Success Leaves Clues

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How often have you thought of running your own business because you assumed it would be easy? Or if you currently have your own business, you thought, "There's got to be an easier way to do what I do."

Fact is, often there is not an "easy way" to achieve business success. It takes time, commitment and most importantly realizing that success leaves clues.

The clues are available if you are willing to look for them. As the owner and operator of a unique retail store in Myrtle Creek, Oregon, I have experienced the ups and downs that come with being an entrepreneur.

Fortunately, there are far more ups than downs, but it was during the low points, I have had to evaluate the choice I made in the early

90's to open Just Bears and Stuff in a town of little more than

3,000 people.

What I have learned over the last decade is enough to fill not only one book, but several. For the sake of space, I will share with you the high points of what has allowed me to be one of the most successful teddy bear and specialty item gift store owners around.

As I share my strategies with you I do not do so to impress or gloat. I do it to impress upon you the importance of studying success and then determining if the path of business ownership is for you.

Vision - Every journey begins with a vision. Without vision it is virtually impossible to stay on target.

Plan – As the saying goes, you must plan for success or you are planning to fail. Have a plan in place that is your road map. The plan will allow you to stay on course with your vision. Of course, there will be times when the plan must change due to unforeseen circumstances. Which leads to the next point. ..

Flexibility – Life is not set in stone, nor is business. There will be occasions the best laid plans will not work. In a moments notice you will have to do something else. The key to flexibility is a solid foundation.

Foundation – The more you have a solid infrastructure in your business the more likely you will make it through the times of economic downturns, fickle customers, new competition, personal tragedy and the absolute unforeseen obstacles that can and do occur.

Hard work – It never ceases to amaze me how many people say they want to start their own business because they think it will be easy. Fact is, owning your own business is probably one of the most difficult things you will ever do and yet, one of the most rewarding. If you are not committed to hard work, you are not committed to your success.

Financial backing – Key to your success is to make sure you have enough money to start your business, buy necessary supplies and stock and carry you through the slow times. We would all like to think that all we have to do is open our doors and hang a shingle and the rest takes care of itself. Fact is, you have to build a client base and nurture the client base. That takes money and time. Additionally, as you grow, you must have the capital to grow.

Creativity – Business is about systems and it is about being creative. Be willing to take risks and introduce new products and services as the market demands it. Although my business originally began as a strictly brick and mortar teddy bear gift shop, it has grown beyond that. I now generate a great deal of revenue from Internet buyers. This was made possible by me being willing to create a web presence that is a great match for my market. Additionally, I began a corporate gifts division about a year ago that serves the needs of busy professionals who simply call or email their request for a client or staff gift. Both of these changes have been instrumental in strengthening my bottom line.

Enjoy yourself – Though some of what I have shared might seem bleak, the truth is, owning your own business can be one of the most enjoyable experiences you will ever have. Yet, there will be times you may forget that. Always remember what it felt like with every minor and major milestone you achieved. Also remember what your dream was when you began your business or what your dream is as you venture into ownership. It is in the remembering the commitment is renewed on a daily basis.

Serve – Above and beyond everything else, your job is to serve your customers. They do business with you because you create an experience for them. What is the experience you are known for?
About the Author
Patricia Twitchell is the proprietor of Just Bears and Stuff, a unique gift shop located in Myrtle Creek, Oregon. When you are seeking the perfect gift for someone special, Just Bears and Stuff is the answer. Receive "Beary Special Moments" a free online teddy bear facts and tips e-zine by visiting www.justbearsandstuff.com . Call 1.541.863.6037 --------------

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