Starting, growing, managing and leading a business is a tough gig. It's important we don't forget the lighter side of things, have a bit of fun so here's my 10 point accountability tool using the initial of my first name.
Partnerships – continue to build partnerships with people - you never know who could be or help create a new business opportunity.
Payment – if you're running a business, you're not guaranteed a paycheque each Friday. You need paying customers so respect and understand your own time management, systems, processes, profit margins and the value you offer.
Persistence – ain't that the truth. The key to persistence is being able to celebrate wins and enjoy the moment.
People – surround yourself with good people who believe in the business, the vision and prepared to go outside their comfort zone for themselves, the business and the team.
Plan – long and short term. Make Monday the day you plan for what you want to achieve the following week and see how many meeting you have scheduled. If the calendar is bare then you can’t expect to achieve any plans.
Play – play around with ideas and sales pitches for selling. It's not an exact science and yes you're a salesperson, we all are. Put an imaginary hat on and just play the role. Who wouldn't want to be an actor in a Hollywood blockbuster?
Poor me – you’ve only got a couple of minutes because people will stop listening. Keep the glass half full.
Process – what processes do you have in your business to ensure your customers have the best possible experience?
Procrastinate – Recently, I was working with a group of 10 self-employed people and they were asked to write down the one thing they would like to stop doing for their business to move forward. Everyone, 100% had written “stop procrastinating” What’s the Nike slogan?
Proud – be proud of what you do. I meet a guy a couple of weeks ago who just started his own I.T business. When I asked him what the business was he looked down at the ground and mumbled IT Services. If you aren’t proud and if you haven't got that imaginary hat on then why would people pay for your services or products?
There's mine, I’d love to hear yours. If your first name starts with a P, then feel free to put the hat on.
Keeping in line with the first initial theme, I think a successful business is built on the following foundations - sight, scope, shape, spend and sow.
Sight – without understanding your vision how can anyone expect to maintain their motivation which leads me to Scope.
Scope – without a true purpose around your vision most people cannot work hard without being rewarded because their purpose is not enough of a motivator - it’s that simple.
Shape – a business needs to be able to adapt to be able to take alternating steps that will propel them forward to their vision. It doesn’t matter if you take a different route as long as you end up at the right destination.
Spend – if you offer $100 worth of value you will only gain $100 worth of income, short-sightedness limits your cashflow. You may have real value to give but how do your prospective clients know that and how can they get to know your value when they have to commit to buy from you first? If you look at the majority of billionaires they started with a purpose backed by a free platform that provided exceptional value.
Sow – what you sow today you reap tomorrow. The more seeds you plant and the more time and effort you put in, the more opportunities you will have.
By investing in your vision and a true purpose, your value will increase along with your return on investment.
As Paul has taken the P's from me, I thought I'd share the keys we use to build a successful business:
Create and Dream, Inspire and be inspired... But always trust your instinct -
Often we get too close to the coal face and can't see the wood for the trees.
Step away, out of you physical and business zone, then take a look from a different perspective... Life grinds on around the world daily and there are lessons to be learned and solutions to be found in the most obscure places. Get out there and live, the more you see the more you learn, the more you do, the more you can do.
In my experience the entrepreneurs who reap the highest rewards are those who actively manage their dream / goal attainment process. You have to visualise the future or business direction you desire and then affirm it until it becomes your reality.
Contacts / Contracts / Confidants -
An effective and trustworthy accountant and a clever lawyer should be the foundation of every business.
A trusted circle of confidants, accumulated over time and industries can only enhance your knowledge pool and bring a variety of equally valid ideas and solutions to challenges you may share with them. Remember, history repeats itself. So, astute mentors with more life experience than you, as well as young fresh visionaries are key. Whatever issue or challenge you have, someone else has either been there before you or will follow.
The mantra "the more you give the more you receive" is true, so be generous with your knowledge, in my experience it has come back ten fold.
Cash Flow / Costs -
Keep the cash flowing and contain the costs. Once the costs are contained, contain them again and then halve them... Cash flow is paramount for any business, any size to survive.
My biggest value cost is my time, which most people negate. Your time is valuable and you should account for it accordingly. Analyse, prioritise and allocate. The most successful people I have worked with never book 1 hour meetings, most issues can be resolved in a 15minute window, and some highly effective operators can work to even tighter time parameters.
Know when and where to compromise.
Do not compromise on core strategy, but do compromise on everything else to move forward.
Progress is the imperative, progress at optimum velocity is quintessential in this day and age to survive, so you will have to compromise to progress.
"Imitation is the highest form of flattery" (so said Coco Chanel). So if you have a great business idea, prepare to be imitated. You have to be two of the following three things...
Be the first, be the best or be the cheapest... Pick two and work steadfastly towards your goal.
Be mindful of what the competition is up to but don't waste time and energy on anything you have no control over.
Control / Delegate -
Control the business and control the delegation of tasks and roles to those who are best suited to execute. You can not do everything if the business is to grow in an optimal fashion.
By delegating to the the best possible executrix, you entrust their judgement and know-how.
Never give up control until you sell. The vision and goals of the business can easily be derailed if there are too many shareholders with differing vested / auxiliary interests.
Care for yourself, your family and your colleagues, physically, mentally as well as spiritually.
Lead by example and keep focused on the bigger picture.
Avoid letting setbacks, which at a later date will be forgotten, get under your skin in the present and distract you from your end goal.
Don't exist in the unknown future or get bogged down in the past, live in the present... and make each and every day count. Tempus Fugit....
All the best