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I remember having a conversation one time with a successful business entrepreneur. We were speaking about making a profit and how to succeed at it. We talked about the essential elements necessary to have achievements in business. At one point, we talked about integrity. I’m someone who always believes in taking the higher ground, but he didn’t think it was so important.

He said to me, “Wayne, every day is a great day to make money. And, to make money, you’ve got to stay ahead of the other guy.”

What he was telling me was that to stay competitive, you have to take shortcuts. In a way, what he was suggesting was that to make money in business, you’ve got to be a shark.

I disagree.

I’m someone who has several companies and multiple brands, and I have a team of professionals working with me all over the world. While I do believe that any day is a great day to make money, you don’t have to be a shark ready to destroy someone else to make money. It’s not necessary, and I make money each day without having to hurt someone else in the process. In fact, I make profits across my businesses by being good to people and also being aware of focusing on the opportunities, including technology and the silver linings found in challenges.

If you keep your eye on everything around you, you don’t need to make money by crushing other people. You just have to focus on the opportunities you have at your disposal within yourself and also in your surroundings.

  • Your word is your bond. Saying what you mean and doing what you say, as well as keeping your word, has significantly contributed to my professional success. When people work with me, whether they are my team members, partners, and customers, they know that I’m going to do everything to make sure that I keep true to my word.
  • The Golden Rule. It may be old school, but the reality is that treating others with respect and the way I would like to be treated has served me well. I believe in the basics of decency. I’m by no means a push-over, and I always know everything that is going on––even if I’m not choosing to address something at a given moment. I can be a tough boss at times because I’m straightforward, but I always say what’s on my mind with respect.
  • Recruit a quarterback. I think one of the biggest things that managers sometimes do is to have an explosion of ideas or things they want to be done, but no clarity in how or who they want to be the point person for managing a project. I always get a quarterback for everything we get done, even if it’s something simple, so there’s no confusion. In my businesses, there might be a rush of ideas and a myriad of things to get done, but there’s always a point person in charge of execution.
  • Sometimes less is not more. In the digital age, we talk a lot about “less is more.” Yes, that’s important for posts and tweets, but not for how you treat others on your team or your clients. If you promise to do something, don’t deliver less than what you said you would do. People will notice.
  • Maintain confidence in all situations. A manager or leader does not always have all of the answers. It’s just not possible. We’re human. However, confidence works wonders in business and life, even if you don’t know the solution to a problem. Be confident always and in every situation, and if you need to get back to someone whether you’re in a job interview or the owner of your company, inform them that you will get back to them with an answer.
  • Be open to opportunities. We live in a world that can seem chaotic, and on any given day you can walk into the office and the day can turn out to be completely different than what you expected. Lots of times, it’s because an opportunity (even a subtle one) is beckoning you. My team and I always look at every opportunity, and even in the challenges. Keep an eye for a chance disguised as something else and expand your definition of what an “opportunity” means, particularly as they relate to instances that can be challenging.
  • Embrace technology. You’ve got to embrace technology. Period. You can talk about the pros and cons of technology, but the reality is that it’s here and your team and customers expect you to use it. Embrace technology and make sure you use it, so you’re aware of what’s happening in your business at any moment. The reality is that your mobile or your tablet should be your “best friend” and provide you will all of the information and data you need with the swipe of a finger.
  • Master the art of networking. To succeed in business and grow your company from surviving to thriving, you have to network. Always be closing, as we say in sales. Always be connecting with others and network either in person, the telephone or online. Attend events and shake the hands of people. The fact remains, individuals want to give business to people they feel they know. And, ask your customers for referrals. Warm networking is always better than going to someone cold. If you’re treating them well, they’ll be happy to refer you to others.

Business success comes because you have several elements working together. One is that you’re always seeking to do well by others and discover win/win situations. I always tell people that one of the most significant ingredients for my success is the people I work with inside and outside of my company. Other elements for success include an openness to understanding the resources and opportunities you have at your disposal. You don’t have to be a shark to succeed. You just have to be smart about how you choose to operate as a business person.