If you are building a business, you are probably working hard. Make sure that you are also working smart. Here are 5.5 steps that you can take to improve your business immediately:
1. Make a Plan
2. Tell Your Friends
3. Learn to Communicate
4. Act like an Executive
5. Learn to Lead
5.5 Ask for Help
Why do people go into business? People go into business because they have a good idea. People go into business because they want to be their own boss, or they want to “Get out of the rat race.” Generally, the business is based on some skill that they have or on a perceived need that they can satisfy. That skill is seldom, if ever, their ability or burning desire to do business planning. Yet, in order to succeed, they must. Most often business owners give little or no thought to a business plan, let alone a Strategic Plan. Despite this, a Strategic Plan is the best tool you can use for increasing EARNINGS without having to borrow.
Why do businesses fail? The fact is that most businesses fail because the business owner has no plan for success. There was no assessment of the market or the competition, or there was not enough capital to sustain the business until market penetration and brand awareness takes hold.
This can be avoided by sitting down at least once a year and taking a detailed look at the business and deciding where you are, where you want to be in 3 to 5 years, and how you are going to get there. This is a Strategic Plan. Every company should have one.
Now that you have a plan, you need to put it in motion. Start by telling your friends. The best way to do that, the simplest way to do that, and the cheapest way to do that is to network. So, get out there and tell everyone about your business. Tell the people you meet at the bank or doctor’s offices, tell the people standing in line with you.
That leads us to the third thing you can do to improve your chance of success. You must learn to communicate. Since you cannot over communicate, you must learn how to use many ways of communicating. Try any or all of the following:
All hands meetings (if it’s just you and your associate, and the associate happens to have a tail and whiskers, practice on him or her)
Print posters of your vision and your values and post them throughout the organization
Add your tag line to your signature block
Publish articles. Establish yourself as the expert in your field
Send monthly newsletters to your clients
A verbal pat on the back can go a long way when an employee is having a bad day
And, finally, remember to LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN.
Once your business is moving along, your next move is to act like an executive. One of the hardest things for many business owners is to act like an executive, especially if you have never BEEN an executive. Executives have one focus, the success of their business. The way they dress, walk, and talk is carefully planned to further their business goals. Remember that the next time you think, “I never want to wear a suit again;” or the next time you think, “I think I’ll wear shorts to this networking meeting.” Is this the impression you really want to give about your business? You are not the driver of your appearance, your market is. Make a conscious effort to position your business where you want it, and then walk the walk…24/7.
Finally, you MUST learn to lead. I define leadership very simply. Say what you’ll do and do what you say. Leadership is not charisma, or sports ability, or intelligence. It is simply about getting results. If you say you will build a successful business, you will do whatever is required for you to achieve that goal, and you won’t stop until you get there.
There’s just one more thing that you can do to get immediate results. If you don’t know how to do something…ask for help. No one can know it all, no one can succeed on his/her own. Ask your friends, a trusted colleague, or hire a coach, and then do what they tell you.
About the Author
Kathy Emond is an Executive Coach and co-founder Strategic Directions LLC, a Leadership Development Company, located in Nashua. Their tagline says it all: "Guiding YOU to professional and personal Growth." For more information about their programs and services, contact her at 603-880-8191, kemond@StrategicDirectionsLLC.com , or visit their website http://www.StrategicDirectionsLLC.com.