AS SOMEONE who grew up poor, I marvel at how far I have come since those early days of struggle.
Yet when young people ask me the secret behind my success in the business world, I am often tempted to dismiss the questions with an off-the-cuff remark about luck.
The truth is that there are a few ways to achieve success in the business world — hard work, being open to knowledge and opportunity and being in the right place at the right time.
As these are common principles that everyone practises, people often fall into the trap of perceiving business success as something that just happens, due to luck or factors beyond their control.
As business professionals, we have the drive to succeed — but without a vision to guide us, we will never reach our ambition.
Here is how you can chart your vision for success:
Identify your ambition
What makes you tick?
Your world starts in your head and it tells you what you want to achieve.
Before you decide why success is important to you, ask yourself what opportunities it creates for you.
Ambition paves the way for success, so it is important that you have a dream to start with.
It is nobody’s ambition to work in an office 14 hours a day — you need to work towards something.
Thanks to the advent of the Internet and sophisticated technology, achieving goals is far easier than it was 20 years back.
Doing more in less time and multitasking are just a few benefits that you can reap by being receptive to technology.
After you have identified your ambition, work smartly and you will be walking out of the office at 6pm and yet be productive.
Have a plan
Maybe you are someone who has been fortunate in life, someone who has not encountered any major crisis.
But you cannot be complacent, as situations can change anytime unexpectedly.
Having a plan that is beyond your immediate success and is flexible enough for changes comes in handy.
Plans don’t age the same way as wine, so don’t let them gather dust in the backyard.
Be your own manager
The feeling of enjoying your well-earned success is priceless. Once you have achieved success, decide how you wish to use your success to enhance other areas of your life or maybe somebody else’s life.
Just be careful to manage and understand your success.
Be reasonable and understand that success (often linked to control) in some life areas does not necessarily mean instant or formidable success (and control) in other areas.
Walk in your client’s shoes
Do you really know what your customers go through when they walk through the door of your establishment?
It is well worth testing your customer’s journey with you to ensure that you are providing the experience you want your customers to have.
It is not rocket science, especially when you have intelligent technology to aid you at every step.
Listen to what you say
Remove jargon from your vocabulary.
People often hide behind wildly improbable “terms and conditions”.
In business, you are either there to help customers make money or spend money, and if your customer cannot understand the value that you are providing, there is very little chance that you will be successful.
Information can be shared at the click of a button, so do not be a hoarder.
Take advantage of technology and communicate in clear and concise language that you and your customers can understand and relate to.
Respect your environment
With climate change hard upon us, every aspect of business and technology can contribute positively to reduce the impact of global warming, so look for places where you will not only be happy but be a responsible individual as well.
Too often, when considering a job offer, people ask questions that are angled towards getting the job — no matter what.
Consider what you need to be happy. Perhaps it is the ability to work from home and spend more time with the family.
Everything in its place
Yes, you can be successful and have a balanced life, with good organisation and time management.
You just need to ensure that you bring in the resources you need to support your continuing success.
Within each of us lies a success mechanism that really wants us to succeed.
If you learn to work with it, you can bring success to your business and yourself.
After all, success is a journey and not a destination — so enjoy the ride.