I was talking the other day with a business owner about their business and I mentioned how I help business owners through a mixture of Business Coaching, Training, Consulting, Education, Motivation and just a little bit of…
Inspiration (as a sounding board and ideas generator). They were a little bit shocked when I pretty much described their business growth so far to a tee and outlined the probable challenges they might be having and what’s likely to happen if they carry on as they are. The question then came back “That’s spooky, you’ve just described us to a tee! How?” My Reply? “Well, believe it or not, many people in business go through the same process when they start and grow their businesses. They sort of do it by trial and error and experience the same challenges as part of that process. Add to that working with hundreds of business owners, hands on, and you start to notice certain trends!”.
This then got me thinking to the similarities between the hundreds of different businesses that I’ve worked with to date and how this work as a business coach, consultant and trainer works within a business. Hence here’s an outline of the general signs to look out for in your own business – 7 essential questions you might like to ask yourself – to help you identify what you may need to do to improve your own business results. The lack of attention to any (or worst case all) of these areas will radically diminish your business performance:
In no particular order:
1) Doing a Job or Running a Business? The basic definition of a business being the creation of a profit generating machine that should, eventually, work without you needing to be there. The problem with most small businesses is that the business owner is completely the opposite. If they left their business for any amount of time, it would quickly start to fall apart. In effect you don’t really have a business – you still have a job. But it’s worse than that. It’s a job where if you take any time off, you don’t get paid. If you’re sick, you don’t get paid. If you ever want to sell the business then the valuation will be greatly reduced because YOU ARE the business. So one of your aims is to consider your exit strategy and plan how you will run your business with minimal input from you.
2) Working ‘on’ your business or ‘in’ your business? Following on neatly from this – and really your ticket to financial freedom is your ability to be working more ‘on’ your business than ‘in’ it. 80% of your time should be spent on sales and marketing and strategic business development. If you are finding that you just can’t get anywhere near this at the moment then it may be time to start reassessing your time and effort.
3) Working to your strengths or your weaknesses? One of the common things I hear is that many business owners find certain aspects of their business really quite boring (even though these areas may be essential elements that drive the success of the business). The importance here is to find out what you’re good at and work to those strengths. Then outsource the areas that you find challenging…
4) Learning to value your time? Probably one of the absolute keys to business success. We all have 24 hours in a day however sometimes we look on in admiration at the entrepreneurial business owner who just seems to get five times the amount of work done,. five times the results AND they seem to be pretty relaxed about it! So what do they do differently? They value their time highly and are extremely protective of who they’ll give that time to in a day. They focus on what needs to be done – without distractions.
5) Surrounding yourself with an expert team? This links in to 3). Develop your own strengths and then hire in your weaknesses in the form of a team of experts. The most amazing thing here is – you know that job you absolutely detest doing within your own business? Yes, there’s someone out there who will absolutely love to do the jobs you hate! This leaves you more time to do the things you love doing – that’s Leverage!
6) Measuring everything? I can’t understate the importance of this one. The more you know about all of the metrics in various areas of your business (financials, sales, marketing, team etc), then the more informed your business decisions will be. The problem with many business owners is that they make uninfomed business decisions. i.e. their decisions are based on assumptions (what they think is going on) versus fact – what is going on and how to interpret this effectively.
7) Systems, Systems, Systems? Systemising your business has so many advantages that it really is a ‘no brainer’ from a business owner’s perspectiive. They will add to the sale value of your business when you decide to sell (especially if you have a detailed operations manual in place). They will help you recruit and hire the best people, time after time. They will free up your time leaving you safe in the knowledge that the business will be working like a well oiled machine. They will inform you exactly how your various team members are performing. And much, much more.
So there we have it – seven essential disciplines that, when implemented, will make a massive difference to your business results. Not a moment to waste!
If you’d like to find out more on what this could mean for your business then:
To Your Continued Business Success,
Business Growth Specialist – Coach – International Speaker