What inspires big business leaders and entrepreneurs? How do the best leaders at the top, the Donald Trumps of the business world get their drive and motivation? The beginning of a new year is a great time to get your inspiration on and grow your business. How do you do it and not lose sight of what you started along the way? These 4 tried and true tips are the ultimate to keep in mind that successful entrepreneurs everywhere use to get to the top!

1. Set Football Field Goals

Picture a football field. The goal is to run the ball to into the end zone and score, right? Along the way you hit different field markers, 5 yards, 10 yards, 15 yards and so on. You can’t get to the end without passing these markers. The same rings true with goals. What about a Hail Mary you ask? The receiver must run past and the ball must fly over each yard before they reach their destination.

There really are no short cuts when creating goals. Consider making smaller goals, or check points, you can reach on the way to your bigger goal. Many successful entrepreneurs do the same. Take sales, for example. If Apple hopes to do 2 billion more dollars in sales in 2012 than in 2011, you can be sure sales numbers will be monitored by quarter. Create a sub plan for your large business plan so that you can monitor your success. This way, if things aren’t working, you can fix it quickly and stay on track to achieving your bigger goals.

2. Think Outside the Box

Sometimes doing what you love isn’t enough to be successful. Consider taking your business to the next level. Think about ice cream makers, Ben and Jerry. According to businesspundit.com, the now-legendary duo decided to open a business after taking a correspondence course on the art of ice cream making. They discovered that just about the only college town without an ice cream shop was Burlington, Vermont. With $8,000 in savings and a $4,000 loan, they leased an old gas station in Burlington, purchased equipment, and began coming up with ideas for “unique” flavors. Twenty years later, the company was taking in $237 million in annual revenue.

What is unique about your business? What information, software, or recipes do you have that could make your business even better? Take a step back and try to look at your business from a different angle. Consider asking friends or customers for ideas or feedback. Business introspection combined with thinking outside the box will help you join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs.

3. Become an Athlete-Visionary

It might sound corny, but we believe that actually picturing success can work. Sometimes we have to step away from business in order to help our business. Many successful business owners attribute mind and body focus to their success. Our own CEO, Deborah Sweeney, is a spinning queen. She believes in a healthy lifestyle which therefore transfers over into a healthy business attitude. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, therefore giving you a clear and focused head with which to make good business decisions. Focus on your goals, visualize success and make sure your body is in line with these thoughts and goals so that you can truly achieve success!

4. Listen, Don’t Hear

We are sure you know the difference between listening and hearing. Regardless of how long your business has been around or what type of business you have, there are businesses that have been around longer and that are far more established. When you turn on the morning news and hear information about Microsoft, Kraft, or even a successful mom and pop deli in New York, listen! You never know what tips you may pick up. Keeping your ear to the ground is crucial in terms of both staying current and continuing to be successful. Remember when your parents used to tell you to listen to your elders? The same lesson applies in business!

Creating a healthy and profitable business is no easy task. Take these tips to heart when it comes to taking your business to the top!