Small Business, Big Ambition

Ambition is subjective. Depending on our goals, each of our ideas of success differs. Being a small business owner is ambitious in and of itself.

Yet, ambition is an essential part of driving success to your business. As American business magnate John D. Rockefeller says, “The man who starts out simply with the idea of getting rich won’t succeed, you must have a larger ambition.”

Ambition in Action

So what does ambition as a small business owner look like?

While ambition may be subjective, several characteristics are common across all ambitious people. They are intentional, set goals, take risks, surround themselves with other ambitious people, and bounce back from failure.

Ambition and success go hand in hand. Ambition drives you towards your success. So how can you become an ambitious person and garner success? We’ve laid out eight steps to take you from your ideal success to accomplishing your goals.

8 Steps Toward Success

Visualize YOUR Success
What does success look like for you? Success is not one size fits all. As mentioned previously, everyone’s view of success is different. Figure out what it is that you want to accomplish and begin there. What is your ultimate goal?

Define Your Goals
Make your big goal more manageable by working backward. Break them up into smaller tasks to where you can create a detailed plan to accomplish them. Once you have identified the smaller tasks, write them in a planner to help you keep track of them. You can also use the planner to help you delegate smaller tasks to your team members.

Create a Plan
When we plan and schedule our tasks into a planner, we are more likely to get them done. Create a roadmap of your journey from accomplishing all your smaller goals leading up to your ultimate goal. Include deadlines and specific courses of action to keep you on track.

Assess Progress
A crucial part of following through with your plan and achieving your goals is tracking your progress. By doing so, you can see how far you’ve come, how far you have to go, and what you need to do to reach your next milestone. Implement weekly, monthly, and quarterly assessments of your progress to keep you aware and accountable of your progression.

Commemorate Accomplishments
Achieving your goals, even the small ones, deserves a celebration! It’s important to recognize your accomplishments throughout your journey to keep you motivated. Take the time to celebrate your achievements, acknowledge how far you’ve come, and be ready to hit the ground running the next day.

Make Room for Mistakes
When we set out to do something, we intend on achieving it when we said we would. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen the way we planned. It’s essential not to let the fear of failure hold you back. Whatever halted your advancement, learn from it. Figure out how you can improve, and you may be surprised to find a better avenue for achieving your goals.

Consult with Experts
As a small business owner, this process can be overwhelming and challenging. Seek out a support system that can help keep you motivated and on the right track. Network with experts in your industry and get their expert advice on how you can make your business succeed. They’re the most fit and experienced to provide tips and advice on how to weather through any storm.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Don’t lose sight of what’s important to you. Even throughout all the different accomplishments and setbacks, remember what your ultimate goal is. Take a step back and look at the big picture and envision YOUR success.

Reclaim Your Ambition

When you began your journey as a small business owner, you were filled with excitement and ambition. Perhaps, somewhere along the way, your desire to achieve your goals dwindled. Nevertheless, that feeling is still inside of you, and it’s time to reclaim that ambition!

What is your Why?

  • Start at square one. Write down WHY you started your business. What drives you to accomplish your goals and succeed?

Who do you surround yourself with?

  • Reevaluate your association. Are you surrounding yourself with people who are positive and supportive? If not, fill your circle with like-minded people and supporters.

Do you have habits in place?

  • Create habits that will keep you on track and get you closer to your goals. A well-implemented habit can make ambition second nature. 

Are you encouraging mindset growth?

  • Change and grow your mindset. Without the willingness to grow internally, results will stay constant. Change your mindset and change your results. 

Success is not Linear

As much as we all want to be perfect, it’s unrealistic. Success is not linear, and neither is ambition. It’s okay to steer off your path a bit. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as possible and regain your momentum. Focus your efforts on continuing to achieve your goals and making every activity count.

Remember: Nothing is impossible. Impossible just means that you haven’t found the way yet.

The Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network strives to provide solutions and opportunities for all small business owners to become successful and realize their ambitions. We provide the tools small business owners need to succeed – whatever they define success as.

Where do you hope your ambition will take you? Let us know on social media! Use the hashtag #SBDCAmbition and tag us @ociesbdc on all platforms.

Want to begin the process of realizing your ambition and success? Make an appointment with one of our business consultants today!


Looking to start or grow your business?

We at the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC, are here to help you with every aspect of your business to help it grow and become successful.
Give us a call at 1-800-616-7232 or schedule a quick, 15-minute intake appointment at to see how we can help you start, grow, and succeed.

Small Business, Big Ambition

Mike Daniel is the network director of the Orange County Inland Empire SBDC Network, which assists aspiring entrepreneurs and current business owners throughout Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Mike was formerly the director of the SBDC office at Long Beach City College. As business owner and entrepreneur himself, he started his career as the owner of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory location in Manhattan Beach and went on to open a second location in Long Beach in 2001. In 2007, Mike sold the Manhattan Beach store for an above-market offer then invested in several additional locations as a minority shareholder. Mike further expanded his candy empire with venture located in Shoreline Village in Long Beach called Sugar Daddies Sweet Shoppe, based on fill-it yourself candy options.

Mike has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from California State University, Fullerton.