Why do some businesses fail during tough times while others succeed? I have searched for the answer to that question since I began my business 16 years ago. In my search for knowledge and professional guidance, I have worked with and learned from hundreds of successful entrepreneurs and top-level executives.
The more time I spent getting to know these people, the clearer it became that each of them shared three common characteristics that ultimately defined their success: focus, faith and effort (FFE).
There is an amazing power in focus. Just think of a laser beam— a narrowly focused beam of light that is so powerful it can cut through steel. Focus in business has similar powers. What do we need to be focused on?
Let’s start with the entrepreneur. Few entrepreneurs have made it big by focusing on multiple industries or products. We all have limited time and limited bandwidth. Dividing your energy among different businesses or different projects greatly reduces your momentum.
Focus on customers. I see this fail all too often in our business when a franchise partner thinks he will get better results trying to market to everyone quickly. I teach our franchise partners to pick an audience, to narrow their focus. Will it be homeowners, property managers, realtors or contractors? Pick one audience and own it.
Without faith, you are finished before you start. First and foremost, people need to believe in themselves. If you do not believe in yourself, it is certain no one else ever will. You then need to have faith in a vision. Every exceptional, successful leader has a crystal clear vision— whether they are an athlete, an entrepreneur or a politician. Without faith, it becomes much harder to execute with focus and effort.
As a leader, you also need faith in your team. I have met a few entrepreneurs who do nothing but complain about their team. When you have lost faith in your own team, I can guarantee they have lost faith in you.
This one is easy— good, old-fashioned hard work. It does not matter how focused you are or how much faith you have in yourself, your vision or your team: you will not be successful without putting in consistent effort over time.
We come from a society in which we want instant results, but we cannot buy a short cut on this one. I have a rule that we use to find team members and franchise partners who are strong in the area of effort: We hire motivated people. I do not believe leaders can motivate. They can inspire and empower, but motivation comes from within. I will say it again, hire motivated people.
Success is a very personal thing and means different things to each of us; however, every person I have met who considers himself to be extremely successful is practicing a high level of focus, faith and effort. What you do is important, but I believe how you do it is even more important. The next time you meet someone who you believe is exceptionally successful, take a closer look at his or her approach. I bet that person is making practical use of focus, faith and effort. It works.
Brian Scudamore is the founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and a member of the Vancouver chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.