1. Stop hiring
First stop hiring yourself by continually working
"in" your business. Don't be an employee of
your company, reserve the choice to be the president of
your company. Secondly, stop hiring yourself through your
employees. Business owners tend to hire people like
themselves instead of people that have the strengths they
require for that position. You tend to forgive their
weakness in that area because you also have the weakness.
Here is a formula to use in delegating to the right
people, when you don't have to manage, monitor or
motivate your employees you are truly delegating. For
example one of my clients had to fire his manager. His
manager was in charge of the computer operations. He
decided to promote someone from within the company to
take his place. He hired a computer consultant to train
the new employee. The problem with this is the person he
was training lacked knowledge about computers. This was a
very expensive way to replace his original manager. He
realized he had hired himself. He also lacks knowledge of
computers and had too much empathy for his new manager.
He remembered when he was younger and wanted to give his
new manager a chance to advance. That empathy was costing
him in time, money, productivity and the computer
consultants hefty bills. I suggested he hire someone with
computer experience and stop the suffering. He agreed and
within two week his business was back on track. He was
too close to the situation to see this clearly.
2. Learn from your past
Just like a kid has to fall a couple of times when
learning to ride a bike, so do entrepreneurs fail as they
learn how to be successful. Learn from the past and set
up systems and structures so that whatever occurred can
never happen again. Solve problems for a lifetime not
just a quick fix. Don't run your business like a fireman,
run your business like an architect. Build a sustainable
future instead of putting out daily fires.
3. Set Yourself and Your Company Up For Maximum
Give everyone the computers and other tools they
need to process information immediately. Automate the
reporting of, access to, and flow of information so no
human help is required. Develop a culture where any
blocks to productivity are removed by your staff instead
of you. Focus everyone on profits and growth. Grow your
people as much as your company is growing. If you company
is growing 50% annually, then your staff needs to grow at
least that much. Hire people based more on attitude and
behavior versus experience. Create a culture of hiring
within based exclusively on performance not tenure. Get a
Web Site. The web is growing in leaps and bounds. The
expense of operating a business today can get in the way
of offering your future customers efficient products and
services. Your future customer's will not want to pay for
your overhead. The web offers you the potential to market
your business to millions of people all over the world.
Have a profitability and financial plan. Also a budget
and a measurement process to keep track of how you are
doing monthly. If you don't know where you stand
financially and have no short term and long term
financial goals, then you are just letting fate dictate
your success and we know those odds aren't too good.
Control your own destiny!
4. Develop Relationships
The success of your business is in direct
relation to the quality of the relationships in your
life. Define the key people that can help you grow your
business and commit to spend time to develop your
relationship with them. Spend one day a week with your
best customers listening, collaborating, suggesting,
understanding. Have a relationship between you and your
customers; not just a selling relationship. What you will
be offering or selling to customers in five years may
change in form or substance to what you're offering now.
Learn from your clients instead of just selling to them.
Clients really appreciate sharing their views and needs
with companies will listen. Let the customer create the
questions on a survey instead of just giving their
answers. A coach can help you to develop a system of
learning from their customers and develop relationships.
5. Maintain a Healthy Balance
Your free time is the largest ingredient in
recharging your batteries to think more clearly and
create solutions for a solid future. Maintain a balance
between work, play and family. This is critical for long
term success. We all put in crazy hours on a short term
basis to get a hot project done or the product out the
door, but if you do this on a long term, regular basis it
is a dangerous sign that you are losing perspective. You
need to be able to step away on a regular basis and get
your batteries recharged. Have time for your family
because if they suffer it is almost a sure bet your
business will suffer too. Plan your free time for the
next three months. This is usually the first thing that
people eliminate. After you schedule your free time in
your planner, get out your scissors and cut the time out
of your planner to resist the temptation of erasing,
crossing out or whiting out your scheduled free time.
6. Be A Role Model Of Excellence And Encourage The Same
In Your Employees.
Entrepreneurs want to grow their business. In order for
your business to grow, you must grow personally. Your
efforts are best spent developing you. If you don't give
your all or let an inferior produced product go out the
door to a client, you are sending a message to your
employees that you do not respect your clients or your
work. Your employees will adopt that view as well. Set
the example of giving the extra effort, pitching in when
needed, caring about people, be the best in your
particular business, continue your growth curve, and take
care of your employees. Encourage innovation and
creation. Give your employees a stake in the future. Once
a month, have a meeting where the employees make
suggestions on how to improve your product, service,
efficiency, or bottom line. Get your employees involved
in the productivity game. One of my clients decided to
play the productivity game with his employees. The game
is; the employees get to share in the profits of the
money saved in one year. Within a week they asked him to
relieve the cleaning company of their duties. They took
turns cleaning the office on their time to lower the
operating costs. My client was thrilled. Give monetary
rewards when the ideas produce increases to the bottom
line and positive encouragement for the process. Create
an atmosphere where employees are willing and able to
talk with you. The two best sources of information on how
your business is doing and how to improve it are your
employees and your customers. Pay attention to both.
7. Don't rest on your laurels.
Always be prepared to change. Look for things to do more
efficiently or how to improve your service or product.
Identify and remove as many consequences and risks as
possible. Insure yourself where you are most vulnerable
in your business. Handle all legal issues. Errors in
judgment and changing trends can have a negative impact
on your business.
8. Minimize all your risks.
A coach will help you identify all of the events, people,
trends, etc.that may adversely affect your business.
Where are you most vulnerable in your business? Accounts
receivable, employees, suppliers etc. Constantly evaluate
your competition and benchmark yourself against them. The
minute you think you don't need to improve anything is
the exact moment you are blinding yourself and can be
easily affected by your competition's growth.
9. End The Lone Ranger Mentality
A Lone Ranger is the entrepreneur who says things like:
"No, that is OK, I can handle it alone."
"I'll do it myself, because no one can do it as well
as I can do it." The Lone Ranger entrepreneur needs
a coach to help teach the skill of both involving and
leaning on others. This skill is important to learn
because the synergy that comes from working together is
what ends up being a key competitive advantage. Without
it, your business will slow down. Plus it's a lot more
fun to be supported with great people, than to have to
push or rely only on yourself.
10. Run your business with integrity.
It takes courage and commitment to live by your inner
truth. There is great honor in living with integrity. It
is telling your truth no matter what the consequences.
It's being candid when it might be dangerous. It's going
ahead and doing it or saying it even if it's
uncomfortable. Inner truth communicates through faint
whispers, thoughts, pictures and feelings buried within
you. You can't passively wait for your inner truth;
respectfully send for it. Continually turn inward,
quietly, politely asking the right questions so that the
subtle signals become clearer. Integrity is something
only you can define. No one can say you're out of
integrity,. When you're feeling stressed it's a real
indication that you need to restore your integrity. With
integrity in place you are complete free.