Are you a successful person? Stereotyped myths about a successful person


Every entrepreneur wants to be successful in whatever field they are interested in but most of us don’t actually believe that we have achieved a level of success. Success is defined differently by people and everyone has their own ideas as to how it can be achieved. Sadly, most of these ideas are based on common lies that we have been fed upon either by stories, movies or media. Owing to this, most people have a very distorted image of what success actually is, how it is achieved and what it brings to us. Below, I have listed the biggest lies we tend to believe about success.

  1. If you have all the answers, success will come

    People tend to procrastinate trying to achieve success by saying that they can only be successful if they have all the answers to their questions. And until they find all the answers, their journey to success is at a standstill. The truth, however, is that successful people don’t start off with having all their questions answered; rather, they have simply learned how to find answers to what they know by taking to road to achieving success.
    People who have achieved the success they desired have done so through trials and learning from their mistakes. Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. Rather, take action today. Mistakes will happen, but don’t give up.

  2. You don’t need to earn money to be successful

    People define success when they earn lots of money. Entrepreneurs set they are successful when they see money, working class tends to pretend success when they earn more money in their job. Listen don’t just define success with just monetary term. I have seen most of the people tend to act strange when they didn’t earn something. Remember success is not always what you see.

    As an Entrepreneur you may not have earned what the society thinks as success. But the experience you have earned is more precious than money. The lessons from the struggle you go through, a satisfied client, a small news about you in a paper are some that matters more than money.

  3. You don’t have to make any changes

    There is an old quote that says “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. This is true but it should be noted that there is actually a very fine line between insanity and perseverance. To be successful, you have to be aware of when you need to makes changes. You have gone through a lot to get to where you are right now and if you want to be in a higher position, then you have to make changes whenever the need arises. Adaptability is key.

  4. Success comes without sacrifices

    Does everything you want in life come to you? Yes, if you try but not all at once. You have to make the choices about what you want right now. Our life is never going to be perfect so we need to choose what to sacrifice in order to have what we want. With each phase in our life, our priorities shift and with this shift, we should also make some sacrifices on the way. If we believe that success can come without having to make any sacrifices, then we’re only in for disappointment.

    I have seen hard working entrepreneurs who have scarified their personal lives, friendships and relationships and much more. They have even reduced the tie spent in sleep, shower, food, health and much more.

  5. Success comes overnight

    There are movies and media stories that talk about overnight success and we all love reading a good story about how someone with basically nothing achieved success overnight. If we imagine the same thing will happen to us, then it’s a delusional. What we need to understand is that overnight successes are only achieved by those who have been struggling to refine their skills, trade and business for a long time. And then finally, they received recognition, which in that particular context, refers to success. To be successful, you have to work hard to get there.

    As an Entrepreneur, building a company from 2 people to 20 people in 5 years time, I can firmly tell nothing comes over night.

  6. Only rich people can be successful

    Are successful people born only into rich families? Of course not. In fact most people who have earned success have actually comes from ordinary or even difficult backgrounds and toiled hard to get to the position they are in now. Every ordinary person can be successful. All it takes is to develop habits to bring about consistent improvement, day after day, year after year.
    There are many stories out there about people who succeed without even a single cent. They worked hard, focused fearlessly, faced challenges and kept only the target in their minds.

  7. Success will take all our problems away

    Every single person has to deal with their own share of problems, and this includes successful people. People who are successful face their own problems but they generally have the strategies and resources to help them deal with it better. On the road to success, there will be problems and in order to be successful, you need to learn to solve your own problems. And while most of us probably won’t believe it, the more successful you are, the greater your problems will be. The bottom line is that life isn’t going to be easier when you are successful. You will only be more capable in dealing with problems.

  8. If you are successful, people will like you

    It’s very common for people to criticize others because of their success. Because in a way, your own success can make others uncomfortable with the fact that they aren’t as successful as you and that naturally causes envy. So will people like you more after you are successful? The truth is quite contrary; you are more likely to lose friends after you have reached success but there is good news too- with your success, you will now have the opportunity of making new friends.

  9. Success will make you happier

    Can money buy happiness? To a certain level yes, but it’s only for a short-term. There is only one way in which success can make you happy and that is if you are grateful for every moment, good or bad. Only people who are deeply satisfied can be grateful, regardless of their circumstance. So don’t wait until you are successful to be happy. Choose to be happy now because success won’t always make you happy.

