Maybe you got into business because you were good at something you wanted to get paid for your skills and knowledge. Maybe you are out to change the world, or maybe you just want enough cash in your account for a beach house or a jet ski. Whatever your motivation, there is likely some part of you that wants – no, needs – to make that work matter. To impact your market and influence your industry.

Here are two pieces of bad news: that applies to everybody, and true success is a marathon, not a sprint. But that doesn’t mean you have to run slow. The best marathon runners can easily outpace an average sprinter. It’s all about perspective, market reality and your choices in the face of those challenges. And it’s also about finding a way to make your work matter. Here are a few ideas to hang your hat on:

Solve a problem. There are issues and problems and difficulties everywhere. Can you find a way to solve that problem in a marketable and profitable way? If so, your business plan is halfway to success. Get the right money and the right people and your odds of success skyrocket.

Focus on what you are doing. One of the biggest temptations all young entrepreneurs face is the sheer expanse of potential and possibility we see when we are young. There’s so much possible out there to attack. So … much … distraction. But if you can focus on an issue you can solve and SOLVE THAT ISSUE you can move on to something else. Just ask Elon Musk and Richard Branson.

Turn personal challenges into marketable options. Chances are,if you’re facing a legitimate problem, so are other people. If there are enough people who have a problem and you can create a solution that has value to them and offers a profit to you – whatever it is – you can be successful. Remember when maps were good enough? Well, did that stop Garmin from succeeding? Not at all … and, guess what, AAA is still out there making maps too.

While no single method can guarantee you will make an indelible mark, these triggers will get you much farther and much closer to the mark than by trying to shift the world on its axis without a lever.

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