If everyone can find out how to do it at the swipe of a screen, why aren’t they?
We see this a lot; two business owners doing roughly the same thing, in the same place, in the same way and yet the outcomes for their businesses can be very different.
On the Mind Your Business Podcast of the same title, we distilled it down to three things; mindset, time and asking the right questions.
The power of a mindset
Previous blogs have covered the effect of a positive mindset and the sheer power of belief for business owners. Belief in your business will help you skyrocket, while doubt, uncertainty or a lack of vision about where you want to be hold you back and create a ceiling for your potential.
I do a lot of talks for start-up businesses or pre-start business about how to set a business up and I tell them to build the structure for the business they want, not the one they have on day one. A bit like dressing for the job you want. Ee set Cypher up in a way that would allow us to be roughly where we are now, more than two years on, even though we’ve grown by 300%. We created the systems and we got everything in place to be the business we wanted in the future. That was our mindset, we knew where we were going and with the right systems and structures in place we got there quicker.
Other businesses stay exactly the way they are on day one. In the beginning they don’t want staff, don’t want additional systems because it’s just them. Their mindset is to crack on, do the work, get it done, send the invoices and bank the cash and that’s fine but the point is they don’t grow.
There is also nothing more frustrating than meeting a business owner who is struggling but who won’t accept that there could be another way of doing things. They say ‘this is the way we have always done it, so this is the way’. No, it’s not; it doesn’t have to be like that and if it does, and the only way leads to a struggling business or is way too hard work then more fool you for getting into that position. There is always another way.
Put simply, if you don’t have a clear vision about where you want to be and how you will get their – and have the confidence that this is your path, then by the time you get to a point three years in the future, your business is not very efficient, maybe because you’re doing all the jobs plus being the CEO, maybe you’ve got the wrong clients, paying too little for too much, because you’ve taken on anyone with a pulse, or maybe your brand isn’t doing what it should. Whatever it is, there will be things in that business that could have been changed from the start because of a vision and a more posituive mindset.
If you build it, they will come.
Ask yourself how much time in the last month you have sat down and just thought about your business? I would suspect it’s fairly limited. It might be when you’re in the car on the way to work or last thing at night before you go to sleep because you’re too busy doing the do. You could have all the free advice in the world, but it doesn’t matter because you don’t have the availability to take it.
Managing time is critical. I think too many business owners are too busy but not necessarily productive. They spend a lot of time doing lots of jobs they shouldn’t and then don’t have the time to clear a space in their diary or in their heads to think about their business, expand their knowledge and make the most of the information available to them, which means they don’t have time to ask the right questions of themselves.
Now it might be that you are this days old when you realise that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to a thriving business. It is very much bespoke and situational. We have a bookshelf full of business books in our office and I don’t get on particularly well with them, the reason being that every single one of them has a different way of approaching the same problem. So if you read them all, you would never be able to implement everything from every book, or indeed pair philosophies from different books, because in many cases they are at complete cross purposes and very contradictory.
If you’re running a one-man, one site shoe shop, while you may take a bit of inspiration from the guy that founded Nike, excuse the pun, but you’re just not in his shoes. So many authors write from a perspective that is completely different from that of a start-up business, or indeed one that isn’t already thriving.
One of the solutions we discussed was to simply Google the answers to the questions posed in any given situation. It may not feel like the natural reaction, but why wouldn’t you do it?
Now, given that Alan Clark my co-host on the Mind Your Business Podcast is a business coach, who is in business himself to help other business owners solve their problems, you might wonder if this approach changes his mindset to business. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t.
You might Google the error codes on your washing machine, get your hands dirty, learn on the job and maybe even solve the problem, which will give you great satisfaction but when you can’t you call the repair man and sometimes it costs more! Getting good people, real experts to help you in your business can be priceless.
You might be firefighting 18 different situations at once; problems with suppliers, problems with teams, a loss of market share, the pressure is on. Or more positively you have a phenomenal, new idea that you want to get to market. It’s a huge opportunity but you need help realising it. Using experts can go deeper into your issues or give you a higher level of emotional support.
Start with a question
Your solutions or gateway to a thriving business can start with the quality of question you’re asking yourself. I didn’t know all the questions and certainly not all of the answers, but I did know that at Cypher I wanted 200 clients and 10 members of staff. That was my vision and then we went all the way back to what do we need to do to achieve this? We need to astonish our customers, we need to have all the systems in place, we need to bill monthly and set our prices correctly.
Most of the answers for how a business can thrive are within the business owner. No one knows their business more intimately than them. But unless you know what the question is, how will you find them. I often go into a coaching session not knowing what the questions are that I need to ask, but through the coaching process the questions bubble up and at the end of a session can have a profound effect on my business. You can Google and get the answer, but you cannot get that accountability that another human will give you.
What questions are you asking yourself around the possibilities for your business?
Double your business
Could double your business by setting that target and giving yourself the space and time to come up with the big questions that need answering to achieve that goal and then find a set of answers either by reading literature or engaging another professional?
We’re not saying it’s simple, but we are saying it’s a possibility that a large amount of business owners simply are not accessing.