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Pull Your Head Out of Your A**: 3 Steps for a Successful Business

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One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is: “Pull your head out of your a**!” Of course that’s never what anyone WANTS to hear, but if you’re able to step back and actually heed that advice, it’s usually the perfect remedy for any dilemma.

It’s easy to get swept up in our own “great idea,” but tunnel vision is a sure sign of failure. So, how do you maintain unfaltering confidence in your business plan while simultaneously acknowledging that you’re going to fail (at some point, in some way, to some extent)? No business model is perfect so you must mange your business expectations accordingly.

Create Balance in Your Business with these 3 Easy Steps

1. Remove Head from Bum and Open Your Eyes

Once you’re able to see clearly and objectively, you’ll realize that Confirmation Bias is a pesky little weasel. It’s that thing enabling you to believe your idea is the most innovative, your solution is the best, and your way is the right way. Even if all of these things are true, your way is never going to be the only way. It’s foolish to think no one else is providing a product or service similar to yours. Be confident, but not egotistical. There’s a fine line and, if you cross it, you’re headed for trouble.

You will always have competition and, no matter how much better you think your business solution is, the responsibility of convincing consumers to pick you over them rests on you. In order to beat your competitors, you must understand the strengths and weaknesses of their business models while also acknowledging the strengths (and, yes, weaknesses) of your own. You’re not perfect. So, what can you learn from them?

2. Prepare to Adapt

Think of a time you prepared something important you wanted to tell someone—a significant other, a boss, or a friend. Now imagine how that conversation actually played out compared to how you had anticipated it going. No matter how much time you spend preparing, nothing will ever go exactly how you plan. Why? Because there will always be variables that you can’t control—whether it’s the stock market, a delay in production, or your crush’s hypnotizing eyes. So, while your business model may seem foolproof on paper, you better have some backup strategies.

Related: Risk and Failure Can Be Keys to Success

Related: Do What You Do So Well, They Will Want to See It Again and Again

Do your research and study alternate solutions so that you’re ready for setbacks and are able to adjust when things don’t go according to plan. Additionally, make sure to use an integrated approach (i.e. all branding, pricing, operations, and marketing activities should work together rather than be dealt with as isolated instances). Think of it like a cooking recipe: If one ingredient has gone bad, it’s going to affect the entire dish. All parts must work together to achieve the desired result.

3. Set Clear Goals

This means first assessing personal resources and risks and comparing them to your market analysis and competition. Once you have a clear understanding of what you’re capable of as well as the obstacles you face, you can set clear, achievable goals.

It’s important to decide what your short and long-term visions are so you can implement strategies that will get you from A to B effectively while simultaneously setting you up for sustainable success.

So, when does the work payoff?

Less than 10 percent of startups and small business make it into their fifth year. The ones that did succeed all had flexible strategies and were able to adapt their business model as needed. They saw beyond their own vision. There is risk of loss in every decision, but there is also no reward without risk.

If you’re feeling stuck, I suggest stepping back and looking at the bigger picture. What’s not working? Evaluate, reassess, and adjust. And if you’re having trouble identifying the problem, maybe you need to look at things from a new perspective… It might be time to pull your head out of your a** and make a change.

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