It’s often at this point in the year, when you start seeing blogs, news stories, etc popping up on business trends for 2014 or business lessons from 2013.

Now of course it’s important to keep a watching eye on trends that might impact your business. However, contrary to all the hype that’s out there, there really is only one lesson you’ll need to take with you from 2013.

And chances are it’s the only 2014 business lesson you’ll need to take with you in 2015 too. So what’s this mysterious business success lesson?

Do the Work!

Now, I know there’s a myriad of people telling you they’ve got a 2, 5, 10 or 12 step system or process that without which, your business is destined for failure. But really that’s just designed to sell you expensive courses, books, meetings, training and coaching.

The truth is, if you’ll just sit down each day or at least the days that you’ve scheduled as your work days if you’re doing the ‘lifestyle design thing’ and do nothing else but get the real work you need to do done, you and your business will be a success.

Nike, Had it Right With its Slogan of Just Do it.

And that truth will set you free. Just imagine all the dollars that one truth has just saved you for 2014.

Now that’s not to say that you shouldn’t read business books, do a training course or go to a networking lunch – sure you can. Just make sure they’re a side dish for the main meal of getting the important real work done.

The problem is that so often going to nice lunches, networking or doing training courses feels like ‘work’ and hence we can fill our calendars being busy with these activities. We can even fool ourselves that we’ll meet potential customers whilst we’re there. But if you’ve been to a couple and haven’t netted any real business from it, then it’s busy, unimportant stuff.

And then there’s the ‘other stuff’ that we do that we either hate (and it takes hours) like the dreaded admin (if we’re not administrators) or stuff that once we start we get sucked into the rabbit hole like social media. Checking your facebook feed (unless you’re a community manager or you regularly sell from your page) is NOT work – just in case you needed clarification.

However we go about it, avoiding the real stuff that gets us paid often makes for tougher times than need be, if not today, then at some point.

What Does ‘Real Work’ Look Like?

Well, that depends on your business. But it might include;

  • Talking to your existing customers – about how you can serve them better or fix their current or future problems
  • Finding new customers – whose problems you have a good shot at fixing and finding a way of helping them
  • Training your sales team
  • Sorting out an importing problem if you’re bring product in from overseas
  • Gaining a grant if you’re looking to export your product
  • Creating a pitch deck if you’re looking for investor funding
  • Doing customer tax returns if you’re an accountant
  • Providing legal advice if you’re a solicitor (or a conveyancer)
  • Doing the design or admin work for which you’re known

In other words, ‘real’ work is anything that either finds you more customers, bonds you better to your existing customers (in a real and personal way), or delivers the products or services your business gets paid for.

If you focus on just the stuff that gets or keeps your customers and gets you paid in 2014 and beyond, you’ll have a fantastic year. Year after year after year.

Of course, if you’d rather not ever have to face your dreaded admin again or something else that gets in the way of your ability to do ‘real work’, we’d be delighted to help.