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What Fuels Do You Need to Fire Up Your Business?

As a home business owner, you are skilled at igniting ideas to fulfill your personal, professional, and financial dreams. But what do you need to feed your fire after the initial “aha” moment?

This important question is answered in a new book called Firestarters: How Innovators, Instigators, and Initiators Can Inspire You to Ignite Your Own Life. The authors explore what drives “Firestarters” — people who create new things, disrupt conventional thinking, and start successful businesses, non-profits, and movements.

There are three components of being a Firestarter. Igniters trigger the “aha” moment. Fuels feed the idea or business. Accelerants spread actions that lead to success.

We believe that for home business owners, understanding how to capitalize on Fuels –- both internal and external –- is particularly relevant to achieving victory. Because they often work alone, home business owners need to pay attention to the Fuels that can take a goal and turn it into a viable enterprise.

Different Fuels have different roles in moving you and your business forward. Fuels include:

  • Prestige
  • Opportunity
  • Wealth
  • Luck
  • Social Connections

Prestige is Powerful

Prestige is the positive view that people have about you that can be used to promote the impact you make. You can gain prestige from being a member of a group or from the position you have in your profession or community. Business owners have instant prestige because society bestows that viewpoint on owners. It is essentially built into your role. So how can you use prestige as a Fuel?

One thing we know about prestige from research is that anytime you interact with another person or group to achieve a joint outcome, there is a power structure to the situation. Firestarters prefer situations that allow them to create win-win scenarios through persuading and negotiating. They also avoid being subjected to others who have too much control over their outcomes.

Essentially, you should avoid using prestige as a power-grabber and stay away from those who will sap your own power by taking too much control.

Opportunities: Use Them or Lose Them

Taking advantage of opportunities is another Fuel source. Many opportunities are planned ahead of time. They are not random, but are sought after and made to happen. Taking advantage of opportunities, in general, requires quick reflexes. This means you need to believe in yourself to tap into opportunities. Because there are so many opportunities available, you will always have doubts. Is there something greater that you could have achieved if you had waited? Is this the right opportunity? In the end, however, questioning yourself and the situation repeatedly will only ensure that no action is taken. Without action, all opportunities are wasted resources.

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Accessing Wealth

Every business owner knows that money is a critical Fuel to keep the fire burning. But wealth goes beyond your bank account; it is also access to money from family, benefactors, investors, or the bank. Don’t be afraid to ask for financial help to help you fuel your business.

Equally important, Firestarter business owners see wealth as a tap-able resource for fueling something bigger. They put wealth into action. Driven by a need to make an impact, they are constantly seeking ways to make their money an equal partner in the journey.

Luck as Calculated Risk

We all know businesses that just appear lucky. The CEO gets a meeting with a big potential client that others have not been able to reach. A celebrity uses one of their products and sales skyrocket.

Here’s what we found out — successful business owners aren’t born lucky. They manufacture it. They are builders. They analyze all the characteristics of a situation to inform action. When that information includes pros and cons, they are more informed. They have knowledge of the situation’s potential.

Sometimes the potential outcome is so likely that pursuing an action based on luck is well justified. Will playing the odds always lead to victory? Of course not. Some choices in games lead to wins, and some lead to losses. But those who don’t play the game have zero percent chance of winning.

Who You Know Does Matter

The final Fuel we examined was social connections. Building social connections requires action. For example, social media users who share, like, and comment generally build more loyal and engaged connections. Why? Because they are signifying that they actually care about their followers. To build stronger social connections, you must actually be social.

Many social connections are never tapped because people shudder at the thought of asking people they know to help achieve something. It can make your connections feel like pawns, rather than potential friends or colleagues. Try flipping the script. If a colleague called you and asked for your assistance, would you help? Probably. Would you feel used? No. Why? Because you serve as mutual resources for each other.

Fuels Can Run Out

Fuels are burnable resources that have limits and can be squandered. Often, we understand this idea mostly in terms of money, but squandering a social network or prestige can be equally as detrimental to growing your business. And not taking advantage of luck or opportunities deprives you and your business of the ability to move into acceleration and high growth.

Understanding and valuing Fuels has the ability to turn your business and you into Firestarters that will change your life, community, and even the world.

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