I watched a good friend’s business die this year.  It only took a few months.  And it was all very avoidable. She has good luck; she’s smart, experienced, hard-working, good at what she does, has excellent credibility, and is canny about people–well, most people, anyway.  Her Achilles heel is her spouse–a flake and lame loser.  And that’s what crumbled her business along with her personal finances.  She depended on a flake and the flake brought her down.

Biggest critical key to success? Depend on yourself. Only.

Let’s go through the whole short course, though.  Let’s look at the actual process of success.  It isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s downright simple.

The first key to success is realizing that, yes, your success depends on you. You cannot depend on someone else to succeed for you…or even with you.  It just doesn’t work that way.  Oh, sure.  People can and will help when you engage them, but, ultimately, it’s you who has to check their work and make sure that work is going to move you along your road to success.   If it isn’t, then forget them, and DO IT YOURSELF.

Success isn’t easy for most people.  Though the process of success is easy, it is a fact that succeeding can require downright tedious work–which is where most people fail.  But let’s start at the beginning, rather than get muddled with “middle stuff.”

First off, know what you want to succeed at.  That’s important–very.

Next, learn what it’s going to take for you to achieve success in what you want to do…which means learning everything from the bureaucratic necessities to the most menial tasks, and learn them inside and out.

Now, marshal your assets and organize.  Organization–setting things up so they run as smoothly and seamlessly as possible with potential and even unlikely problems factored in–is the biggest and most important part of your entire enterprise, and that organization scheme is in a constant state of dynamics, because, as external conditions change, so do your organizational procedures have to change to accommodate those external forces.

Establish your routine, including within that routine a daily check on all critical functions from the administrative on down to the most insignificant. This is where organization is there to help you.  At any given moment you should be able to know when any filings are due to whatever agencies your enterprise must answer to, when any payments are due and how much they are, what your bank balance is, what your cash flow projections are, what tasks are scheduled for when, etc., etc., etc.  And, by the way, yes, you should always be running at least three full months ahead on your cash reserves.  More is even better.

Most importantly, never depend on someone to do things for you.  Oh, sure.  You can hire an office aide.  You can hire a bookkeeper.  You can task anyone you want with whatever job you want.  But YOU have to check to make sure they did it, and that they did it right, before it’s due–before they send off the quarterly report to the state and federal governments, before they screw up a payment, before they fail to file the appropriate form, before….  Do not blindly depend on others to do it on time or to do it right, because that will come back to bite you, and bite you badly.

And that’s pretty much it.  Honest.  Do the work–all the work–making sure that every ‘t’ is crossed and ‘i’ is dotted, holding yourself and only yourself accountable for that work getting done right and on time, and you will succeed.