Walk into any bookstore in the country and you’ll find 8,742,126 books on the topic “key success factors“. John Maxwell has written over half of them.
And look, we get it.
There are a ton of people hungry for a slice of that big pie called success. And there’s plenty of information that can be very useful, but the truth is 90% of it is fluff.
If you’re not careful, you can waste your time and money on something you already know.
With that said, it’s time to tell you something you already know. Except maybe in a way you’ve never thought of before.
Key success factors can mean a lot of different things, but in this post we’re going to get down to the nitty-gritty, 100%, completely honest truth of what it really means to be successful.
First let’s define the word success.
The general concensus on success now-a-days means having lots of money, cars, and expensive clothes. But you can be successful and have none of that.
Success is the act of setting a goal and achieving it.
It can be easy or hard, it all depends on what you want to be successful at.
I mean, successfully opening a jar of mayonnaise isn’t quite the same as developing a multi-million dollar startup…I think.
And that’s really what it comes down to isn’t it?
We’re not talking about opening a jar of mayonnaise. We’re talking about starting a business that will replace your full time job, figuring out how to lead a team of employees, finding new and better ways to promote your brand so people know who you are, or just waking up in the morning with a goal in mind that people said was impossible, but somehow finding it within yourself to achieve it anyway.
So yeah…not a jar of mayonnaise.
The path to success can be hard. Really hard.
But we’ve got 5 key success factors that will help push you through it.
These factors are the only guide you really need to be successful. They are the foundation, everything else is just icing on the cake.
The Top 5 Key Success Factors to Always Remember
1. Your Vision
The first factor of success is probably the one thing that most people think they have, but they really don’t.
Your vision is what you’re working for. It’s literally the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing.
The vision you have for yourself in whatever goal you’re trying to achieve is indescribably important, and without it you’re almost guaranteed to fail.
For example when we started Suspendermen, we had a vision of a company that will lead young men to a higher level of success through the ideals of being a true gentleman.
We have the desire (or vision) to see our company featured in Forbes magazine with the tagline “A company that helps young men discover their inner gentleman.”
In 5 years we want to dominate the men’s lifestyle industry and help create successful entrepreneurs.
You have to see your end goal.
Write it down.
Look at it everyday and it’ll be what guides you through the hard times when you might want to quit.
It’s number two in this list of key success factors because without a plan you WILL fail.
Yes the famous cliche applies; “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”
Let’s say for the sake of this post you’re trying to start your own business. Planning and organization is 80% of the battle and execution is the other 20%.
Your battle plan can come in many forms but the most common is a business plan and marketing plan.
Your business plan contains the objective of the business (mission statement), you’re budget, a list of you’re assets and liabilities, future financial projections, a study of your competitors, etc.
And you’re marketing plan is even more comprehensive because it’s basically a plan of exactly how the business will make a profit.
There’s a lot that goes into a business and marketing plan, but without it you can get lost in the day to day tasks of trying to achieve your goal.
It’s easy to lose focus and put energy and money into the wrong part of your business.
A plan will keep you on track and help you invest your energy on what will give you a bigger return for your efforts. It’s a living document that can and will guide the growth of your business.
Here’s a free download for Business Plan Template (175 downloads)
Another aspect of planning is creating a list of daily tasks to complete that will further your objective.
For instance if you have a personal training business, one of the things you should do everyday is post to your social media accounts and interact with potential customers.
You should be providing encouragement to people who are trying to make better health choices.
That is a task that if done everyday will convert to paying clients.
Take time and develop your business and marketing plan.
Create a list of daily tasks to complete everyday that will further your success and 80% of the battle is already won.
Here’s the Business Plan Template (175 downloads) download again.
3. Will Power
Without a doubt this is my favorite on the list of key success factors.
The vision is the end goal, your plan is the map, but will power is the vehicle you’ll use to get through the potholes and obstacles that’ll be placed in front of you.
As such, it has to be a strong vehicle.
Your will power has to be unbreakable.
Let’s put it this way; if you’ve ever wondered why some people are more inclined to be great leaders, millionaire entrepreneurs, or just generally more successful than most, your answer is will power.
And yes, some of them were born with a silver spoon, or had an easy environment growing up and attentive parents, but you’ll find that most successful people had none of that.
Instead they had an unnerving amount of will power.
In order to be successful in whatever you want to do, you have to be willing to do whatever it takes.
