you know someone who chases the latest shiny flavour of the month tactic and fails every time. I’m also sure you know some people who work really hard toward their goals, but never seem to get anywhere.

Today I want to help you avoid these problems so you can grow the business you really want.

It starts with getting off the “Tactic Treadmill”, but goes much deeper than that …

The Tactic Treadmill

People follow the buzz in forums and social media and believe they have found a shortcut that is going to make them instant bajillionares. This time.

The problem is the only outcome is to become jaded and have a little less money in the bank.

This “I just need the right tactic” thinking is something I call “Silver Bullet Poisoning” and the symptoms of frustration, the end goal being further from sight, and never sticking to one path might well be familiar to you.

But it doesn’t matter how much you warn people away from chasing tactics, from get-rich-quick schemes, and from following the herd, it is still the most alluring and addictive part of trying to become a successful entrepreneur, and of course at some point tactics are necessary.

So if tactics are necessary, we know there is as much rubbish as good discussed in forums, and we can see where the wrong path could take us, what is the correct approach?

I learned the hard way that there is much more that you need to put in place than loopholes, short cuts and spiffy new tactics if you want to make progress in your business.

What Goes Wrong and How to Avoid it

I first saw these patterns in myself, and then when coaching programmers, and more recently have helped dozens of people when coaching people in online marketing. I see it in my friends in the business, and in friends in other businesses.

  • People go into business because they have a tradable skill but end up in so much demand that they practically (or actually) burn out. Rather than work to a scalable strategy they push that skill to the limit and sell every hour they have available, to the point where they are selling hours they never should be selling. Their health and family life suffer, but their business on the face of it looks successful. Until an injury or breakdown occurs. (A clear case of careful what you wish for). They wanted to get away from their horrible boss but end up being much harder to work for than any boss could ever be.
  • A money-first mindset can be motivating for people who are competitive and want a “high score”, but it is ultimately unsatisfying for you and your customers as you might skip or overlook details and offer poor customer service in your drive for the next sale. Also, each score has to be higher than the last, otherwise you might feel defeated. It takes some introspection to realise these things are not always zero sum,someone else doesn’t have to lose for you to win. Those “hunter” instincts can be utilised in a healthy and productive way, thankfully.
  • Addiction to starting projects can be a symptom of the “ooh shiny”. It gets your engines running and there is a thrill and excitement of planning and scheming. It could be the creative impulse or it could be the need to be open to every opportunity and possibility. We need to remember though we see success not in starting but following through. There are necessary details and effort before you see rewards. You might end up with many started projects but few completed ones if you are not careful. Also remember, you need to take care of your business, which means managing in accordance with your strategy and goals. If your market is aviation should you really be talking about that exciting dog grooming project?

There are more, obviously, and thankfully you can avoid these symptoms by doing things right and in the correct order …

