There are no shortcuts in business. In order to be successful there are some things that you must know. These are not all of them by a long shot, but in my humble opinion, they are six of the most important:
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1. Know how to sell.
Selling means being able to convey why your product or service, which may be you if you are looking for a job, will make things better. Selling is never about convincing. It is always about helping.
2. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer.
If you know how to put the person you are dealing with in a position to succeed, you can be successful. In order to do this, you must be able to quickly understand the needs and demands of that person and those of the company(s) they work for or with. Every person and industry is different. This is something that comes from investing incredible amounts of time to understand different industries , businesses, roles, and what has made them work and not work.
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It is a never-ending process of learning about what companies need. What people in those companies need and how they work. If you don’t understand what it takes to make the people and companies you work with better, you don’t understand how to be successful.
3. Know as much as you can about technology.
The beautiful thing about technology is that it changes every day. Look at any tech you can see today or have ever seen. Any tech you have read about. It was invented by someone. They know the product better than everyone. On the day that it is released, you are as knowledgeable about that technology as anyone else in the world. From there its just about effort to keep learning.
If you are one of the few people that know the new technologies, you are in a unique position to put yourself in the shoes of your customer(s) and determine if the new technology can be of benefit. New technologies enable change and where there is change there is opportunity. Its up to you to figure out what that opportunity is.
4. Always ask how you would design a solution if no current solution existed.
Know this: 99.99 percent of the things we do in business are being done the way they have always been done. No one has re-imagined how things should be done. That is what successful people do. Every situation they are in they take their knowledge of the business or situation they are visiting, whether its buying a deck of playing cards, eating at a restaurant or trying to solve a problem and think about how to re invent it. They don't ask people what they would want. They envision a complete reapplication. Then they decide what to do with what they just recreated.
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5. Is it the path of least resistance to something better?
Lots of people come up with ways of doing things that they think are great/amazing. What they fail to ask is whether it will make anyone else’s life better or easier. The simple test of any imagineering of a process or situation is simple. Is this the path of resistance to a better place for the user? Yes or No.
6. Be nice.
People hate dealing with people who are jerks. It’s always easier to be nice than to be a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.
This post originally appeared at Entrepreneur. Copyright 2014.