How Do You Define Business Success?

by Kim on January 21, 2010

Dictionary Defining Focus

As you are making your business plans, it is important to be able to gauge when you hit business success.

Is it when you make X amount of sales?

Is it when you make X amount of dollars a year?

Is it when you turn a profit?

Or is it something totally different – unrelated to money?

Every businessperson is going to have a different definition of success. Some of my clients were happy to have some extra spending cash come in each month while others wanted enough income to replace a full time job. Still others simply wanted a creative outlet where they could do what they loved and be paid for it.

So let’s help you figure out what business success means to you!

Define Your Values

First things first: what do you value in life? Knowing what is important to you is the first step toward narrowing down your personal definition of success.

People are motivated by all sorts of things. So what is it that gets you psyched up in the morning? Is it…

  • Freedom
  • Sense of Accomplishment
  • Creativity
  • Money
  • Deeper Meaning in Life?

If you have more than one answer, that’s okay. We rarely are defined by only one or two values. We are more complex than that.

And be honest here. If money is what drives you, don’t feel bad. Sure it would be nice if we were all Gandhi or Mother Teresa, but let’s get real! You have to put food on the table and might have kids to clothe. Whether we like it or not, money makes the world go round.

Prioritize Your Values

Now that you know what drives you, you need to put your values in order. This is all about getting to your core. Really give this some thought. The most effective people are those in harmony with their deepest values.

I can think of a perfect example of what happens when you are out of sync with your inner self. While I do mainly business coaching, I also have some clients who aren’t business owners but do want more fulfillment in their personal lives. Morgan was one of those clients.

Morgan came to me in a rut. She couldn’t quite put her finger on what was wrong, but she went through every day feeling out of sorts and on edge. As a 1st grade teacher, she adored her kids and enjoyed the company of her fellow teachers and principal. Morgan was single and loving her freedom. She had a core group of single girlfriends and was never lacking for a date on the weekend.

Despite everything she had going for her, Morgan was unhappy and out of balance. She thought maybe something was medically wrong or perhaps she was mildly depressed. However, visits to the doctor had turned up nothing, and that’s when Morgan came to me for help.

As we discussed her situation, I learned that Morgan had been doted on by her father who was also a school teacher. It was obvious that Morgan thought the world of him. He was also the one who first suggested that she may want to be a teacher.

Then, in high school, a favorite instructor told Morgan that she had real talent for teaching. So when she was confronted with the myriad of classes and programs available at college, Morgan decided to pursue teaching since those closest to her had suggested it.

And it was certainly true that Morgan had a talent for teaching. She was one of the most requested teachers in her school, and her principal gave her rave reviews. But when I asked Morgan what it was about her job that she loved, she had a hard time answering.

The fact was that Morgan hadn’t selected her job – it had been chosen for her by others. She had never gone through the process of determining what was most important to her and what brought her true happiness. That is why she felt off-kilter and unsatisfied. She wasn’t living her purpose.

So many people feel like they are going through the motions in life – they are in a daze without a solid compass to guide them. Instead of finding a vocation that fills their whole being with joy, they are settling for a second rate life…one in which they have picked a job based upon money or family expectations or negative thoughts that tell them it is unrealistic to expect “more.”

With Morgan, we spent many months assessing her hopes, wants and dreams. Eventually, she discovered that her true love is dance. After starting her teaching job, she had to give it up because homework and school functions got in the way. Now, Morgan is planning to open her own dance studio and has never felt more alive by the possibilities awaiting her.

That’s why it is so very important to prioritize your values. Are you really doing what inspires you or are you settling for something less than your true potential? To find business success, you must understand what motivates you. Take the first step today by finding and prioritizing your values.

Define Your Mission

Once you have defined and prioritized your values, create a business mission statement. For example, here’s the mission statement for Mindset Success Coaching:

Mindset Success Coaching is devoted to helping solo professionals and aspiring creative artists on their path of discovery and growth – personally and professionally. We strive to provide new and existing talent with the tools and resources needed to achieve success, starting from within. With a focus on self-mastery, Mindset Success Coaching takes a holistic approach to personal growth and freedom.

A good mission statement will integrate your core values into your business model. In my example above, my core values include helping others and a holistic approach to life. Yours might include economic stability for your family and artistic expression.

With well defined values and a mission statement to guide you, determining when and if your business is a success will fall into place in no time.

Image via chrisdlugosz on Flickr

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