I often think about the movie with Kevin Costner called “Field of Dreams.” He is told by a voice, a whisper in his head to build a baseball diamond on his farm. The whisper says, “if you build it, they will come.” I used to believe just that, if you just put a banner up people would just gravitate towards your business. After 20 years of developing the Northstar Jujitsu brand I realise this is not the case. It takes consistent and never-ending effort and work constantly looking outside the box at ways to improve on quality to your product.

There is stiff competition in everything we do especially business wise. As so many people are vying for the same market share. I really enjoy Seth Godin‘s book, The Purple Cow. It changed my outlook on how to position yourself and how to be noticed. Your business needs whatever it can to make it stand out.

My bible for small business success is the book “The E Myth” by Michael Gerber. A classic and still a very relevant way to run your business. Gerber explains that each business should always be set up with selling in mind. How can you automate your business so that somebody else can easily come in and run it. The main way of doing this is by check listing everything.

I have now sold three businesses and the formula for the business sales was all the same. Set up an incredible business. It does not matter what it is, but you must be passionate about it. That passion drives you for long days including weekends. In fact, it never stops. But this is okay when you live eat and sleep your business.

If you build it, it does not matter!  As they may not come. In this modern day and age, you also need to have a very good online presence. But be careful to not overdo it and be one of those desperate businesses that just bombard you with constant information. Your online presence must be like your physical product and it provides a gateway to both your physical products and online products. They interact and complement each other.

When I had my business, I made a mandate that when anyone thought of Martial Arts my name or Northstar, is who they initially thought about. So, I had to keep constant pressure on having awareness of the Northstar brand and myself constantly out there. I appeared in the newspaper several times and was on television shows like Fat Pizza and the Biggest Loser. Quite often Northstar was the go-to business for comments in the media. I am sure that this initially did not raise sales, but the name was out there and getting attention. It was small step to find me online and the first thing they saw was a quality website, easy to navigate, a chance to join my mailing list and heaps of free information like e-books, podcasts, quizzes and lessons.

What I am trying to say here, is it all takes effort and work. Being a small business hero is not for the faint hearted. But there is something quite powerful about being master of your own ship and being totally in control of your own destiny. I finally let go of the full time work ball and chain, 17 years ago. That is a long time to be self employed and successful. I view success as being to be totally in charge of your own destiny. Were there difficult times? Sure, and that was the challenge. Working through the challenges, not giving up, working and working again as you believe what you are doing is good.  

If you are interested in getting ahead, and owning your own small business and getting started with no up front costs, go to http://northstarjujitsu.com/

-Andy-

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