Business Truism #1: Your
business exists to serve you; not the other way around.
call this the "Purpose" for being a business owner.
you're not in business for the sake of being in business. You're in
business to enhance your life and the lives of your family members. Your
business is simply a tool - a means - for achieving that end.
concept is easy to understand but even easier to violate. I meet
small business owners all the time who say things like, "Someday
I'll be able to start a retirement fund, after the business is doing
better." Or, "I hope to someday get my personal income back
where it was when I worked for someone else."
first year or so after starting up, working long hours and taking a pay
cut are to be expected. But, there's a big difference between getting
stuck in cycle of struggling endlessly to get your business up to speed
and making continuous, noticeable progress through the (hopefully short)
you are stuck on dead center and can't get over the hump into the land
of profitability, first make sure you're cut out for the role of
business owner. Are you passionate about being an entrepreneur? Assuming
you are, next check your attitude toward Small Business Truth #1.
for a short time before pushing through to prosperity is noble and
heroic. Struggling for a lifetime is senseless. If your company is stuck
in an endless cycle of too little cash and not enough hours in your day,
you can almost certainly find the solution in Small
Business Truisms 2 & 3 - if
you have the discipline to apply them.
Take a hard look at any gap that may exist between your current
circumstances and where you'd like to be. This includes income, net
worth, time off work, or any other way you'd like to measure success.
Do you realistically believe you can close that gap within an acceptable
period of time? If not, what is needed to get you there? Be
brutally honest with yourself. Resolve to muster up the discipline and
do the hard work needed to make significant progress toward closing this
gap in the next year.
Business Truism #2: If
you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there.
is the "Preparation & Planning" piece of business
in a nutshell, is the process I recommend:
personal goals. What do you want out of your business, now and
in the future?
a long-range vision for the business, consistent with your
3 year business vision, along with specific 3 year goals,
consistent with the long-range vision.
a brief (1-2 pages max) 1 year business plan, consistent with
your 3 year vision and goals.
annual business plan is your company's guiding document. It literally
guides your quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily activities. It includes
the specific strategies you'll use to reach your goals, and lays out
clear accountabilities - who will do what by when. Accompanying your
annual plan is a marketing plan - also 1-2 pages max.
you imagine a house being built without a plan to guide the workers'
activities? The very idea is absurd. So, why operate a business that
most Americans, their home is their biggest asset. For most of us small
business owners, though, our company makes up the majority of our net
worth. Each of us depends on our business for our present
income, our future retirement, and our family's general well-being.
Yet, many small business owners drift aimlessly - letting each day's
emergencies pull them in various directions.
difference between success and failure - even between success and
mediocrity - starts here. The old saying says it best: "Plan your
work, and work your plan."
Consider taking a "Planning Retreat" in the fall of the year -
at the very least, a half day, although a full day or more would be
better. If you're married, take your spouse and talk about the personal
goals you both have. Then, think through your business vision, goals and
begin formulating a plan for next year.
Business Truism #3: If
you put in long hours, have trouble getting away from work for more than
a day or two at a time, and don't make any more money than you did when
you worked for someone else, you haven't created a business. You've
created a job.
is the "Execution" piece of business ownership.
after all the goal-setting and planning, action
is the thing that pushes you across the goal line.
my book, I identify 11 key areas in which small businesses must execute
in order to achieve outstanding results. They include hiring, retention,
delegation, use of key performance indicators, and 7 more. I offer a
free self-assessment tool - more on that below.
Gerber coined the phrase, "Work on
your business, not just in your
business", in his classic business book, The
E-Myth. (You have read it, haven't
you?) Much of the stuff you'll find in my 11 key areas of execution
requires you to do exactly that.
it's hard work. Yes, it's tough to find the time to get all your other
work done and also do all this "business-building" stuff. But
the results 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years from now will be astonishing
... and well worth the effort.
Set aside a specific day and time each week for working on
your business - even if it's only 30 minutes at a time. This may
include planning, reviewing results, improving systems, coaching your
employees ... whatever proactive activities will get and keep your
business on the road to success.
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 email@example.com
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