What You Need to be a Complete Success in Business

  1. Mindset – Your psychology, your approach, the way you are best motivated, and your self-defeating thoughts all play into how much progress you will make, how easy it will come to you, and how happy you will be. If you get this right then things go much, much more smoothly and you have more fun. When things are wrong and left unchecked you get into real problems. Many of my coaching clients come to me without realising a lot of what is holding them back is self-inflicted. While I am not a therapist, and don’t want to be, this is the first thing we have to put back on course. The good news is though it doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. Ask yourself honestly what holds you back and how you have been successful in the past. Can you detect patterns? What is your true motivation?
  2. Goals – Once you have some mindset work done and you have a handle on your motivation and fears, then you can start setting goals. Here we have avoided a common roadblock I see all the time in my Authority Blogger course and coaching folks – people set their goals first without understanding how they operate and what they really want.  Once they realise their mindset and shift it into a better gear, they wonder why they had their original goals in the first place. Don’t set out to conquer Everest if that’s not what you really want. As I said to one of my new coaching members, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it! You don’t necessarily need to be super formal with your goals but you do need to know where you are heading and other specifics. While you can and should course-correct, you are going to waste a lot of time and energy if you have no direction, or worse, the wrong direction.
  3. Strategy – Once you know where you are headed, then you need to decide and apply strategy. People say they have a strategy all the time, but do they really? Can you honestly say you are implementing a strategy? How long would it take to explain it clearly? Is it based on your mindset and goals, or just what is considered the “done thing” in your niche?
  4. Environment – A common factor in success and failure is the wrong environment. The more optimised the environment the better chance your mindset is good, you stay on track to your goals, and your strategy can be implemented successfully. This is everything from your work environment, through to your work-life balance, and your place in your market ecosystem (which should be a conscious effort by the way). To give one example, are the people in your network lifting you up or pulling you down?
  5. Skills – Now some people might consider tactics the final piece of this puzzle, but when you really look at a whole bunch of people selecting and implementing tactics as I have, you realise that it is not enough to just pick the right tool, you also have to be able to use it. What is brain-numbingly easy for one will be super challenging for someone else. My friends tend to be practical Mr Fix It types and I always feel foolish around them as they quickly mend broken engines and build stuff. Obviously in those contexts I feel a little ashamed, but I have to remind myself there are things I can do in IT that they could not fathom, so it’s not they are better than me, just different. We know this is true, but still if there is a tactic that people are talking about we think we have to do it, regardless of if it fits our style, abilities, strategy or environment. Only at this point in the list can you compare tactics, and only then decide if you want to master it or outsource it to someone more able to get a good result. Tactics are not something you just plug in and watch succeed, choose wisely based on the other decisions, and back them up with learned and practiced skill not half-hearted efforts.

Does this seem like common sense? It might well be, but it is seldom common practice!

Ask yourself if you are really getting the results you wanted or expected. Do you think this is the result of tactical choices or could there be other issues lurking?

You don’t have to work with me or any other coach to make a start on this yourself. Just take an objective look at what you are doing and go back to the first point.

  • Do you feel a fraud that might be caught out at any moment?
  • Are you resisting selling for fear of putting people off?
  • Is there resistance or fear around money?
  • Have you been procrastinating?
  • .. and so on

Build on these answers and establish your true goals, the strategy that will most efficiently achieve them (while avoiding what you don’t want), the environment that suits those goals and that strategy, and the skills you need to implement, develop or acquire.

If you only focus on the tactics you might end up on a treadmill, working up a sweat but ultimately going nowhere!

Have you experienced any of this? What do you think? Please share in the comments …




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  1. Chris,

    Skills are so varied from person to person. I know what you mean about that awkward inner voice or feeling being around someone who’s highly-skilled. But you do the right thing and turn the table acknowledging your own hard-earned skills (and talent).

    If I’m being honest, I always had an addiction to starting new things. Most of the time I followed through until I overwhelmed myself with too many projects. Then I’d wind up dropping the ball. Or all the balls.

    Nowadays it’s different. Goals, planning, strategy – your shared wisdom is golden. These are all things we have to keep at front of mind. Sustainable and successful businesses don’t just happen nor are they a result of using (or buying) the latest shiny tool.

    Let’s roll up our sleeves and keep hustling; fueled by our true motivations!

  2. Thanks for this – it is one of those ‘bookmark and refer back to regularly’ ones that I know I’ll be re-reading.

    Having found myself in a new country / market place, what was most difficult was that doing business is different here. You need introductions in New Zealand in a way you don’t in US/UK.
    I was worried about it until today when suddenly 2 projects look like coming in and another new prospect referred us to someone even before he’d worked with us.
    So obviously grateful – but I haven’t cracked it yet!
    thanks Chris

  3. hi chris,

    so true what you say. there is no short-cut and get rich quick. there is not even a make 200$ a day with zero work and a set up of 1 hour scheme – although we want it. in the end, talking of forums, people buy this reports (me including). and then we end up saying: yeah this could work – but never do it 😉 – so others are waiting for the success reports very long and actually there won´t be any. so in the end we are where we started but more frustrated.
    thanks for your open words. there is no short-cut, there is no hype – there is just like in any other business – a lot of hard work involved 😀

  4. This post resonated strongly with me, and through experience I am already vary wary of the pitfalls that were pointed out.

