Date: 7/26/2006

"If you could give one tip to someone about how to be successful in business--what would you tell them?"

I asked this question to a number of people. Some of their answers may give you ideas you never thought of; many of their answers you have probably heard already in which case it will be good review--we all overlook the obvious sometimes!  (By the way, some of these will be useful in other areas of life, too.)

In NLP this is called "modeling": studying how people achieve success in a certain area.  This little project is a simple type of modeling.  More thorough modeling projects would do a detailed study of behaviors, thought processes, beliefs, communication patterns, etc. Of course, you have to decide which of these ideas apply to you and your situation and which do not.

Do you have a favorite tip?! Please email it to me and I will post it here for the benefit of everyone.  (Your name will not be included unless you specifically ask me to include it.)

1) "Be organized.  If you are organized there is an 80% chance that you will be successful."  (R.B., Business Consultant, Jerusalem)

Comment: I asked R.B. for one tip on being organized and he suggested spending a few minutes at the beginning of the day--or at the end of the day--planning what to do for that day. 

2) "Broadcast intergrity.  It is important to be honest and that your name is equated with integrity." (R.S., Businessman, Chicago, USA)

Comment: Another business executive added that in addition to ethical reasons for being honest, there is a very practical reason to be honest.  People who are honest do not have to constantly think "what will I say if I am asked this and that".  Their minds are freer to think about business matters.

3) "Be active:  Advertise, send out letters, talk to prospective clients--you are the one who has to make things happen.  Go out and make it happen!" (N.G.,Real Estate Agent and Businessman, Jerusalem, Israel)

Comment: While this idea may seem pretty obvious, if you are not being told what to do by a boss or by whoever is hiring you,  you can easily fall prey to inertia ( ie not taking the initiative to take action).

4)"Give a little more and charge a little less." (L.K., Clothing Designer and Store Owner, New York, USA)

5) "Give excellent service.  Remember that your business's success depends on happy clients.  Appreciate your clients and be happy to go out of your way for them."  (E.Y., Barber, Jerusalem, Israel)

6) "Do 10% more than you have to." (S.F. Business Executive, New York, USA)

7) "Remember that it is all Hashgacha (=Divine Providence);  you can't push too much." (S.R., Businessman, Jerusalem, Israel.  Note: Two other people said similar advice.)

8) "No fear.  Fear is what stops a lot of people from being as successful as they could be.  Some people are afraid of failure and some are afraid of success.  Decide what you want and go for it with all your might." (J.S., Insurance Broker and Investment Advisor, Brooklyn, N.Y., USA)

Comment: I think that it is important to be somewhat cautious and to anticipate problems that might arise and plan how to solve them. J.S disagrees with me on this.  He says that most very successful people were  reckless.  My feeling is that while this may be true, each person has to carefully consider how he will react to the consequences of reckless behavior and decide how much risk he is willing to take.  There is no one formula that is appropriate for every person.  

9) "Don't get stale in your profession.  Find ways to stay fresh.  This is what the Talmud means in Brachot that says that there are 4 things that a person has to strengthen himself in--and one of these is Derech Eretz".  (M.W., Rosh Yeshiva, Jerusalem, Israel)

10) "Cheap, Fast, Good.  Pick any two of these that you want because you cannot have all three." (Contractor, Chicago, USA)

11) "The way you relate to your clients makes a tremendous difference. I create a  friendly, personal  relationship with them.  Looking at my advertisements people feel as if I am talking to them personally. People have told me many times that they are not currently planning to do any home renovations but if they ever decide to do them they will call me.  I feel that this has a lot to do with my style of advertising." (S.S., Owner home renovations company, Jerusalem, Israel)

(12) "You must believe that the product or service you are selling is worth the price you are charging.  Also, self-confidence is an essential trait to cultivate."   (M.F. Business Consultant, Jerusalem, Israel)

Comment: M.F. says that believing that your product or service is worth the price is good if the price is the market price.  Also, self-confidence must be preceded by knowledge of what you are doing.  Imagine flying in an airplane with a pilot who has a lot of self-confidence in his aviation abilities.  However, he has not yet learned how to properly land an aircraft....

(13) "Reliability.  Your business will do much much better if people can rely on you. In other words, they have specific expectations based on your past performance or your advertising and you consistently fulfill those expectations. Compare the following statistic:  75% of franchised businesses are still in business after 5 years in contrast to 20% of non-franchised businesses.  The reason is because the customer knows exactly what to expect from a franchise. " (Richard Bolstad and Margot Hamblett, NLP Trainers, in their book "Transforming NLP Training")

Comment: R.B. recommends you become "reliable" by creating checklists.  This way you won't overlook details  that could make a big difference to your clients.

(14) "Stay away from fights! My grandfather was the head of a large corporation In England and lived until the age of 93.  He went to work until the day before he passed away!  He told me that he never--not even once--went to court!  If he could not work out some kind of compromise he would pay the person the money in dispute and tell him that he never wants to do business with him again!" (S.B. Jerusalem, Israel)

Comment:   I don't know if everyone would agree that it is always the right thing to do to avoid going to court.   F.K., a lawyer from Los Angeles says that he usually advises his clients not to go to court.  It can be so long and drawn-out, so draining, that even if you do win, you have paid a heavy price.  And, of course, you may wind up losing the case.  Perhaps we can conclude that it is worthwhile thinking it through very thoroughly before getting involved in a legal battle.


 (15) " Whatever field you are in or planning to go into realize that in order to be successful you have to stand out above the others.  And in order to stand out you have to realize that there are always new and better ways of servicing your clients or improving your product.  Use your imagination and creativity and discover what these are." (B.H. Businessman, Jerusalem, Israel)

(16) "The big mistake that people, even billionaires, are guilty of is they make their fortune excelling at one business and then somebody comes along and tells them about another opportunity--one in which they have no experience-and they leap in.  Rather than acting on their long personal history of what makes sense in their area of expertise and making good decisions, they trust somebody else.  The problem is that when they do this, they have no basis on which to decide if something is the right choice or not.  They risk losing a lot of money."  (Richard Bandler, in "Get the Life You Want, page 194)

(17) "I am an entrepreneur.  I think that even if a person has a job, they should have some small business on the side...Make one little thing and start to sell it on the side, or one service--something you can grow into a business of your own--so you're not simply working by the hour.  Pretty soon, you can have other people working by the hour.  That's a good thing."  (Richard Bandler, in "Get the Life You Want" page 194)

18) "You must learn to handle financial pressure. The only way not to have financial pressure is not to have any finances.  There are many kinds of financial pressure and they've destroyed many people.  They can rob you of your sensitivity or rob you or your friends.  Now remember, I said they can, not that they will.  Handling financial pressure means knowing how to get and knowing how to give, knowing how to earn and knowing how to save." (Anthony Robbins in "Unlimited Power" Page 377)

19) Believe in yourself! Then you others will believe in you, too." (M.C., Businessman and NLP Trainer, London)