Everyone wants to know the handful of things they need to do in order to be financially free. We all want the keys to success.
Unfortunately, there are not just a few keys to success. There are dozens.
But in the interest of keeping my readers happy, I have distilled success down to five things (if for no other reason than to have a good title to an article).
So here they are. The five keys to business success:
Focus on Growth
It’s convenient to believe that simply hanging your shingle will result in people flocking to your office doorstep in droves.
It’s easy to rationalize that all those years you spent in school entitle you to the lifestyle you “earned” by studying and practicing in the comfort of an academic environment.
You trick yourself into believing that being a great practitioner will be enough to attract people to you.
Stop fooling yourself.
If you don’t spend AT LEAST as much time promoting your practice as you do practicing your craft you will never be financially independent.
Lawyers rely on reputation and referrals from past clients and other lawyers.
Doctors rely on insurance companies.
Business leaders rely on the wonderful products or services they possess.
Nobody’s thinking about growth and yet we are shocked when people do not engage us.
If you want to make a great living and live a great life® you must spend at least as much time on business development as you do practicing your craft.
Possess a Dedication to Continuous Improvement
Humans either continue to evolve or we die. You got opposable thumbs. Congratulations. Now get off your iPhone and figure out what you can do to help your client improve the quality of his life.
Before you can help the next patient that walks into your office or provide guidance to the next client that sits in the chair opposite your desk, you must understand the world they live in. You must understand how it is changing. You must understand how they think. What they believe and how they make decisions.
These are moving targets.
If you want to hit them you need to grow and evolve faster than the people with whom you work.
Keep your education up to date – but not just in your vocational field – also as it relates to business development and practice management.
Adopt an Action Orientation
Once you know what to do, you must do it.
This is where many professionals fail.
Want a solution?
Each day make a list of three things you want to accomplish, and then start working on them.
If three is too many, make a list with just one thing on it.
No fancy system necessary. Just get started.
Deliver High Value with Low Labor Intensity
The pitfall of the lawyer is hourly billing. There are not enough hours in a day or days in a year for you to bill your way to financial freedom.
The trap a physician falls into is his reliance on the insurance rolls as a way to obtain his patients. Insurance companies have made doctors commodities and people select them like they select a can of corn niblets off a shelf in a supermarket – by looking at the name on the coupon they have in their hand.
You deliver value to people. Start demonstrating that value to your constituents.
The next step in the equation becomes to deliver the value to your clients/patients with low labor intensity.
A lawyer helps clients adopt children. To the client, the process is time consuming, paperwork intensive and confusing. Since the lawyer has done this hundreds of times, he knows the pitfalls and how to avoid them. That’s valuable to the client. What’s also valuable is that the lawyer is available, during business hours, to answer any questions the client may have. If he’s busy, he guarantees a call back by the end of the business day. And those calls are included in his fee.
An internist accepts a limited number of patients. He charges each patient $250 per office visit, and his staff helps the patient fill out any insurance paperwork necessary for reimbursement. The doctor also guarantees appointment times. This means his waiting room is always empty. If patients want to prepay for visits, they can purchase them in blocks of 10 for $1,500. The average doctor on this method can see 10-12 patients per hour and realize about $25,000 in revenue per day. The patients in this type of practice tend to be busy business people who appreciate the doctor’s respect for their time. The average patient spends less than 20 minutes in the doctor’s office and the pharmacy he is affiliated with delivers prescriptions directly to the patient’s home of office.
Now these specific solutions may not appeal to you but I guarantee there is a way for you to create a high value, low labor intensity solution in your business. You need to find it.
The final success factor is as simple as they come.
Don’t quit until you get what you want.
Most people give up after the first attempt at something.
The person who tries until he dies (or succeeds) is not only more likely to be more fulfilled; he is more likely to be successful.
The good news about this is you don’t have to be smart to be a financially independent professional. You just need to be persistent.