The Small Business Success Cycle

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Perhaps the best thing a small-business owner can accomplish for themselves is to quickly set themselves up for success. One way to do this is to create a positive, repeatable cycle of success that allows you to reach new heights while also allowing you to reap the benefits.

When you create a cycle of success, there are a few things you should keep in mind. It should keep you focused on both the actions and the end results. Another is that it should allow for creativity while still holding you accountable. It must be a repeatable sequence that allows for you to change your direction and continue to achieve new levels of success over time.

The small-business owners that I help, here are six steps I teach to create a successful cycle for repeatable, positive results.


What do you want

Most business owners know what they “don’t” want: They don’t want to fail, they don’t want annoying customers, they don’t want employees who are unproductive. However, this won’t help you achieve your most important goals. Be clear about your goals and create a vision of your desired end results. Revenue? How much? $100,000? $1 million? What about your workforce/employees. Do you want 5? 25? 1200? How many? The easier it is to implement the rest of your cycle, the more detailed and precise you can be about the end results.

It is easier to track, measure, and achieve a goal if it is tied to a number. Here are some areas you could set clear and specific goals: (Remember to be as detailed as possible! )

  • Revenue generation

  • Employee engagement

  • Expanding your workforce

  • Building clientele

  • Expanding your online presence

  • Efficiency of sales funnel

  • Quality of customer service

  • New product creation

Related: 5 Secrets to Success in Business

2. A plan

Knowing what you want is important as it gives direction. But, setting a goal is only half the battle. You must know the “how.” To achieve your goal, you need to know the “how”. What’s your plan? Is it a daily, weekly, and monthly plan? Take a look at your industry and business. What are the most smartest actions you should be taking? What actions can be taken to get closer to your goals?

Here are some action items to get your creative juices going:

  • Time-blocking your calendar

  • Scheduling and meeting with each team member

  • Picking up the phone and calling 100 past clients

  • Sending out 500 personalized emails

  • Sending out 100 personalized letters or cards

  • Attending every chamber of commerce event for one year

  • Remember: By failing to plan, you’re planning to fail.

3. Help

with a teacher

This is the biggest gap business owners have. The main reason they don’t have help is because they are afraid to ask for it. It is always better to “do it yourself” in our society. Like Frank Sinatra’s old song, “I Did it My Way!” It seems as though asking for help reduces the impact of the results somehow. But fear and ego are telling you lies. It’s a lie. Don’t believe it!

Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Muhammed Ali — they all had coaches, and they were all world champions. Every true champion has a coach. If you don’t have one, enjoy the struggle.

But, if you want to get a coach, where do you look? Who is a good coach? How can I ask someone to coach me? Great questions. These are great questions.

  • A business owner in your industry more successful than you

  • A business owner in a different industry who is more successful than you

  • An experienced business coach

  • Accountant or attorney (can help coach in their areas of expertise)

  • Look in the Chamber of Commerce, B&I groups, etc.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur Should Have a Business Coach

4. Take consistent action

This step is usually not so difficult. Small business owners are often doers and can get things done. The difference here is that now you’ll know exactly what you’ll be doing each day, because you created a plan of action in step 2. You’ll just look at the action steps each day and then do them.

But here’s where the problem lies: You must continue to do these actions for a long time. Doing something once or twice is not enough to produce sustainable results, at least not when you’re looking for a high level of success in the world of business. You can think of the boxers I mentioned. None of them became champions overnight. They had to train for years and endured tough fights, but they kept fighting to achieve success. This is what you should do as a business owner.

Keep in mind: Consistency is the key to success at this stage. While anyone can take action, not all business owners can be consistent over the long-term.

  • Take action

  • Take action every day

  • Take action every day for a long period of time

  • Take more action

  • Get to the point where not taking actions feels weird

5. Check your progress

Though it sounds simple, many business owners refuse to see the results they receive. It’s usually because they know the results won’t be good. It doesn’t matter what, however. It doesn’t matter what your business status is. Even if you don’t like the results, knowing this will allow you to better manage your plan. It’s not a big deal for any business to make a course correction every now and again. Actually, it’s expected in today’s ever-changing environment if you want to stay ahead of your competition.

Now, take a look at your results and start asking questions. Asking questions similar to the ones listed below will help you discover that the answers (or new goals) will come quicker and easier the more you do this step.

Here’s a list of questions you should ask when reviewing:

  • Where are you now and where do you want to be?

  • How far off are you from where you want to be?

  • What can be done to decrease the gap?

  • What extra staffing do you need?

  • What extra funding do you need?

  • Who can help with this?

  • What new products or services need to be created?

  • What new advertising and/or marketing need to be done?

Related: The Best Way to Track Your Company’s Performance

6. Renew your goals

Don’t think this is an easy step. You must be as thorough as you were in the first step to ensure your business continues to climb the ladder to success. Clear. Be concise. Be concise.

This step is crucial to make this cycle of success work. It helps you not to dwell on past achievements. Too many small business owners will achieve some success, then take a break for a year or so. This is not a good thing.

So, be serious about the fifth step, review your progress, because if you do that right, then you’ll find your new goals.

These are some suggestions to make it easy and even more fun:

  • Make the goal exciting.

  • Make the goal motivating.

  • Make the goal meaningful.

  • Make the goal impactful on a personal level.

  • Make the goal challenging.

  • Make the goal force you out of your comfort zone.

  • Make the goal attached to a number for better tracking.

  • Give the goal a deadline.

Pro Tip: A cycle is just that, something that continues to cycle over and over again. It is not intended to be a one-time event, but a part of a business-lifestyle. Be clear about your goals, be clear about the steps to take, and be selective about who you hire to help you. Be as assertive as you can when it comes to taking actions and getting the results that you want.

Oh, and one more thing: Have some fun.

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