Business Network International (BNI): Growing via Referrals

In this post I am going to discuss the importance of Referral Marketing and Networking for a successful growth and expansion of businesses. In the Sri Lankan context, the country has started to upgrade its socio-economic affairs within the country limits as well as outside of its geographical boundaries. This will soon impose stagnation in almost all industries where the competition will be high while the profit making abilities and widening the revenue channels may become difficult. In such situations the businesses should be ready to proactively face the maturity stage. In such circumstances, my personal view is that the Marketing sphere should differ from the status quo. The dynamic features of marketing such as Offline Advertising, Online Marketing, Branding, Loyalty Marketing etc. should be combined with Referral Marketing and Networking.

It has become apparent that a business, being a sole entity, cannot survive anymore in this fiercely competitive business world. For example unlike ever before, most of the value chains have started to shrink and the entities have started to invest more in backward and forward integration while making mutually benefiting agreements with the value chain members. Hence the phenomena of marketing via referrals and networking will be the dominant feature of the forthcoming business era. Though this is a global trend which has not yet thoroughly dominated the Sri Lankan context, this will soon be the trend in Sri Lanka as well. Hence Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs should be ready to welcome such a transformation.

Recently I came to know about one of the world’s largest referrals and networking organizations, Business Network International (BNI). I got to know about this organization through my Business Partner who resides in California, USA. As I have stated initially, I strongly believed that referrals and networking can render immense benefits to businesses in Sri Lanka, especially small scale ones and start-ups. Hence I was interested to know more about it and soon experienced the worthiness of such an organization in the contemporary world. This encouraged me to become a member of its Sri Lankan wing too. Resultantly I am writing this post by connecting the importance of referrals, word-of-mouth and networks and the experiences I collected to this point as a member of BNI, Sri Lanka.    

Word-of-mouth is arguably one of the most effective forms of Marketing, and has an especially significant effect in the B2B market. While referrals are not guaranteed sales, clients who have been directed towards your business through mutual intermediaries are much more likely to become loyal customers. However, in order to conduct proper referral marketing, a company must first establish a network of business contacts. This can be especially hard for new business owners and young entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka who are yet to forge healthy, lasting business relationships, which is where a business networking platform like BNI comes in.

Chapter members hold regular meetings in order to foster stronger business relationships with each other. At these meetings, each member is given a chance to describe their business and the services they offer to the others, and what kind of referrals they are looking for. When a member comes across a potential client looking for a service provided by one of the other members, they recommend the member to the individual and provide them with a referral slip at the next meeting for them to follow up on. This is how the business network uses word of mouth marketing for the mutual benefit of members. These meetings are also useful to culture professional networking skills, and will aid members in making long-term business relationships.

BNI has recently established chapters in Sri Lanka, and is currently looking for new members. This provides valuable networking opportunities for new entrepreneurs and established professionals alike; bringing together high level decision makers that can contribute towards each other’s success. The current roster of members includes recognized businessmen from the fields of Digital Marketing, Media, Hospitality, Textiles and Education, among others, and is looking to expand through the addition of new members. This is assured to facilitate the growth of the local business network by putting several professionals in regular contact with each other.

As its name suggests, BNI is an international network, and has over 150,000 registered members in several countries around the world. This network is accessible to all BNI members through BNI Connect, and is an invaluable resource for business owners looking to upscale their operations globally. I strongly recommend all business professionals, both new and established, from all fields to take advantage of this opportunity and join this growing network.

For more information on how to get involved and expand your network of referrals, contact me on 071 303 2422.

Wake-up the Entrepreneur Sleeping Inside You…

There are youngsters who have dreams of becoming their own masters and proving themselves as successful entrepreneurs. However most of them just keep quiet and take no steps forward towards their dreams due to several reasons. The main reasons are of course either the lack of financial recourses to start initiating their dream or the financial uncertainty at the initial stage of the business until it creates a momentum and starts earning profits.

However, if it becomes easier to start a business and take it towards success with no cost or with very low cost, I’m sure that our country would see many young entrepreneurs with massive talents and big dreams. Normally it is very difficult to get the momentum unless you have a big marketing budget and a strong strategy. That is why I am sharing some general tips and zero cost marketing tips to market your dream and create the necessary momentum to enter the safer zone of a sustainable bottom-line.

Some of the tips are from my own experiences. As a young entrepreneur with big dreams, I feel it’s my responsibility to share what I know and what I have experienced with my fellow entrepreneurs. Some of the tips are from my 2 years of entrepreneurship experience in the business of consultancy and some of the tips are from what I have learnt throughout my marketing profession.

Managing Funds

1-      The starting and running of a business should be supported by enough funds. But make sure that you do not enter into loans with high interest rates. If you are starter and if you have a good business plan I would recommend approaching public banks. They would probably consider your proposal. In contrast if you approach any private financial institutions you might have to answer many questions and finally you might not end up with a positive answer. In general private banks are good for established businesses rather than for start-up entrepreneurs.

