The business world is a complex web of transactions and relationships. The most successful players follow certain central habits which help them to run their businesses efficiently, develop multiple large sources of revenue and wealth, develop public personas which extend beyond themselves, and wield their power with surgical precision. What follows is a guide, through which you too can develop yourself into a powerful, successful business leader.
- Learn to compartmentalize. Although many more conniving individuals apply this lesson in more Machiavellian fashion, compartmentalizing doesn’t necessarily mean keeping secrets. Rather, it means focusing on being effective in whatever you’re presently doing. Avoid “bleed over” between work, charity and home life. To achieve this goal, you need to employ effective time management techniques, segmenting days and weeks. The most successful businesspeople find time each day to work quietly without interruption. Whether following up on emails or digesting progress reports, you need to find time to focus on work without enduring constant distraction.
You also need to find time to put work aside regularly and actively think about your business more broadly. These are the times when you can identify opportunities to pursue other avenues of expanding revenue streams. Lastly, everyone needs to take a little time away from work on occasion. While vacations can help work-life balance, this also means structuring regular breaks in your work schedule to help clear your head and organize your thoughts.
- Be constantly on the lookout for new opportunities. These ideas might include ways to make your business more efficient, introduce potential new revenue streams, or ways to grow your current operations. The world’s most successful businesspeople understand that scale is one key way to achieve financial success. Attorneys and doctors know that they can only see a limited number of clients any given day. Real success means finding how out how you can use your time in the most productive and profitable ways possible.
- Expand your power base. You can’t develop broad influence if you restrict yourself to a single business operation. Seek new ways to get involved with other enterprises. Look for opportunities to advise other companies – maybe a vendor if your business is a big client. Philanthropic activities can be ideal nonthreatening environments for networking and learning about what other people are doing. They’re also excellent ways to tie yourself to worthy causes and associate yourself with bigger ideas or concepts. Civic involvement can represent a similar avenue for developing influence.
Even just looking for strategic partnerships with other companies or brands can be beneficial. These things grow not only your network but also your circle of influence. They also help make you aware of new opportunities and give you a chance to identify talented individuals to partner with or hire.
- Spend, but keep reserves. In many respects, it’s true that you must spend money to make money. It’s also true that you can’t take money or worldly possessions with you. Everyone has a different balance between spending and saving, with the healthiest option inevitably being found in some middle ground. Spending for vacations or family activities, for example, can help to promote work-life balance and increase satisfaction from work.
However, it’s also critical to keep capital reserves on hand. Most opportunities – whether it’s a new business venture or expanding a profitable part of your current business – when you’re lucky enough to find them and have the chance to get involved, will require the commitment of some amount of resources. Failure to have the requisite capital available could mean that you watch a fantastic opportunity sail by.
Becoming a powerful, successful business leader is not a common occurrence, and it’s not for the faint hearted. The process takes years, even decades, to achieve; and sometimes success never comes. There will be disheartening days, weeks, or even years, through which you must keep the faith. Throughout, you must continue plodding on in pursuit of your goal, focused on growing your business, developing new revenue streams, and seeking opportunities to improve yourself and your business. Those thinking they’d like to take this journey are encouraged first to examine themselves and decide whether it’s the path they want to take. For those who decide to set out on this road, use these suggestions for setting yourself on the road to influence and success.