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Seven Steps to realizing your ambition

A recent study found that more-ambitious businesses have experienced faster revenue growth and are more optimistic about the future.

Updated: Nov 11, 2014, 12.06 PM IST
Being ambitious matters. A recent study found that more-ambitious businesses have experienced faster revenue growth and are more optimistic about the future.

Let's take an example of a neighborhood restaurant my friends and I frequently visit. Whenever we go there, the owner always stops by our table to say hello. Normally we exchange a few pleasantries, maybe a joke or two, and then he gets back to work. That night, however, he seemed preoccupied, so I asked him to have a seat. He told me that he was opening a new restaurant a few miles away, and that his head was spinning from the complexity of it all. He said that it was exciting, but terrifying at the same time. He then smiled, stood up, and went to greet a couple walking into the restaurant.

My friends and I continued to talk about the owner's dilemma. He realized his dream of becoming an entrepreneur. He had a vision, obtained financing, bought and renovated the building, created an exquisite menu, and the customers flocked to his establishment. All of his ambition and hard work paid off. Now, he struggled with the notion of taking his business to the next level or keeping things status quo.

With this desire in place, the next step for businesses is to articulate their aims. Achieving revenue and profit growth are top of many companies' agendas. The very ambitious companies have a more clearly defined plan. Developing new products and services, penetrating new geographies and expanding the business premises are all front-of-mind ambitions for very ambitious businesses.

Realizing an ambition, whether personal or professional, is hard work. Outlining seven tips that have helped global business owners better understand how to reach their goals.

1. Don't bite off more than you can chew

While it's important to dream big, it's imperative to keep your resources in mind. Set "stretch goals" for yourself, but don't make them so high that the goals are unreachable. Have a long-term objective with a series of milestones from where you are now to where you want to be in 3-5 years. Remember to reward yourself for hitting each milestone, too.

2. Collaborate

The restaurant owner works collectively with his wait staff, cooks and managers toward a single, shared goal. This concept of collaboration applies to almost any business with employees.

Share your objectives with the people working for you (e.g. "We will open a second restaurant in the summer of 2014) and remember this rule: "Many hands make light work." When applicable, let your customers know about your dreams as well.

Most customers would like to know that their purchases are supporting entrepreneurial dreams. Also consider collaborating with your supply chain and partners to achieve your goals.

3. Get the right support

You are probably an expert in one or more segments of your business. These segments are probably the reason you started your company. The other segments, the areas you hate to work in, may require outside assistance.

Don't be too proud or frugal to ask for help. If you are streamlining your business processes, determine what expert assistance is needed and make the call. If applicable, consider one of SAP's 11,000+ partners. They can offer expert advice help you find the right solution to suit your company's needs.

4. Keep it simple

Make your ambition as clear as possible. Whether it's opening another restaurant, hiring more employees, or reaching double-digit sales growth by the end of 2014, make sure the goal is simply stated. Delete unnecessary processes and simplify complex ones. The less there is to slow you down and stand in your way, the better.

5. Monitor your progress

Record and review your progress regularly. This exercise will enable you to identify weaknesses more easily and improve them faster. Ambition is about continuous improvement, and not one-off changes or achievements.

6. Believe in yourself

You can achieve your ambition if you believe in it. You must also possess greater determination than all of your competitors, both locally and globally. There will inevitably be surprises that try to halt your progress; don't let them.

Open that second restaurant, build a better shoe, create a new style of headphones, or deliver an honest pint of beer. Whatever you do, commit all of your resources to do it better than anyone else.

7. Wow your Customers

This last tip is more of an example. Adarsh Co-operative bank used SAP software to help them realize their ambition of wowing their customers.

View Adarsh's success story at www.sap.com/india/ambition. It demonstrates how collaboration, innovation, and the right technology can help make you realize your ambition and become a leaner, healthier, fitter business.

If you run an ambitious company or want to learn more about how SAP is helping businesses of all sizes, check out more www.sap.com/india/ambition or call 1800-258-2510

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