2-      Managing the funds is again an important aspect to have a grip on your business finances. Whenever you spend an amount, it may be for an office purpose or sometimes it may be for a personal reason, no matter, just note it down. Always have a small pocket diary with you. Most of us tend to think “I don’t need any records / pocket diary, I can remember all my expenses”. But literally this is not the case, in a few days many small expenses vanish from our memories. Finally when we run short of money and start trying to find out what we spent on, we go crazy as we cannot remember. It is always good to maintain a record of expenses, even incomes too and at the end of month prepare a summary. Accordingly you will have an idea of the amount of funds available for you to make plans, give commitments etc. Also this helps to monitor your monetary progress.

3-      If you have various sources of income make sure to evaluate which are performing well, and what is not. Especially when you get loans and buy an asset for the business which is not productive even to earn the interest that is being paid for the capital tied up in that particular asset; simply it resembles a poor fund management. There are plenty of options available in the market but it the responsibility of the entrepreneur to evaluate them and choose the best which is apt for his / her financial situation / business nature / capabilities etc.

4- Below given are the “don’t” that I would suggest for starters. Generally entrepreneurs do the following mistakes at the very beginning of their businesses;

  • They tend to manage a large employee force. They try to show the success of their decision to start a business by the number of employees which will gradually eat up the liquidity of the business. Recruit people if necessary only. Another smart way of reducing the staff cost is getting freelancers to work for you. You have to pay them for the work done only which is very cost effective. In general the under graduates / school leavers etc would be the ideal freelancers. These people will be highly interested in learning new things and very energetic. Also payment wise you do not need to pay big amounts since they might not have enough work experience to demand more.
  • They tend to rent a large office space with expensive furniture and set-up very nice cubicles for themselves which are not essential at the very beginning of the business. Do not spend unnecessarily and instead spend it in income generating options. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t spend money on these things. What we spend on should make sense. For example if you are going to start a salon / beauty parlor it is a must to spend some money on furniture as that would definitely generate business. However, if you are going to start an online business where a physical office is not that important it is wiser to spend some money on SEO activities, Social media campaigns etc rather than spending money on renting out an expensive office space etc.
  • They always try to purchase more assets which reduce the liquidity of the business.

What I would like to emphasize is do not spend money unnecessarily on items which you want to show others to convey that you are successful in the business and that you have enough money. This would ultimately ruin the success of your business. Here I would like to share an interesting image which I came across in facebook recently.

Your success doesn’t depend in managing unwanted employees and assets, but in how you effectively manage your funds and saving it for future growth.


Marketing Your Business

Use simple marketing to boost your business. At the initial stage of your business you can use the below given tips to market your business / product.

1-    Always be in touch with your customers, do not forget them. Try to please them as much as possible. Gift them in a small manner. Talk nicely, get inside their shoes to really understand them and think of what they actually need from you. The word of mouth is an important promotional tool for any small business. Send greetings during special events, time to time come up with some sales promotions to reward your loyal customers. Coupon cards, loyalty programmes, theme selling, discounts, free gifts etc are a few examples for sales promotions. Always remember there are many competitors waiting outside to grab your customer so do not give a chance to your competitor.

2-    Occasionally try to have some competitions for your clients and others. It should be interesting and on the other hand it shouldn’t eat your money. For example if you are in a service related business the gift for the winner can be a few of your service hours free of charge. This type of promotion raises curiosity about your business, people will start to research about you which would create good brand awareness and helps you to stand out from the crowd.

3-    Use free emailer tools which are available online. These tools have message delivery rates, open tracking rate etc. This brings me at least a certain lead each time I send out newsletters. Keep building your email base and send out interesting newsletters.

4-    Regularly tweet and update your fanpage to get some improved search engine rankings. Having a strong online presence like social media interaction (facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube, foursquare etc), search engine friendly contents etc would benefit your business.

5-    Create a blog and update it regularly. I would suggest wordpress ( for blog writing for your business. It’s very user friendly, professional and attractive. Here are some examples to start writing your blogs; something interesting about your business, some general content which is relevant to your business, some of your customers’ feedback or their experience with you (ask them to share the experience and you can publish it as a blog), some local as well as economic and social facts affecting the business etc. This blog would gradually help to increase your search engine optimization. Especially google has its own personalization tactics. When your customers start interacting with you through mails, automatically you will understand google’s contribution for your SEO. I always get many leads through my blog. Just try typing the keywords like “Small business ideas in Sri Lanka” and “Business consultancy in Sri Lanka”, “business ideas in Sri Lanka” . See the search engine results.

