It is my privilege to work with businesses of all sizes, from large corporate entities to self-employed startups to non-profit organizations. Though the focus and scale of each business is different, at a core level, there are seven areas that are “make or break” for any business.
Good business principles are the foundation of a good business. A business without solid principles will quickly crumble under pressure. One thing is certain about being a leader in business – you will be tested regularly. Your boundaries will be tested. Your ethics will be tested. Your patience will be tested. You must have personal and business principles in place before these tests come. This is why I am part of the John Maxwell Team. John Maxwell is all about solid principles for leadership. If you have never read his books, I highly recommend them as a starting point in your leadership growth.
Creating the right team is your strongest support in achieving your goals. In a world of virtual reality, robots, and increased technological advances, people do still matter. Never underestimate the value of a good team. I am often called in to help an ailing business. More often than not, the issue is not the economy or competition; it is most often an issue of “people”…a leader who does not listen to his people, people who do not listen to their leader; a leader who is not equipped to lead, and a team that does not feel valued enough to follow. Different personalities, different strengths…and no concerted effort to work together. Yes, dealing with people is a challenge; but people are also your greatest asset. Ask yourself regularly if you are investing in your people, if you are valuing your people, and if you are growing the people who grow your business.
This is common with startups. An entrepreneur becomes enamored with an idea that they believe is the best thing since sliced bread. They invest everything they have in a product or a service that they believe everyone will buy as soon as it hits the market. They spend thousands of dollars building a website, getting just the right logo, and purchasing glossy business cards and brochures. Launch day comes. They put their baby on display and wait for that first purchase…and nothing happens. A day passes, nothing. They go crazy on social media and tell all their friends to tell all their friends…and still nothing. A week passes…a month…and all the while, their bills pile up awaiting payment. They believe there will be a big break, and they wait for it. But it never comes.
This is not good business. This is blind ambition. As the leader of a business, give yourself time and margin to test the waters. Ask for counsel to see if your idea fits a specific need for a particular niche of people. Provide a sampling, and see how it goes.
Dave Kaminski, founder of Web Video University, has tested his digital product sales to a point of knowing that if something sells within an hour, he has a big winner. If it takes a day, it’s a good product. But if after 24 hours, there are the proverbial crickets, he will discontinue the product. A good business leader knows that a great product or service will make a great business. They also know to act quickly when no one shows interest. If you have a product or program that you have been hawking for five years, it might be time to give it up and move on. There is strength in making that determination.
We will continue with the remaining four P’s in the next article. In the meantime, take time this week to consider each of these and evaluate where you are in your business with regard to each one. If you have questions or need help making the evaluation, feel free to contact me for a business coaching session.