17 years ago, with just $3000 as my seed capital, I set out to build a business that would ultimately aim to reshape and reform the profession of selling for the 21st century.

I have seen selling change through the decades. Not only have I seen the industry of sales go through a transformation, but the overall business world too. I have seen this change in small to large businesses and also within my own business.

Reflection is a part of moving forward. It’s important to remember what we’ve learnt, what we’ve seen and compare it to where we are now. By doing this we’re given a clear direction as to how to take the appropriate steps in moving forward in business, keep up with constant change and not be left behind and perish. It also gives us a chance to appreciate our successes and to see how far we’ve come. The following areas are top lessons learnt in my 17 years of business:

Choose your business partners wisely

Whether it is your staff or business affiliates, find those people who understand you quickly and easily and who are aligned with your vision, goals and philosophy. When you have business partners around you that think the same way as you it will put your business on the fast track to achieving its objectives and you will enjoy the process along the way. However, having similar philosophies doesn’t mean your business partners shouldn’t all bring something new to the table. They should bring in different perspectives and help you see links and gaps you may be unaware of.

Take a step back

As a business owner it is natural to ‘be the business’ but it’s also important to take a step back and let your trusted and valued staff and business partners be at the forefront of your business. Make sure your staff understand your business vision and instill in them a vision of their own for your business. People in positions of leadership should delegate tasks and duties and in turn they will free themselves up to concentrate on building a path for future business growth.

Manage setbacks

Always confront and resolve issues straight away, as they only get worse when ignored. Never see yourself as a ‘failure’, and always try to learn from your mistakes as learning is always a positive, never a negative. You can never fail and succeed as a whole person: you can only fail or succeed at the things you do.

Business acumen

Whatever your position is within a company or to a company, having business acumen is essential. Taking a back seat and concentrating on your small part of the world will hinder your career development, drive and motivation. When teams work together and grow, businesses grow. Professionals need to demonstrate an understanding of how business works; understand the business’ commercial drivers and make commercially sound decisions.

The power of the brain

Understanding the way the brain works and the effect it has on our actions, behaviours and mindset is vital to sustainable business success. When we know why we do the things we do and learn how to manage this we begin to see the power we have as an individual and this will translate in our job performance and results. Our brain is our most powerful tool and keeping it in check will see you grow as an individual and in business.

No matter how long you’ve been in business we all learn lessons and witness change everyday. It’s important to be aware of what’s happening around us and within us. You will make mistakes and you will have successes along the way. As long as you keep learning and growing you will always be going in the right direction.

Sue Barrett
BY Sue Barrett ON 17 January 2012
Sue Barrett is one of the leading female voices commenting on sales today. An experienced business speaker and adviser, facilitator, sales coach, training provider and entrepreneur and founder of Barrett Consulting, which provides sales assessments, sales consulting, sales coaching and sales training programs.

Visit Barrett Consulting's website,
Facebook page, or follow @SueBarrett on Twitter.