Discovering and developing your success quotient (SQ) is critical to developing a business that will have lasting success. You’ve got to set the rules so that you can win. You’ve got to know how to package your concepts, products, or services to take them from the drawing board to the board room, from concept to captive audience.

That’s exactly what I set out to do when I created and developed the Optima Design Awards, a national award recognizing extraordinary talent in the field of graphic art, not unlike an Emmy or Oscar award. I wanted to create an alternative source of income that would not be tied directly to the number of hours spent on a project, because despite the fact that I was working with clients that any graphic arts firm would envy (Bell Atlantic, Boehm Porcelain or MicroAge Computers)I realized that working smarter, not harder, would be the key to creating a lasting success. In short, I was looking for exponential growth. I wanted to diversify my income, to deviate from the traditional marketing and time management methods. WIthin three months of opening my business it became apparent that I would need to apply the same creativity into the way I thought about business as I did to conceptualize an entire company’s identity into a single icon (their logo).

Now in its third year the Optima Design Awards boasts the support and sponsorship of Macworld Magazine, SyQuest Technologies, PhotoDisc, UMAX, Monotype, and Fractal Design, and it was named the premier design competition of its kind by Success Magazine in 1995. It has enjoyed a marketing reach of over 700,000 and is paid for almost entirely by sponsorship dollars. What’s more it has crated the financial security it was designed to.

It is said that the happiest people on earth are those who do for a living that which they’d be doing anyway, even if they did not have to work. Creating a compelling future is why you are building a business in the first place. To do that you must continually reinvent who you are and what your business is becoming. Remember to keep it streamlined and simple (otherwise you could create the same limitations you are currently seeking to leave behind).

To run a successful business you must combine your talents, skills, and abilities along with a belief system and a support system that will create the results that you want. There are several ingredients that must consistently come into play. You must be able to know how to recognize hidden opportunities and resources. You must be able to find a unique selling factor that will put your product or service on the map and attract the clients you want. You must know how to manage your internal dialog, harness the power of absolute focus, and have extraordinary rapport and communication skills. All these elements are vitally important to your success. The reward is that you are your own boss, you call the shots, and only you can determine how high is high!

Vicki Flores is president of Optima Design, a full service graphic design studio and SuccessExpress, a peak performance and business training company. In addition to conducting her own programs, she also staffs programs for such motivational trainers as Anthony Robbins and Les Brown. For more information call 609-392-3703.

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