If you’ve been running businesses for a while, I’d like for you to turn back time to when you first started a business. What aspirations did you have of your new business? What goals did you want to achieve? What results did you hope for?
The answer could be something along the lines of: “to build a successful business” or “to make a million dollars”, “to sell thousands of your widgets”, etc.
Many small business owners, however, never make it to their goal – not even near it. Why is this?
In this article, we’ll take a look at why many business owners still struggle to this day trying to turn their JOB to a successful venture. If the business requires you to be there everyday and cannot afford your complete disappearance from it for more than a month without becoming total chaos and going under, it’s a JOB.
First, I’d like to make it perfectly clear that it has less to do with how clear their goals where initially. Sure, having a vivid image of how the resulting business looks at the end when it’s built helps but there is an underlying reason why many business owners struggle year-after-year. The clarity of their goal can be attained, only if the root causes are addressed first.
Second, their ultimate success or failure has little to do with their background (i.e. whether they were born with a golden spoon in their mouth or whether they came from the ghettos, whether they were educated at Harvard or was just a high school dropout).
Third, it’s not the fault of the team (employees) that a business cannot improve. I’ll cover this in a bit.
Four, the quality of a business plan plays a minor role in the overall scheme of things. A business plan is just a document and doesn’t speak or act. It requires the business owner to bring it to life with enthusiasm, creativity, and drive.
Part of my work as a business coaching involves working with business owners to get at the root of the real issues that plague their business – the stumbling blocks which hold them back from massive success.
Persistence in these three areas are required:
- 1. Overwhelming determination to succeed (many times at great cost)Some business owners get jaded after many trials and years of struggling, They simply resign to the fact that they’ll never make it. They feel like they’ve tried it all… or have they really? Now, this doesn’t mean you keep banging your head on the wall until you bleed even though it takes you nowhere.
It means exploring new directions, avenues, and market opportunities. Learn and/or re-learn ideas, attitudes or beliefs presently held. Many of which hold the business owner captive in their own cell, limited by the very walls which they erected within the confines of their mind.
It also means being open to different approaches in growing the business. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again hoping to get a different result. By being open to the happenings around you and within your business, one can learn many lessons to improve their business. I’ve encountered a number of closed-minded business owners who think they know it all during my business consultations.
One example of being open is to be willing to listen and reflect on feedback from your team on how to improve processes. If you’ve hired a great team of people in your organization, they will be willing to share their perspectives with you if you’re willing to take their ideas seriously. Unfortunately, many business owners dismiss their team members ideas because they have a big ego and they’re the “boss”.
The great business philosopher, Jim Rohn, says, “Never wish your life were easier, wish that you were better.” In other words, be the best YOU can be.
A business can only “attract” the people a business owner deserves. Great players will never want to play for a losing team and the same goes for a business. To attract winners, the business owner must not only exude positive vibes but also be a winner at heart.
This determination to succeed also lends itself to a business owner possessing copious amounts of enthusiasm about their business. It’s so contagious that it infects everyone around them and pushes the business forward as a collective. There is not one successful business owner known alive (or dead) who didn’t possess lots of enthusiasm.
Business owners have been known to fail a number of times before finally achieving incredible success. This is not by luck but due to their sheer determination to succeed to a large degree.
- 2. Performing the Important Things in the Business with Laser-Like IntensityBeing able to focus on the key performance indicators or success factors of a business with pig-headed determination is critical. I’ve encountered many business owners who suffer from an ailment similar to Attention Deficit Disorder. They feel an incessant need to jump from one thing to another like a moth attracted to the brightest light.
Important aspects of the business are activities which:
> bring in the cashflow and profit consistently
> develop an excellent reputation as a leader in the industry
> build loyalty in the team
> build relationships with vendors and clients
- 3. Determination to get it RIGHT the FIRST time and continually strive for perfection even though it’s realistically unattainable.Attention to details is important especially if you are to build a great business. It all starts with the business owner. That means being strict and holding true to the important day-to-day matters like product quality control, productivity, performance indicators, etc. and being lax about the less important issues like whether team members take a longer than normal lunch break or play games on the computer once in while during lull periods.
I’d like to share an interesting observation on Sunday when I brought my son to play mini-golf. This is another example of being open to lessons in your surroundings. As a five-year old and new to the game, he’s still trying to learn how to hold the putter and where to stand before hitting the golf ball. Here’s where it gets interesting. Instead of hitting the ball with the sole intention of getting the ball in the hole, he focused on the more important aspect. How’s something else more important than the goal of getting the ball into the hole, you ask? Well, to truly hit the ball in the shortest number of strokes requires a skill-set. To develop this skill-set requires practice. Lots of it. So, instead of rushing through each hole, he took his time with each stroke to better his last. When he could not attain the result he wanted, guess what? He collected the ball and returned to the start of the hole and played it again. He would continuously hit the ball trying to achieve his goal of getting the golf ball to land where he wanted it to and not where it happened to end up. All this while, he was oblivious to the fact that others were waiting for him to proceed to the next hole…
Earl Strickland, a World-class pool player, possessed the same traits. Although he came from a “disadvantaged” background, he rose to become a wealthy and well-known pool player around the world. In one match I observed, he had lost the game and the championship due to an error on his part. His competitor won the match and instead of packing up his bags to go home, he placed his cue ball and the ball he was playing back in the same position it was before he hit it and tried hitting it again. While he was replaying the ball, his competitor was rejoicing next to him with the crowd roaring. His mind was so focused on the ball he wanted to play right that it didn’t matter what was going on around him at that moment.
So, to build a great business it begins with the right attitude. The right attitude will create the ideal environment whereby a great business seed can flourish. As the saying goes: “Your attitude and not your aptitude determines your altitude in life.”