"A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them."
--- John C. Maxwell
People go into business for a variety of reasons. For some, they've always had a passion for providing to others what their hands can create. For others, the business has always been in the family so it just makes sense to follow that same route. And still for others, business is just a way to provide for their family. The reasons may vary, and that's okay. There isn't necessarily just one right reason for starting a business.
We speak with many sign business owners and operators throughout the world. Though not a scientific study, it seems that with the hundreds, (maybe even thousands), of businesses we hear from, the most successful seem to be the ones that are operating their businesses because they have a sincere passion to provide a solution, either through a product or service, or both. Their "why" is to serve others and because of that, their bottom line seems to grow larger every year.
"Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility."
--- Ambrose Bierce
The real reason to go into business is to make a profit. However, if that were the only reason, the business probably wouldn't last very long. It makes sense that in order for the business to survive, it must fulfill a need, want or desire for its customers. Without that fulfillment, customers would not pay for that businesses' products or service. The concept is extremely simplistic, but one that businesses all over the world need to be reminded of.
"Between calculated risk and reckless decision-making lies the dividing line between profit and loss."
--- Charles Duhigg
So hear in a nutshell is three steps for starting and remaining profitable in a business. The first step is to recognize who your customers are. Conducting a market analysis is always to first step in determining if your business will make a profit with its product and service. The lemonade stand in the middle of nowhere won't survive one day. Your business won't survive if you are not in a market that desires or needs what you have to sell. Not being willy-nilly with your market strategy will save you money and frustration in the long run.
"The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way."
--- Dale Carnegie
The second step is to never give up once we mess up. Although we don't want to be reckless in our business decisions, we do want to take calculated risks in order to earn bigger profits. Sometimes those risks may lead to failure, but that is good-now we know what won't work and can continue revising our business strategy until we find something that does work. It's not a matter of failing and forgetting, but failing and using those moments to learn, tweak, and improve on how we approach business situations.
"Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them."
--- W. Edwards Deming
Finally, in order to stay profitable in business, we need customers and then more customers. Many businesses have failed because they rest on their laurels and believe that their customer base will always be there. The smart business owners always try to stay ahead of the pack. In other words, they are constantly marketing, looking for new customers and then encouraging those customers to bring even more. Constantly improving your customer service approach, investing into advertising and marketing, and ensuring that the products and services you provide are always top-notch, will keep your customer funnel full. And a full funnel means profits!