11 Tips for a Successful Business (Pt. 2)
Not what you are expecting to hear
Continuing from my last blog which took a deep dive into successful businesses and what have been the game-changers for me, this week I reveal my final 6 Tips on the things that had the biggest impact on me and continue to help me to manage and grow my business.
Believe me, every single day I am confronted with new problems, different challenges, and exciting opportunities, and every day I have to weigh up the priorities and guide my team as to how to make the best decisions for their role and the value it brings to the rest of the business, OR NOT, and most importantly, does it improve and elevate service and quality for our clients. This is WHY you have to be clear about your WHY and what you are in business to achieve, and if it is not to rock the socks off your clients then you really have to consider whether you should be in business at all because if your clients aren’t ROCKED your business has an expiry date or you are going to chuck the towel in.
So let’s just recap. Last blog the Top 5 Tips I focused on were:
Tip # 1: Knowing WHY you are in Business
Tip #2: Build a GREAT TEAM – surround sssssss yourself with GREAT people
Tip #3: Singing Your Own Praises
Tip #4: Without Systems & Processes You sssssss Are Trapped
Tip #5: Leave Friendship at the Door
If you want to go back and read that blog, click on this link.
Now for Part 2
Tip #6: Fear Not and Fail Fast
OMG can I tell you this Tip has to be one of THE most important lessons I learnt and if I had to rank it I would actually rank it #2 after Start with Why…WHY??? Because if you come from a base of FEAR and apply it in business – FORGET IT! You are Done. You may as well pack up your marbles and go home. Don’t even start. As I mentioned earlier, every single day you are confronted with issues and that could be frightening for some, but you have to be able to manage and deal with those issues to be able to move forward.
Fear of Failure is a common feeling many people have but it also can be crippling and it causes many, many, many people NOT to pursue dreams and passions because they just could not cope with failing.
One of the best quotes I have ever read is; “Winners are not those who never fail but those who never QUIT!” No truer words were ever spoken and if you think about it and the people we admire most in the world today and from history, it is not those that got it right off the bat, but the ones that never gave up.
In business, Fear can DESTROY you or DRIVE you. When I say DRIVE I mean push you, guide you away from what you don’t want so you can get closer to what you DO WANT. I have failed a thousand times, if not more, along this path they call life, whether in business, my personal life, experiences, you name it. And I gladly call it out as “Failing” or for those who know me quite well I do love to get a bit down and dirty with my words because I feel it connects me with my truth more intimately (hahaha) so I prefer to say I “F#*%$..D UP”!
But this is the trick…and I can’t claim this as mine, but a speaker I went and listened to once said: “We are all going to fail. The trick is to fail fast and do it over and over and over again quickly” because every time you fail, if you are in the right mindset, you are forced to make another decision, and another and another until you solve the problem or ease it – or NOT. Some problems are not solvable, but you won’t know that if you don’t try many options and the quicker you identify what is NOT working, the faster you will be at discovering what WILL work.
So Tip #6 – Fear Not and Fail Fast.
Tip #7: Make Decisions Quickly
This flows directly on from the previous tip and is kind of an extension but I felt it deserved its own delineation.
So you know how I just mentioned, you need to make decisions quickly to find the solution faster? Well let me explore this with you. Most people reading this blog are small to medium business owners, would-be business owners, managers thinking of leaving their job to start their own business, stayat-home mums who are going crazy thinking “am I going to wipe my kid’s bottoms and runny noses for the rest of my life, HELP”. So we are talking about people who have an emotional attachment to starting a business, so for you guys, like me, you always want to make the RIGHT decision but you really don’t know what you don’t know and you do the best you can.
I hear you and I AM YOU! But I learned something, I gotta say, the lesson didn’t really sink in until I had it beaten into me over and over again, but I’ve got it now and I live by it.
That is, that especially for SMEs time is money and every day you DON’T make a decision or you don’t change something that is not working, is MONEY. LOSS of MONEY, and if you let it go on too long or let well intentioned staff who are not watching your bank balance drop daily, convince you that “it will get better” “we just need more time” – well I can 100% guarantee you, you will be out of business REAL quick.
You need to know your numbers:
1. How much revenue do you need to generate to breakeven? 2. What does that break down to annually, quarterly, monthly, weekly? 3. What is costing you money? 4. Are your costs going up or down? Why? 5. Are you or your team meeting your sales targets? 6. If not when will you/they? 7. Can you afford to wait that long? 8. Are their real signs they will hit this target when they say they will or is it hopeful?
If it is hopeful and you have given them ample time to shift and there is only minimal sign of improvement, pull the plug, make the call, MAKE THE DECISION QUICKLY or you will be closing-up shop quickly.
Decisions are part of life, part of existence, part of living and feeling alive. In business they are what keep you in business or make you another statistic. So whether it is a decision related to sales, operations, or any other part of your business, if things aren’t working out, and deep down inside you really do know you have given people enough time – then don’t delay any longer.
So Tip #7 – Make Decisions Quickly
Tip #8: No Guts No Glory
This is so simple and so true. To be a business owner you have to have GUTS. Being a business owner is about being a LEADER. It is about forging ahead against all odds sometimes because you believe in YOU and in your dream.
