According to Gallup research, between 1977 and 2011, the business birth and death rates crossed in 2008, creating a net “new business” rate of about -70,000…yes, that’s a negative number. (Source: Entrepreneurial Strengthsfinder)
In recent news, a major manufacturer was moving yet more of its business to a foreign country.
We all have areas in our respective cities where businesses “used to be” and no longer are – and unlike in the past – new businesses are not moving in to replace them.
Our country was built on the strong foundation of “the American Dream”, where you could come here with nothing but a dream, and if you worked hard, you could become a millionaire.
Starting a business these days is easier than ever; creating a successful, thriving business – large or small – is also more challenging than ever. There are more taxes and regulations. There is also more competition world-wide.
But it is possible to succeed.
It requires a strong business mindset (take the Entrepreneurial Strengthsfinder assessment to determine your business strengths), and it requires wise business decisions. Though technology, markets, and regulations have changed through the years, these two requirements for business have not changed. They are just as important as they have ever been…in fact, they may be more important now than ever before.
Here are some of those decisions:
Build or Battle.
There was a Fortune 500 company that spent years working to be the biggest – to build – but had not spent equal time on the battle side of the equation. This includes things like cutting expenses and doing preventive maintenance on facilities. This underscores the importance of the Law of Navigation where John C. Maxwell points out that anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course. A good leader needs a strategic battle plan and a strategic building plan. You need strong growers in place for marketing, and you need strong fighters in place for managing. Be sure you have both.
Blame versus Responsibility.
These days, it is easy to blame any number of factors for lack of success…and some are warranted. But a strong business leader will choose to take responsibility rather than place blame. You have no doubt seen this firsthand – where one business owner hits a challenge and places blame, while another, in the same type of business, sees the challenge, accepts responsibility, and seizes the opportunity to turn it around. We need more leaders who will meet challenge with responsibility. It can make the difference between success and failure.
Proactive versus Reactive.
Many organizations live in firefighting mode. A business cannot survive long-term in reaction mode. Success does not just happen – you must apply the Law of Intentionality in order to thrive. While most people live day by day, a leader must be looking 90 days ahead, a year ahead, a decade ahead. Anything less results in a business operating in survival mode. In tough economic times, you cannot afford to operate with such tight margins.
Divide and Conquer.
This concept is key to planning. One person cannot do it all. The most important job of a business leader is not to do all the work. His or her job is to build a team of gifted individuals to do the work in a way that one person alone could not do. Failing to follow the Law of Design means that someone else will design the plan for your business, and that plan may not align with your purpose and values.
Give and Take.
This is a common malady, where some leaders live in “take” mode – “What’s in it for me?” This is not healthy for the organization or for the national economy. A leader must ensure that the organization is profitable, not only for his or her own sake, but for the sake of all involved – employees, clients, service providers, and society as a whole. He or she must look at business from a bigger picture view – what is best for the company, its employees, and the country as a whole. What is best, not just for the short term, but for the long term? Sometimes selling off a company makes sense; but sometimes selling off is just selling out. And given the “new business” ratio mentioned above, we need leaders who know the difference.
The fact is, America needs profitable businesses. Whether you’re CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a sole proprietor serving your community, you have a responsibility to create the kind of business that serves the needs of others while also building your local community and strengthening the American economy as well.
Are you with me?
Deb Ingino is an expert in business growth and development, with a proven track record of success. To schedule a consultation regarding your business growth and development, contact Deb today. Her experience with companies in America and abroad prove that, with solid leadership mindset and decisions, you can achieve amazing results for yourself, your team, and your entire organization.