SCORE

Keep Your Eye on the Ball.

When you start a business, money is always tight. Attractive opportunities present themselves as quick ways to bring in revenue, but they are a complete departure from your core business strategy. Before you decide to go for it, stop and think about the ramifications of your decision. How much of a distraction is this going to be? One of the biggest reasons many small businesses fail is because they take on projects or products that are completely unrelated to their business strategy and subsequently the original business suffers. Trying to be all things to all people is impossible.Stay focused on your core business.

Set Milestones. Create a business plan with a timeline and milestones. Without established benchmarks, days, weeks and months can pass by while you talk, talk, talk about what you're going to do, but you never get around to doing it.You may not meet all your goals as quickly as you predicted.In fact, in most cases you won’t. It typically takes twice as long, and twice as much money, as you think it will to achieve your objectives. Nonetheless, your established milestones keep you focused on progress.

Take Action Every Day.

Never let a day go by in your business where you haven't done at least one activity to help you reach your business goals. Business success requires discipline--the discipline to practice those things that are instrumental for your success. Only occasionally making a sales call or attending a networking event won’t keep the pipeline filled with new business opportunities.One thing that works well for me is creating a list of top priorities, “the must dos” for the day, and getting those items completed first. Otherwise, I find it’s easy to get sidetracked with answering emails, cleaning my office area or working on a project I enjoy but isn’t a strategic business need. Make sure you work smart and use your valuable time productively. -Susan Wilson Solovic, guest blogger