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This article has originally been published in the April 2012 edition of the Sauk Valley Sun, which serves Dixon, Sterling and Rock Falls (Illinois).

Last time this column discussed the “who, what, where, why, and how” of being a successful business. The key word here is “being”. I have been approached by people in the area and they tell me their core business has changed over the last couple of years. Sales are not what they used to be and many businesses have over extended themselves with a high asset base of equipment or capital expenditures that they are not using now. Their fixed costs are still high, but they are not bringing in the amount of revenue associated with it. They assumed that business would continue to expand based on certain criteria. We think that if we do-have-be, then we can be happy. There always will be challenges, in all facets of life, as well as business, and my mind-set has changed around. Be-do-have is my “motto” now. No matter what challenges come up, I am CONFIDENT about who I am as a person. In other words who I am being NOW? The basic laws of cause and effect will dictate where you will go with your business. Think about these words: “Faith”, “Trust”, “Potential” and “Abundance”. Now, think about these words: “Struggle”, “Frustration”, “Hard Work and Disappointment”. My question to you is which set of words would you rather work with? Going back to those businesses that have over-extended themselves, a question comes to mind. Where do we find the balance in our lives to determine where we are going? How do we find the time to clear not only our schedule, but our head so that we will KNOW our path? These are all basic questions, but we sometimes take them for granted. What do I have to do in reality to be successful? #1-I have to be honest with the questions and answers I ask and give myself. Sometimes this is the most difficult part of the whole equation. Many of us have been “programmed” to act and (or) react in ways that actually make our life more difficult. Think about this: Just as we try to determine what will work and won't work for our business, why not realize that in today's world, we are surrounded by all kinds of tools which can assist us in where we want to go. We KNOW that there is an ABUNDANCE of information regarding others in our particular industries who have taken on the challenges of change, both good and bad, and these people have adapted to be successful. In today's world, collaboration is often times vital. The following is Wikipedia's definition of collaboration: “Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals, (this is more than the intersection of common goals seen in co-operative ventures, but a deep, collective, determination to reach an identical objective— for example, an intriguing[endeavor that is creative in nature—by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. Most collaboration requires leadership, although the form of leadership can be social within a decentralized and egalitarian group. In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.” Brad Monson

A monthly column in the Sauk Valley Sun signed by Brad Monson. Brad gives small business owners ideas, which can help them boost their business. The Sauk Valley Sun serves Dixon, Sterling and Rock Falls - Illinois, USA.

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