Tips from the Top - December 2016
I'm Too Busy
Have you ever wondered why the "busiest" people are often the least successful? Each month, I meet with dozens of business owners. Some consistently set and achieve their goals; others seem to be in a constant state of struggle. Interestingly, the owners who struggle the most also consistently seem to be mired in a conversation about how "busy" they are. When asked what they are busy doing, their response usually relates to addressing urgencies or reacting to situations outside their control that likely fall far below their 'pay grade'. They often discuss the things they have to do, and they sincerely believe that they "just can’t find the time" to work on the things they would like to do. Do you know anyone like that?
Conversely, the most highly successful owners I know seem to always have plenty of time to plan, to act strategically, to keep their commitments and to work on (instead of in) their businesses. Almost magically, they also seem to find time to calmly handle all their personal interests, desires and obligations. These business owners can effectively prioritise and manage their respective calendars in a much more proactive fashion.
How do these successful owners do it? After all, there are only 24 hours in a day. Here are some facts and patterns I’ve noticed that might help you become less busy and more productive…
Put your phone number on every page of your website. Never leave a future or current customer wondering how to get a hold of you.
Takeaways from “It Is Your Ship”
In our TAB Board Meeting, several of us listed the important messages from the book,“It Is Your Ship,” written by Michael Abrashoff:
- Listen aggressively;
- Never fail the newspaper test (if what you did appeared in the press, would you be proud of it?);
- Communicate meaning and purpose (clearly and often);
- Take command;
- Lead by example;
- Create a climate of trust;
- Look for results, not salutes (allow your team to speak up);
- Take calculated risks;
- Go beyond standard procedures (be innovative);
- Build up your people;
- Generate unity; and
- Improve your people’s quality of life.
Escaping the Enabling
When an employee takes advantage of you by making his or her problem yours, be compassionate and supportive but leave the ownership and resolution of the problem in their court. Otherwise, you may create an expectation that you will become the solution (enabler) for the rest of their employment.
Keep Your Bank in the Loop
Growth is great! However, when going through a growth spurt, cash flow is going to take a hit. When you see this situation building, be preemptive. Meet with your bank well in advance of the cash crunch and provide a professionally-organised presentation of what is occurring. Banks will normally provide you with more credit when things are going well.
Build Your Unique Value
The long-term implications of selling on the basis of price is that you will likely lose your customers to a "dirty price cutter." You must provide value in another area; price cannot be the primary value for customers. There is only one exception to this rule, and that is if you happen to be the low-cost producer of a good or service. Even then, price competition can destroy a market over time. Determine another way to be of value to your customers and then strive to be the best in the world in that area.