As the inspirational Anthony Robbins teaches in his empowering Business Mastery seminars, (my business would not be where it is today if I hadn’t listened, learned and adopted most of the stuff I learned at Business Mastery I and II), – “You have to be a GLADIATOR to be a business owner. There is no place for pussies.”
Equally, because of the sacrifices and the tremendous risks that entrepreneurs have to endure and shoulder, so they deserve the rewards and spoils and in truck loads. Business owners are not necessarily all entrepreneurs but they might have similar traits and elements of entrepreneurship. Why I say that is entrepreneurs are willing to take massive risk and put it all on the line for their beliefs, some do it without careful consideration, others do it cautiously, or have learned to do it cautiously but all do take risks. It is just entrepreneurs are able to rebound from failure quickly and regroup and start again.
Great examples are John Symonds, Anthony Robbins, Donald Trump – all of whom lost everything from being multi-millionaires or billionaires and pushed and prodded for another chance and got it and next time around, they learned from the errors of the past, made a few changes and smashed it. Look where they all are now? Ok, let’s not look too deeply into Donald Trump, but seriously, the man applied the same principles he uses in business to winning the Presidency of the USA. Kudos to him.
So Tip #8 – No Guts no Glory
Tip #9: Values that are Aligned
Ok so this one is REALLY important. What I mean by values are the beliefs that you live by. They are your deal breakers. They are what your expectations are from yourself and your team. At GDR we have 4 values:
1. Step Up – Own it! Take Responsibility. Every employee in a business is responsible for their own duties. We have all been employed to undertake certain tasks that allow the business to operate effectively.
2. Collaboration – We are a team first and foremost, and as a member of a team we work together as a unit to achieve the best outcome for our clients and the business.
3. Family – We operate based on the premise that we are connected, not only to each other but to our clients, suppliers, and the wider community. So we take decisions that are focused on the long term not a short term gain.
4. Authenticity – Always be honest, always be REAL and always put yourself in the place of the other person before you make any decisions. This keeps you grounded and allows TRUST to develop not only with your clients but with your team mates.
Why are values important. Because if you are working with this set of beliefs and other people aren’t, you are going to always be in conflict and it makes for a dysfunctional work place and it kills the culture.
When we are recruiting new team members, I am the one that sits down with the potential candidate/s at final interview stage and has the Values conversation with them. They need to hear it from the owner/the leader because if you can’t deliver your values with conviction then no one will abide by them. Also, you have to be 100% convinced that they have heard it from you and it is your vision and interpretation of the values not anyone else’s.
So Tip #9 – Values that are Aligned
Tip #10: Equality for All
It is natural to have favourites or some people you get on better with than others and that is ok but you CAN’T apply one set of rules for some people and another for others. This does not work in business, in families, at school, in any work environment, nor does it work in life.
Equality is a basic human need. It is rooted in our identity and our sense of justice. When you don’t treat people equally, you are discriminating and it is tantamount to racism. So be careful around this issue as it could cause division, disharmony, loss of trust and loss of respect.
Being a business owner, you stand as a model that people need to look up to. There are some horrible bosses out there as the Adam Sandler film revealed to us. You don’t have to be one of those bosses. The Devil Wears Prada is NOT an example of good bosses.
Don’t emulate that which you do not respect or aspire to and if you do respect and aspire to examples such as these then the road ahead for you will be a constant challenge and you will live a life of looking over your shoulder because you never know when someone is going to stab you in the back.
So Tip #10 – Equality for All
Tip #11: Keep Your Eye on Your Money
Last tip…Money, Money, Money…well without it pretty much you don’t have a business. For all you Start-ups getting Angel and Venture Capital money to support your grand ideas, I say, honour the dollar. Don’t be religious about it but do respect it and place a value on it.
Someone worked hard and endured sacrifices to be able to provide it to you…you might say it is coming from people of great wealth or organisations but I say, don’t focus on WHO is giving it to you, your focus should be on receiving the gift that is allowing you to fulfil your passion. If you spend your money wisely and appropriately, others will want to spend and invest with you. If you are accountable and honourable, you will find people in droves who will get behind you.
Now specifically about money and SMEs, my big tip, as your business grows you will need people or have people in your business or external to it who are managing your accounts and finances.
Trust them within reason. You have to trust them and I have wonderful people helping me but YOU STILL HAVE TO CHECK – if not weekly, at least monthly. Don’t wait till the end of the quarter or only at the end of the year because it could be game over by then.
As my business was growing there have been times where I have been in and out of the numbers. Times when I probably placed too much trust in others to do the right thing, and I have no doubt, they did try to do the best thing, but no one asks the same questions as you because it is NOT THEIR MONEY.
Stay across the numbers and don’t worry if you have no idea what it means. Don’t be scared, shy or embarrassed. You are paying them to do a job for you. They MUST be able to explain everything and why they are doing what they are doing. If they can’t then you have another problem to worry about. But that is ok. Better to know than not to know. You can either get them trained or get someone better.
Ignorance is no excuse. Abdication of your responsibility is negligent. Step Up, Collaborate, be Authentic and the Family will survive and thrive.
So Tip # 11 – Keep Your Eyes On Your Money
That’s it from me for another blog. Hope this was interesting and helpful. I’ll be back in two weeks with another instalment of the Keeping it Real Blog. In the meantime, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or requests.
From my heart to yours,