    Possibly the key point for many people out there is, “We need to remember though we see success not in starting but following through.” There is a distinct lack of patience in online marketing, generally due to the fact that there is little at stake.

    If you start a bricks and mortar business, there is usually a great deal of money at stake, so you have a strong compulsion to make it work, even if it seems hopeless. The internet, on the other hand, is a breeding ground for half-hearted entrepreneurs.

  5. Hi Chris,

    amazing article. I see myself in some of the attitudes you explain. I’m getting to control some of them, but others… it’s difficult.



  6. Timeless article Chris – thanks.

    It’s so easy to put the cart before the horse – tactics before understanding. That’s because taking up yet another tactic makes me feel like I’m doing something… anything… just do something.

    On the other hand, sitting down and trying to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing requires me to dance around the borders of my comfort zone…

  7. Tactics can be packaged up and sold as “magic bullets.” What really counts can’t be bottled and sold. That’s the disconnect.

    Your “what goes wrong” part here is spot-on.

  8. You know that you’re suffering from Silver Bullet Syndrome (SBS) when you have a bunch of domain names without any websites on them.

    With me the initial glitter and excitement about an idea or project wears off when my mindset changes and reality sets in. I realize that some hard work and persistent effort is required before the website reaches critical mass.

    Reality isn’t as good as the dream. Thanks Doctor Chris, be sure to send me your bill 🙂

  9. This comes to me at a perfect time. We’re reviewing our business as we move towards the next stage of development beyond start-up and consider how to expand and grow strategically. We’re reviewing and setting goals and, of course, doing the inevitable SWOT analysis as we try to set the course of our business for the next several years.

    You blog post reinforces that some of what we are doing is on target and offers food for thought as to how to assess the state of our business and our mindset within it. Very helpful, thanks.

  10. Chris, This post was very personal to me.

    In 2009 I built up my blog to hundreds of daily visitors and then it derailed when I got caught up in the unrealistic, crazy world of IM dreams. Once the crafty sales hooked me in, I spent lots of 2010 chasing silver bullets and tabled my original blog.

    I learned (the hard way) that the principles of business never change.

    If you would like to use my full story as a case study to accent some of your points in this post (perhaps in a future post), please contact me and I’ll be happy to provide it to you:) Perhaps with some additional lessons sprinkled throughout the story.

  11. Really good article, agreed with goal setting blindly being a common problem. Its fascinating how someone can read common sense and not know it applies to them (self included).
    Great stuff.

  12. This is a great article for an internet entrepreneur to begin with. There are a lot of things to do today, and we have to start with baby steps so small that they are so easy to take.

  13. I so totally agree that mindset comes first, your mindset controls how successful or not you will be, I would like to share a recent tip from a book I am reading on the subject of mindset, to see if you have control over your mind, it only takes 15 seconds.

    Think of a very happy moment,one that makes you smile and see if you can hold on to it for 15 seconds, if you can you have some control over your mind, if you found it hard then you need to practice until it comes easily!

  14. This post prompted me to write down what my main goal is for the next couple months and my main focuses to attain those goals. When I’m unfocused I tend to get the Shiny Object Syndrome. This way I have a quick reference to realize what actions are helpful and which ones are just Shiny Objects.

  15. I am definitely a victim of “new shiny.” I started using Twitter to build my audience became to aggressive in my follow strategy by using some third party clients. Needless to say I received the Twitter smackdown and my account was suspended.

    I’m a little wiser this time around. Trying to build a business around content is smart but it doesn’t happen over night. Now, I’m focused on writing killer content and using my network of blogger friends help me (and vice versa).

  16. Hi Chris,

    I liked what you said about ‘Mindset’. It is always a struggle at the start of any business, so having the right mindset is very important.