1. Be decisive
The ability or the authority to make an unquestioned decision is important. Too many businesses are stuck in indecision, due to finance, partnerships, the wife or husband, running it like a democracy or straight our fear. Think about this? You are on a plane flight from Sydney to Auckland, and a critical fault has occurred with the engine management system. There is a good chance the plane is going down. Do you want the pilot to dwell on his life and how he is too young to die? Do you want the pilot to start opening up the manuals are reading what to do? Do you want the pilot to come out the back and ask, anyone got any idea’s? The answer is obvious, if he does nothing there is much more chance of hitting the ground. You want a pilot that is technically up to date, been through exactly this simulation and makes a critical and quick decision. The result is you will survive or you will crash. Indecision leans towards statistical probability of crashing!
2. Know your limitations
This is important when you are decisive! Know what you are good at and not good at. In the example above, I am not saying the pilot shouldn’t respond to advice if he has time. Critical decision 1 is how much time do we have, and if time permits he should be on the radio looking for the expert. You may be great at something, but know someone that is brilliant at that same thing. Call them and make a decision.
3. Give to charity
This is a play on words, but some of the best advice I received 20 years ago on the 2nd tee, from my mate and client the Kebab shop owner. The best way to help poor people is don’t become one yourself. There are many ways to read into this statement, but I read into it with relevance to points to making decisions and having choices. You have money or know how to make money (knowledge) then you have the choice to give. YOU have the CHOICE to give, your money time or whatever you desire away. Think Ted was more aiming at that you are not a burden on the purse of society, but some of the best advice of my life.
Experience has taught me that great business operators, the true entrepeneurs are micromanagers. Now this as a big statement so it needs some clarity.They have the ability to micromange in every facet of their business and most likely in nearly any business. They have the ability. Ability is important, as they don’t micromanage every facet just the element of the business that needs attention at that point in time. How do they know? This is an eye opener if you don’t know it. They have KPI’s and watch when a pattern appears or they are going off/bad in one element. KPI Key Performance Indicators.
5. If you suck get out
Oh I know its blunt but, time to be decisive. The GFC has been tough and their will always be tough times. This is not an easy decision, and one that needs to proper financial advice. But too often I see someone, struggling to pay the bank, struggling to pay the rent, struggling to pay themselves. Ask yourself are the mines calling you? If you can make more money elsewhere, there better be a silver lining somewhere in the current business to keep grinding away.
6. Know how to make a profit
This one always surprises me, the number of business owners that actually don’t know how to make a profit. I actually heard a little bit of profit out of a lot of things and you will never go broke. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong. Ok maybe right, but you need to know at what GP?, What are your overheads? Anyone in the grocery business will quickly tell you that if every customer comes in and buys just Milk, Bread and Cigarettes, they will quickly go broke on a sub 14% GP and not be able to cover the overheads. Know what profit you want to make and work backwards.
- How much Sales?
- What GP?
- What staffing requirements?
- What will the overheads be?
- How much capital Investment?
- Sorry to tell you but the wealthy, the entrepreneurs, wake up with this in the front of their mind every morning.
7 Be An Olypmian
I touched on it in point 6. True champions wake up every morning with the dream and the challenge in the front of their mind. I have worked with some great Olympians, and I will let you in on a secret. They are Selfish, Self Centred, one track minded, dedicated and will run down with hatred anyone that dispels their ability. "Sorry Du-aine and Daren” Ok let me take it back a touch, this is there focus to the task, not how they are in general life. MMMM..maybe Helen and Tiana think differently? I could write a book on this but the point is simple. They get up in the dark every day 364 days of the year, not just for 4 years to the next Olympics, but since they were kids. With one Dream…Olympic GOLD…not Silver not Bronze. Ever ask a potential Olympian isn’t your dream to stand up and get a silver medal.. My advice duck. It takes single focus dedication to be great, to be the best. I envy this trait. Very few of us have got it to this degree, but we nearly all have an ability to be good. Many Olympians will tell you that the difference between Gold and no medal is 1%. How do you find the 1%, I don’t know, maybe its genetic, but if busting your guts with dedication to get their puts you at 95%.
YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL
8. Know what makes your People tick
A short paragraph at last. Know what makes your people tick. Ask your staff and customers, how they are going. Anything worrying them? Do they have any problems you can help them with? You don’t need them to be your friends, You don’t need to be a matre, but human compassion will go a long way. A genuine want to help will often be solved with phone call.
9. Knowledge on running a business and industry.
Professionals have specific professional development time they must maintain, in order to keep their professional accreditation. This is important. But equally important is that you put 50% or more of the same time and focus into building your business not industry knowledge. For example a sign writer may do his professional development, by going to trade shows and magazines, to find out the latest equipment, techniques and processes for printing more colour, quicker faster and better.I would never discourage this, and the time and cost may equate to several thousand dollars. But ask the same sign writer to read a book on business development or spend some dollars having an expert do a health check on their business and it is fraught with resistance.
10. Cost v Benefit.
- Simple but necessary.
- Make a decision and make it as timely as possible.
- But put every decision through a mini due diligence.
- Make some notes, know what profit the decision makes.
- Be an Olympian on the project.
- Know where to get help
- Know what your KPI’s will be
- Know your resources
- Know how to get out if its not working.
- Is it all worth it is the Benefit better than the cost