Clarity, communication, laying out the path and accountability.
These are four key ingredients to running a successful business. A business that ends up giving you a lifestyle rather than just creating yourself another job.
Ironically though, one or more of these ingredients are often in short supply with most of the businesses we come across.
Why? Principally because most business owners get caught up in the day to day fighting fires, either doing the work themselves or making sure things get done as they’re supposed to (or at least hoping they will), and generally working in the trenches.
And you know what it’s like when this happens. It’s very hard to get time to just sit and think. To see the forest for the trees. To figure out where you should be going and how to get there.
The irony is that many people spend more time planning their holidays than figuring out how to take their businesses to the next level. That is of course if they have time to take a holiday – which many don’t. Just another irony of running a business. You wanted more time and money, but ended up working far harder for less!
Can you relate? And if so, what can you do to make your business life simpler?
Let’s start with Clarity.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
“… So long as I get somewhere.” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that”, said the Cat, “if only you walk long enough.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
A lack of clarity is the number one reason most business owners come to us for help.
Often it’s about how to market their products the best way. Or maybe even what products they should be marketing as they feel they’re spreading themselves too thin.
The number one concept I drill into everyone is “you can’t be everything to everyone”. Specialists get paid far more than GPs. So get really clear on who your market is and what you can do to help them.
And there’s a caveat here. Make sure there is a market before going out and producing a fancy product which nobody wants.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this happen. The world is full of better mousetraps that no one wants to buy.
Just because you think something is important and a “must have”, doesn’t mean people will agree with you and more importantly, part with their hard earned money.
And clarity doesn’t stop there. Everyone who works with you needs to be crystal clear as to what you want to achieve and to be on the same page.
Which leads me to the next vital ingredient… Communication.
While you’re clear in what you want, it’s no good unless you can communicate this with your market and your co-workers.
Marketing and selling is all about communicating your message to your market. What problem do they have, how can you solve it, what your customers get etc.
But there’s another equally important aspect to communication – internally within your business.
As the leader you need to decide who’s responsible for what and make sure you communicate your expectations clearly.
The means putting in place accurate job descriptions and KPIs which measure performance.
I’ve written more extensively about this at https://revealedresources.com/practical-tips/493-it-isn-t-sexy-but-it-is-vital
But it’s no good just telling people what they need to do. You also need to have clear guide lines as to how.
And the same goes for you as the leader.
Getting clarity regarding strategy and direction is one thing. Actually putting in place plans and tactics to get you there is quite another. And frankly a major area many businesses fall down.
If you want to travel somewhere you wouldn’t just get in your car and drive without having figured out the route.
It’s the same with achieving any business outcome. You need to reverse engineer it and figure out the best possible mechanism to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
And finally, accountability.
Former US President Harry S. Truman’s famous line, “The Buck Stops Here” sums up accountability to a tee.
While many people can help you along the way, ultimately you are responsible for your own success.
Accountability is about doing what you say you will. Keeping to your word and following through.
Remember, as a leader everyone’s eyes are on you. They’re watching very carefully to see if you do what you say you’ll do. And if you don’t, how can you expect your people to do otherwise?
And accountability flows to all areas of your life – especially if you’re a parent. Don’t be a “do as I say, not do as I do” person – your kids (like your employees) will see through it in a flash and you’ll lose all respect.
And finally, I know doing all this is not necessarily easy.
Sometimes you just need external support to keep you on the path.
With that in mind, a large portion on our business coaching revolves around helping our clients clarify their direction, set outcomes and take the next steps… communicate, lay out the path and be accountable.
So if you’re not getting the results you want from your business, put your hand up and ask for help. None of us is an expert in everything and there’s no shame in getting outside input.
Call us on (02) 9499-7958 for a confidential discussion on how we could help you achieve your business goals faster.
Rashid & Barbara.