Monday, April 6, 2009

What it takes to succeed

Like many independent business people, I get together on a regular basis with other professionals to exchange ideas and contacts, in other words to network. Some of these meetings have a structured format, such as BNI; others are governed more by the members of the group. One of these networking groups I attend was started by my broker and business partner, Gayle Bailey. We meet twice a month for breakfast, with a guest speaker joining us for one of those monthly meetings to share an inspiring business success story.

Last week, Gayle challenged each of us in the group to share what we felt was the single most important quality that had contributed to our own success stories.

The business broker in our group, Jeff Neuburg, owner of Piedmont Capital Group, cited perseverance, his ability to overcome life's curves and to stay the path.

Our commercial lender, Byron Schulze with Virginia Commerce Bank , ranked honesty high on his list. If you always tell the truth to your customers, no matter how hard, you will earn their trust and retain their business.

John Richter, the attorney who owns and operates Provident Title and Escrow with his wife, talked about ethics, stating that your name is everything. If you lose that, it is difficult if not impossible to get it back, so you must always do the right thing to retain your good name.

Troy Toureau with First Potomac Mortgage , credited passion for his success in the mortgage industry. He elaborated, adding that he loves what he does and could not see himself doing anything else.

Gayle Bailey, Principal Broker and owner of The Bailey Team Real Estate , has earned his living for the past 35 years on close to a 100% commission basis. He said his ability to seize opportunity and always have options has been the #1 factor in his success.

I recognized my ability to multi-task, or as Gayle would say, have many "irons on the fire" as playing a large part in my success. It's all about juggling multiple transactions and simultaneously keeping track of numerous clients in various stages of their respective deals.

It was interesting to me that while each person identified a different trait, each of us in the room, successful in our own businesses, all share these same qualities. Integrity and hard work certainly come into play. But when you think about it, distilling the concept of success, passion may be the single most important ingredient. You cannot work hard and do your best for people when you are not fueled by passion.