|I love the scene in the
movie City Slickers where Billy Crystal's character, Mitch, is alone
with Curly, played by Jack Palance. Curly is giving Mitch some life
Curly: Do you know what the secret of
[holds up one finger] This.
Mitch: Your finger?
Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest
don't mean s***.
Mitch: But, what is the "one thing?"
Curly: That's what you have to find out.
What's your business' one thing?
Here's an exercise for you to do. Ask
yourself this question:
What is the one thing that, if
done well, would propel my business to the next level of success?
Get out a sheet of paper and brainstorm
on this. Write down all the ideas that come to you.
Chances are, you have several great
ideas for increasing sales, reducing costs, gaining efficiency, and
improving profits, but all have been relegated to the "back
burner" due to time constraints. You've been too busy to succeed.
At this first stage of this project,
don't try to "drill down" and include a lot of detail. Just
come up with broad overview ideas. The detail comes later.
In a single brainstorming session, you
can probably think of at least 5 or 10 things for your list - maybe many
more. That's OK. When you think you're done, put the list where you can get
to it easily. If you move around during your work day, carry it with
During the next week, give this
question some additional thought. If you have employees, ask them for
their input. Every time an additional idea comes to you, get out your
list and add it.
At the end of a week, sit down with
your list and start narrowing. By now, you've given it enough thought so
that some ideas will be removed immediately, and others may rise to the
top. Remember - you're looking for that one thing to propel your
business, so don't fall in love with them all and try to do too much.
Once you identify your "one
thing", get specific and define success - set some targets and a
timeframe. Now go do it. Rearrange your schedule. Make the extra effort.
Get your employees on board. Ask those around you to hold your feet to
the fire. Every week, put it on your calendar or to-do list, and make
steady, relentless progress. Monitor the results. I predict you'll like
A focused, disciplined approach is the
key to success in any business. Don't let yourself become too busy to
© Bill Collier 2007 All Rights
Bill Collier is a St. Louis-based
business coach, consultant and speaker. He is the author of the book
"How to Succeed as a Small Business Owner … and Still Have a
Life." His website is www.collierbiz.com, and his email is firstname.lastname@example.org