Stuart Crawford (Calgary, Alberta)
Are you excited about what the future has in store for us? Or are you one of those types that chose to run and hide when the hiccups occur? There is a tremendous amount f change occurring in today’s flat, global economy. Where does the average IT professional turn who wants to flourish in business today? What can we do to take our businesses to the next level when the market is a little foggy? Is there a magic pill that will make it all come together?
There is no magic pill, there is no secret sauce, there is no magic wand to wave that will provide you with a successful business, especially in this time of economic uncertainty, high energy costs, declining sales and reduced profits. It is enough to make your head spin.
IT Professionals need to the following nine simple and effective principles that will assist in you surviving through economic downturns in the market or even when the future is bright and the economy is firing on all cylinders.
Passion – You must love what you do, this is a must! You must love it so much that during these uncertain economic times, tough job markets or whatever road blocks are put up to slow you down, that you survive and are not beaten up. You have to love what you do so much that you would want to do it for free. The question I always ask other IT professionals is this: Do you love what you do? If the answer is yes, perfect, if the answer is no then I recommend that they go pursue what they love. Passion is a must to be successful.
Hard work – When you have fire burning in your belly, hard work isn’t really hard work; however to the outside observer looking in they might say “You work way too hard”. When you have the combination of passion and hard work, time just seems to fly by, your revenues increase, you have happy clients and you are on the road to success and nothing will get in your way of your achieving your goals. Having the ability to work hard when you need to will allow you to take the time to play as well. This is the secret ingredient to achieving work/life balance.
What are you good at? – Pick what you are good at and do that. Many entrepreneurs try to do too much, they spread themselves to thin and become good at nothing. Have you heard the old saying “Jack of all trades, master at nothing”? Mastery in your chosen trade is a necessity to becoming a success story and not a statistic in failed businesses. When you achieve mastery in your trade, you work harder and your passion level increases.
Focus – You must have laser sharp focus, when you are focused on your end goal or what you want to achieve you are well down the road to success. Focus allows all the other components mentioned so far to work together. Many people wonder around in today’s small business world with a head full of distractions, never accomplishing anything. Successful people know what they want, they focus on it, and they work hard to achieve the results in their plan.
Self Confidence – You must be confident in what you do. It is impossible for you to know it all. You need to have enough confidence to tackle any task that comes your way. I have seen many great IT professionals limit themselves because they lack the self confidence to push themselves into unchartered waters and have the ability to come out the other end in one piece.
Focus on Value – You have to provide value to your clients, if you don’t someone else will. Successful IT professionals wake up in the morning and approach the day with the mindset of serving the community, serving their clients, serving their colleagues and so on. When you provide value you are guaranteed to be successful in the small business IT marketplace.
Engage Right Brain Thinking – Don’t get me wrong, we must have left brain technical thinkers in the IT community, however, if you are a solo entrepreneur or a small business consultant, you must invest in developing your right brain. Be creative, come up with ideas, network and build connections with others, solve challenges, and simply listen to others and understand what they are saying.
Persistence - Never give up, work through any challenge or issue, work through the difficult clients, when the future looks bleak don’t throw in the towel, work through it, you need to persist through your failures and persist to get better on your own success. Nothing in the world is perfect, the successful ones in business today understand this and are persistent in improving on what they have work on or what others have work on.
Continuous Learning – You have to be a continuous learner, and not always in your profession, learn something outside your industry, maybe it is a musical instrument or a course at your local college, and this will engage your right brain thinking. Also it is critical important to learn about items in your business focus as well. Read, watch documentaries, find a mentor, attend seminars and the list goes on. You must sharpen your own saw at all times and also invest time to help others with their learning needs as well.
We are in uncertain economic times, if you don’t believe me listen to local, regional, business or national news sometime this week. Don’t use this as an excuse not to go after your dreams and your passions. It is time to embrace the changes that are coming (economically and technically) and go after it. There is a tremendous amount of business out there, you just need to go out and get it. The majority of our peers will sit back and complain about something, don’t give into this sort of behavior, go after what is out there and win in 2008.
Stuart Crawford provides mentoring services to Microsoft Small Business Specialists across the world. Stuart engages with Microsoft Small Business partners to ensure that their business has the tools required to succeed in the marketplace. His third book on Goal Setting is now released at http://www.goalsettingforitprofessionals.com . Join his free monthly IT Professional conference calls at http://www.freeitmarketingseminar.com .