It’s just a few days to the New Year will begin. There is nothing like the start of a new year to take stock and re–plan for a whole fresh year. Having worked closely with a number of business owners and entrepreneurs in the last 2 years here’s what I have seen again and again that makes the difference between wild success… and not quite so
6 simple questions that you need to ask yourself, not just NYE but every day when you get out of bed in 2015. Or even better get somebody else to ask you. Time and time again.
Many people express this as you have to love what you do. My view is that when you get to do what you love (the other way around!) a special kind of magic unfolds. The trick here is of course to find a passion that also makes a profit.
And once you find that passion you just never stop going. It’s that endless fuel that will set you apart from others. Going that extra 10%, working that extra hour, reinvesting that extra 10%, will, over the years, make a huge difference. And 2015 is going to be the same for that.
So check in, have you found the profit within your passion?
Simon Sinek famously stated “Start With Why”. Whether you are pitching to capital investors or selling to a large new customer they all want to know… Why?
Once you know Why, it’s time to make a plan for how to get where you’re going. Without a plan you’ll be like Alice in Wonderland taking advice from the Cheshire cat.
What I see a lot of people forget is that the moment you have completed your plan you need to start monitoring it. Are you on the right track? If not, time to course correct. And the monitoring needs to be a lot more than the accountant’s P&L.
Remember that your revenue is a consequence of your business activities (not the other way around), so it’s often more useful to track the real activities (meetings, phone calls, etc) than just revenue.
Do yourself the favour and check in, is your plan in line with “Your Why” or are you just walking the long road?
Almost every business has three main leverage points; Systems, Team and Capital.
The sequence here is important. Once you’re up and running well, invest in systems before people. Or you may end up hiring people who drag you down because they don’t have proper structures within which to work. It’s not fair on them and it will set you back.
It’s also lot easier to convince the bank to give you money once you have a team and have great systems in place.
Take a look at your business as it is; are you using all the leverage you can?
Yes, team is so important it requires its own mention. Because there are so many great choices. You can collaborate. Start a joint venture. Hire an off-shore contractor. Get an intern. Look for a co-founder (if you don’t already have one). Or simply hire a team.
Make sure that whatever you do, share your vision. Explain Your Why. Make it clear what is your passion. And select your future team member foremost on their passion, on their personality traits, on their background. Not on whether they fulfill a specific set of technical skills. Most people can quickly learn skills they’re weak in, but changing somebody’s personality can take a lifetime—or more.
There is no right or wrong in this regard, but sit back and take stock; are you clear on which are the best way(s) to grow your team?
While revenue may not be the first thing you need to measure it’s possibly the most important.
While you need to grow profitably and preferably only take on profitable revenue in some businesses you go through a phase of unprofitable revenue growth to get to a state of profit.
Should you totally focus on doing one thing really well? Yes! Should you put all your eggs in one basket? No!
The above are both common bits of advice from well-meaning people and even business experts. How do you balance that? At the early stages of a business you need to experiment, test 2 – 5 different revenue streams over a few months. See what takes off. Then cut what doesn’t seem to show much promise.
Focus on growing that one revenue stream so it becomes strong, self-sufficient to the point where it supports you, not the other way around.
Then it’s most often time to look for the next ‘big’ thing. You need to create another pillar of revenue, build that up while maintaining the first one; it’s often a much easier way to double the size of your business than to try and double the existing line of revenue.
And look for something recurring. Where you bill every client every month. Even if it means you simply change your sales model. If you sell something for $20,000 can you sell the same thing for $2,000 per month and give people a reason to continue year after year?
How does your business stack up?
Business is like the dating game. You have to be attractive.
But when in business it’s the business, not just you, that needs to be attractive. Is the business easy to get along with? Does it hang with great people? Will it turn heads when it walks down the street? Is it a great conversationalist so it’s always invited to parties? Is it genuine and honest? Does it cook up something mouthwatering that people come and visit for?
Think of the qualities that attracts people to each other. Then think of how you can apply them to your business. You will achieve remarkable results.
In this game attraction certainly runs more than skin deep!