What someone who has done business for 50 years wants you to know

- October 18, 2023 4 MIN READ
Business lessons


With 50 years’ experience as an entrepreneur and owner of multiple businesses including antique stores in Australia, a luxurious castle in Italy, and a thriving ranch in Houston, Texas – I have spent much of my time and resources inviting others to a different possibility with business, writes Gray Douglas.

One of the things that I have noticed over the years is that most people build their business through difficulties. The conclusion is that if the business survives through difficult times, success is somehow deserved. Do you deserve air? Do you breathe it anyway? What if a successful business was the same? You simply breathe it in and breathe it out – you don’t have a point of view about it.

You can create your business through difficulties or through possibilities, and your point of view determines which it will be. If you choose that creating a business can be as easy as breathing air, you will see possibilities that you did not see before and things will show up as if by magic.

5 tips to create your business through possibilities

  1. Be willing to change anything

 The willingness to change anything is what sets successful businesses apart. Being committed to “this is the way we do things” and “this is the way it has always been done” is a recipe for failure.

On the other hand, if you are willing to look at what is, ask questions and change what isn’t working or what could be greater, the chances of failure diminish significantly.

Change is the only source of sustainability. You’ve got to look at what needs to be changed every day.

  1. Ask questions. Don’t look for answers

I have a different perspective of questions than most. In school we are taught that the purpose of a question is to find the answer. Not just any answer, the right answer. The problem with answers is that the moment you find one, you stop asking further questions because you conclude you have it figured out. And the moment you conclude that you have it figured out is the moment you stop yourself from going further.

Look around. Things are always changing. The “right” answer of today will very likely change tomorrow. The right answer was once that the earth was flat. Then it was discovered that it was not. The right answer was that there were nine planets and then another was found. Right answers don’t last, and they keep us from seeing what else is actually possible.

In my point of view, the purpose of asking questions is not to get an answer, but rather to give you awareness. A question to live by is, “What else is possible here that I have never considered?”

  1. Use what’s different about you to your advantage

Often business owners look at other business owners who are successful and copy what they do. Many people try to make money in the same way. One of the problems with this is that you aren’t most people. You are definitely different and that is your strength.

Live by that difference rather than the sameness of others. Others have a way of creating business that is their way. Discover what your way is and do that.

You discover your way by asking questions. “What would be fun for me to create? What could I add to my business that would allow me to create something even greater than I already am?” Receiving information from other business owners is fine, just don’t try and mimic them. Be the different gift of you in the way you build your business.

  1. Be willing to look at the real reason mistakes are made

If you have an employee who keeps repeating the same ‘mistake,’ either they don’t really want the job, they are settling for a career they don’t really care about, or there is something getting in the way. Ask them questions. Ask them to be honest about what it is they desire and what they would like their life and their career to look like. Empower them to get clear on what they desire in their life and then to choose it. Failure is nothing but a need for change.

  1. Take action

You are not going to create a successful business by sitting on the couch and watching Netflix. To bring something into the world requires generation, creation, and institution.

Generation is about new ideas and building the energy of something that is going to have a life of its own in the world. Creation is about taking something that never existed before and bringing it into reality. Institution is about what you add every single day that keeps the energy flowing.

All three of these elements require taking action. If you are unsure of where to start, just ask “Where should I put my attention today?” The first thing that pops to mind, go and do that. Sometimes taking action in one area leads to the awareness of what is required in another area.

Taking action doesn’t have to be a linear thing; you can pick and choose and move and shift what you do and often you will get way more done if you are following the energy of what is required next.

Putting these tips into practice sets you on the path to creation with speed and ease which most would say is impossible. Who cares what most say? If you are willing to receive more than most, then you can have more than most.

Finally, if I had only one piece of advice to give to a business owner, to anyone actually, it would be to never give up, never give in and never quit.

Never giving up doesn’t mean doing the same thing you have always been doing and driving a business into the ground until it dies. Never giving up is about always looking for what else is possible. Never giving in is about always looking for the way around things. Never quitting is about always demanding that no matter what, you will do whatever it takes to make something happen.

Put these elements into practice and you and your business will truly be unstoppable.

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