If you look at that statement it can seem like a simple, understated fact. But there’s a lot that goes into it.
Doing whatever it takes means making sacrifices, making uncomfortable decisions that’ll scare the crap out of you.
It means taking the time to learn new skills, going home to work on your business after a 12 hour shift.
It means less money, less sleep, less time with friends.
And to top it off, there’s no guarantee that what your doing will work.
If you’re promoting your brand using social media, you may have to try different platforms and it could take months to see any results.
Are you willing to wait that long?
Can you deal with not making any real profit for the next 6 months to a year?
Then there are personal problems that will get in the way.
Your girlfriend or wife may not support you. Your friends may stop inviting you out because you’re always working.
You’ll get frustrated because it’ll seem like you’re not making progress or the progress is too slow.
Will you quit?
It pays to think about all the unforeseen problems you’ll be facing, because make no mistake, there will be problems.
You will struggle.
But what you have to remember is that the struggle is just part of the journey.
Take William Nobrega for instance.
He’s the CEO and founder of CQS International, an ecommerce insurance company that uses location based mobile technology to generate instant sales.
But before his ultimate success, William had another startup that he sank an immeasurable amount of time, money and energy into only for it to ultimately fail.
However, in early 2014 in a small room in Hong Kong, instead of wallowing in the misery of a set back, William had an idea for another startup.
And even though he was completely broke and had almost zero resources to work with, he wouldn’t let that stop him from finding a way to make his dream a reality.
Fast forward to March 6, 2015 and CQS International is now valued at over $170 million.
The point is to never give up, dig deep and even when it looks like you might fail, keep pushing forward.
“Never quit,” Nobrega said. “If you believe, and you really need to believe, then you would be willing to sacrifice everything to achieve the mission. If you are fortunate enough to serve with the right team, they will have the same mentality. You will run into obstacles all along the way, but how you deal with them and how you overcome them will determine your success. A team that’s cohesive will work miracles.” – See more at: Business News Daily
I know it’s pretty obvious why this is another one of our key success factors, but humor us anyway. Being consistent in anything will produce results. It’s not a matter of if, but when.
After all, the whole point of being successful is getting the results you want.
Consistency also gives you the ability to test what’s working and what’s not. It can give you information on where you should put more of your efforts. Not only that, but being consistent gives you the foundation to be truly great at something.
Doing the same “thing” over and over again for a long period of time gives you the experience to do that “thing” very well.
It’s why concert pianist play so beautifully, or why an artist can paint a picture that will bring tears to your eyes. It’s the reason writers can use words to bring entire worlds to life, or how a bodybuilder knows exactly what to do to sculpt his body.
It’s because they’ve been doing the same thing over and over for years.
And remember, that just because they’ve been doing the same thing, doesn’t mean they been doing it the same way.
Over the years they’ve learned how to perfect their craft by learning new and different ways to do it.
Success and consistency go hand in hand. It’s very difficult to have one without the other.
When you get up every morning at a set time and work on your business for a certain number of hours a day while making sure you hit every item on your agenda every single day, that’s a step towards consistency.
And it’s one of the best key success factors to master.
5. A Flexible Mind
Ok, let’s be honest for a minute.
What you’re doing might not work out. Does it mean you’re a quitter or that your dream will never become a reality?
It doesn’t have to.
There are thousands, if not millions of start ups that fail every year. It could be because the person who owns it didn’t research the market enough, or that they didn’t work hard enough to promote their brand.
Maybe they lost all of their starting capital on a bad idea and went bankrupt. Or maybe a family member died, or they got sick, or….
The point is that nothing in this world is guaranteed. As smart, organized and determined as you are, sometimes life gets in the way.
The question is how you’ll handle it, if and when that moment arrives.
Having the ability to change course and make the decision to try something new is not the same as quitting.
If your product doesn’t sell after putting countless hours of time and money into it, you should have the ability to make the adjustments that your audience is asking for.
Reset. Readjust. Ask yourself, “Is this the best way for me to achieve my goal? And if it’s not, then what is?”
I know that when we started talking about key success factors we were talking in terms of starting a new business or venture. But success is not just about business or money.
It’s not just about start ups and being an entrepreneur.
Success is simply the act of setting a goal and achieving it.
Losing weight, getting a better job, finding love, opening a jar of mayonnaise, starting a business…
These 5 key success factors will work in every facet of life. Learn them. Master them. Be successful.