6-    Use your business card as a promotional tool. Try maximum networking. Attend external events, talking points, seminars, workshops etc. Build your network. Tell them what you do but in a different way. Create your own brand awareness to your network. Leads automatically come. Make sure you are creating an interesting business card which grabs the attention of people. Recently I got a card from my friend which looks like below, really an interesting and innovative card (Courtesy – Shehan Kumar).

7-    First impressions matter a lot. If you are service provider make sure you are not dissatisfying the client. Always give a service which is above the excepted level. I have seen people who never answer the calls of their clients. If a task is given to you finish it on time. You should call the client instead don’t expect the client to call you. These are small things but matter a lot.

8-    Business is always about making money I agree, but if your client is in a struggle in terms of its monetary situation, help out. Try to give them cost effective solutions. You might waste your time, but treat it as an investment for your future growth. You never know who will become what. If the same client later becomes successful, if he / she remembers that he / she received a great service from you that would definitely help you to get better business, good contacts and strong word of mouth etc.

9-    Always try to get free publicity; it’s just a call away. Contact the media in Sri Lanka (newspapers in all three languages), build a rapport with them and request them to publish free PR article for you. The initial relationship I built with the media gives me certain exposure and publicity to my brand.

10-  Try to approach business magazine and write about current business trends. There are lots of magazines in Sri Lanka expecting these types of writers. Call them; give them your sample write ups. Continuously write for the magazines. This creates good brand awareness for your business.

11-  Do not make unnecessary promises to the client. But if you promise something try to make it happen.

12-  Make partnerships with other brands. If your business is not offering a part service which is offered by someone else create a partnership. If you give the lead you will get a lead back from them.

13-  Always do satisfaction surveys with your customers to judge your product or service level. They are the best people who give valuable advice. Filter those and implement the same.

14-  Plan the future from now onwards. Your future customers would be the current students. Do events or any other promotions to position your brand now itself.

15-  Get endorsements / testimonials from your existing customers. When I posted one of my client statements about my brand, I got one new referral who viewed the comment. Have a separate section for testimonials in your site. If it’s a product, get some experience testimonial from the users. Publish and distribute it everywhere.

  • Add it in the site
  • Use it in the marketing communication materials
  • Distribute it in the social media / tweet it.

16-  Make sure your brand is everywhere in all external materials.

  • Make sure your email signature carries your brand logo and other social media sites and your web URL. If you are writing to a potential client, this would help you to build credibility. The potential client might visit your site / social media channels and would get to know about you more. When I met one of my clients last week, he mentioned that they got to know more about our consultancy services through clicking the email signature links to our site and Facebook Fanpage.
  • If you give any proposals to your prospectors make sure your branding is in the paper (either as a header or footer) and in the file cover. This won’t cost you much.

17-  Always reply to the communication mails quickly. Set a standard time for reply. I have got several appreciations from my clients for a timely and quick reply. Use your phone as a marketing tool. Set up your email there.

18-  Differentiate your brand from others. As part of a portfolio my company does corporate trainings too. There are a lot of other companies in the same business. When I branded my training series with a character the response was superb ( Try to differentiate your brand in many ways; it could be via what is offered, marketing communication etc.

I hope you might have found some interesting / worthy tips from this post. Feel free to contact me if you need any further information.

Small Business Ideas for Sri Lankan

I’m an entrepreneur myself,  and willing to help anyone those who have the real spirit.

(Send me a Request to get ideas and advice)

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  1. 16 Products ideas to start a business in Sri Lanka– One
    (Ideas – LED Backlit car stickers, Handsfree Umbrella, Sunbath the comfortable way, Creative Bobbleheads, A folding Guitar, Branding Grills, No more embarrassing moments, Re-invented ice cream float,Costume makeover for your old fridge, Hygienic Play-pen, Educational Flash Cards, Inspiring messages in the gift products , Chopstick Baskets, Make your kids love medicine)
  2. 9 products and service ideas to start a small business in Sri Lanka – Two
    (Ideas – Toilet training for your kitty, Child seat-cum luggage, Pogo Sticks, Make those wild collars stay, Interchangeable Shoe, Sweeping made easy, Nasal screens, cooking alarm clock, Rental service for toys)
  3. 11 products ideas for Sri Lankan Market  – Three
  4. 10 ideas to kickstart your business – Four
  5. More to come

If you are really keen in starting up your own business, it may be even a very small venture with a very low level of investment,  send me an email to get free advices or make an appointment and meet me at my office.


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View some of the ideas and tactics posts

Life as an Entrepreneur 

Wake-up the Entrepreneur Sleeping inside you

Writing a simple marketing plan for your company

13 tips for small and medium enterprises to build their presence online

Starting your day