As children, we were told to stop, look and listen before proceeding across the street. Today, as adults, we need to think in much the same way about succeeding in business: Stop being a wandering generality. Look at the trends in your industry carefully. Listen to the wants and needs of your customer. Then wisely proceed toward greater success.
When you think about it, Stop, Look and Listen is a simple and effective formula for business-building success. Let’s go through each step in more detail so you can see how the steps fit easily and effectively into business planning.
Stop! Clarify your vision and goals.
The motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar is often quoted as saying, “Don’t become a wandering generality. Be a meaningful specific.” The better you understand what you want to accomplish personally, the more focused you will become about what you want to accomplish professionally. Becoming a meaningful specific means knowing what you want, why you want it and what you are willing to do to make it happen.
Ask yourself … Are my goals and vision for the future specific, motivating and measurable?
The more meaningful and specific your goals, the more focused you’ll be on the day-to-day activities that can actually turn those goals into reality.
Look! Study your market inside and out.
Examine what is currently happening in your industry. Then look at what is specifically happening within your target market. Become a trend-watcher. The successful woman entrepreneur knows her target market better than her target market knows itself! The Academy Award winning director Frank Capra said it best: “Don’t follow trends, start trends.” It all begins by truly understanding the wants, needs and desires of your ideal market.
Ask yourself … What am I doing to stay current with the trends in my industry? How will these trends affect my target market? Can I foresee a new trend for my market? How can I begin planning now to be on the cutting edge of innovation?
A trend-watcher is someone who reads, studies and stays current with what is happening within their industry. It’s like the old saying, “Find a need or desire and fill it better than anyone else.”
Become a people-watcher. Observe the hopes, dreams, wants, needs and goals of your target market and then find a way to address those hopes, dreams, wants, needs and goals with your products and services. Become your target market’s “go to” person.
Listen! Deliver what your customers need and want.
Listen to your customers and provide extraordinary products and customer service. The successful and innovative businesswoman is a great listener. Being a great listener and asking well-crafted, open-ended questions go hand-in-hand. I call it becoming an informal interviewer. The best way to learn more about the hopes, dreams, wants, needs and goals of your target market is to talk with your target market directly. Go where they go and then make time to stop, look and listen to what your ideal customer is saying about his or her current and future expectations. Become an innovator in your industry!
Ask yourself … How can I seek out opportunities to better serve my target market? How can my products and services solve a problem or fill a need or desire?
Being an innovator means thinking out of the box and making your own opportunities. Listening to your customers amounts to doing your homework and providing yourself with a firsthand impression of the industry and your ideal customer.
Listen carefully and discover what need or expectation is not being filled within your target market and figure out a way you can fill this void better than anyone else.
Ask yourself … How can I support my target market’s desire to make life easier, safer, happier or better?
Succeed! Get going today.
You will succeed when you stop to examine what you want to achieve personally and professionally. Success begins with your personal, professional and financial vision for the future. The clearer you are about what you want to achieve, the clearer you’ll be about how to grow your business.
You will succeed when you look carefully at your target market with an open and innovative mindset and become a skilled people-watcher. Get to know your target market even better than they know themselves.
You will succeed when you listen to the physical and emotional needs and desires of your customers and then provide them with innovative solutions and extraordinary customer service. Become the most innovative person in your industry—the one who expertly addresses the hopes, dreams, wants, needs and goals of the market.
Are you ready to make a commitment to become the go-to person within your target market? There’s no better time than today to stop, look, listen and succeed at making your personal and business goals a reality.
About the Author
Sharon Michaels is a business coach and the author of How to Give Yourself the Power to Succeed(EmPOWERing Publications, 1996). She produces and hosts the weekly radio show, Women Enjoying Success, interviewing and sharing the strategies of self-made successful women. Learn more at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sharon-michaels . Read Sharon’s blog, http://www.sharonmichaels.com/powertosucceed/, check out her weekly Ezine, Unlimited Success for Women and visit her website at http://www.sharonmichaels.com
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