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The Four Cornerstones of Success

by John Counsel

Success in any field – including small business (especially small business!) – is built on four cornerstones. If any of them is missing, the entire structure will topple over, sooner or later. It’s inevitable.

Four Cornerstones of Success

1. Vision

You need a clear vision of what you want to achieve. Vision is the first essential attribute of true leadership. It’s also the last, because it becomes the final reality of the process. (Beware, though… a flawed vision, based on laziness or greed, will cause you to do the wrong things for the wrong reasons.)

True vision is a correct perspective on a POTENTIAL reality – a future that doesn’t yet exist for you. In small business, most peoples’ visions are based on other peoples’ present realities, such as successful competitors. It’s one of the biggest benefits of going into small business. Even vision can be duplicated.

2. Effort

Don’t confuse effort with workeffort is actually a component part of work. In physics, we define work as “effort over distance.” It’s a mathematical formula. In business success, that distance is the FOURTH dimension… time.

You can leverage your efforts until you finally sever all connection between your effort and your earnings. But, like time, that’s a consequence of success, not a cause. You have to invest EFFORT over time. It’s an indispensable part of the formula.

3. Time

No matter how much leverage you apply, through the use of other peoples’ resources (see the chapter on Leverage), you can’t eliminate the need to invest TIME, especially in the initial building stages of your business. You can only compress the time required in this way.

Sure, if you work intelligently you can ultimately sever all connection between the time you invest and the money you earn. But that’s a consequence of success. It doesn’t cause it. Don’t confuse the two.

4. Discipline

Without discipline — that’s self-discipline — you’ll never invest the time and effort required to realise your vision. And without your vision to motivate and guide you, you’ll never have the discipline you need to achieve success.

It’s so simple, common-sense and logical that it should be obvious to anyone. But it’s not, or the majority of people in small business wouldn’t waste so much of their time and effort in undisciplined, directionless work for the sake of working.

That’s EMPLOYEE thinking, not entrepreneurial thinking. Employees are conditioned to think that if they’re working HARD they’re successful, regardless of the results they produce.

An entrepreneur works SMART, using leverage to work less and earn more.

How to identify a DUD business opportunity, model, system, method or technique… quickly and easily

Give it the Four Cornerstones Test!  

If its major appeal is…

  • no time needed (Overnight success! Get rich quick!)
  • no effort needed (We’ll build your business for you! Push-button easy!)
  • no discipline needed (Just keep on doing what you’ve always done!)

… then you can be pretty certain you’ve got a dud, because ALL FOUR Cornerstones are MISSING… it can’t succeed. Even the original Vision is flawed, because it’s based on the Five Fatal FAILURE Factors…

    • Fear of loss (losing what you have or missing out on what you don’t have)
    • Ignorance (especially unconscious ignorance and incompetence)
    • Laziness
    • Greed
    • Gullibility (or, if you keep on falling for it, outright stupidity).

It’s time to get real, folks. We need to discipline ourselves to invest time and effort to bring our vision to reality, instead of wasting our time andeffort trying to find ways to avoid these indispensable ingredients of success, or simply working hard because we think we need to be BUSY in order to be productive.

If we did this simple thing, we’d be w-a-a-a-a-a-a-y ahead of where we are right now, wouldn’t we? (Be honest.)


Don’t Go Into Small Business Until You Read This Book!Taken from 
“Don’t Go Into Small Business 
Until You Read This Book!” 
by John Counsel 
Small Business Books 1996
© 1996, 1997 by John Counsel

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© 1996-2008 by John Counsel. All rights reserved.
© 1997 The Profit Clinic. All rights reserved.


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