Sport is a great analogy for business.
Anyone can take part in sport at one level or another. For example, you can just turn up at a track and run a race, or pop down the tennis club to play a set or two. But without any preparation don’t expect to get a call up to the Olympics squad or The Davis Cup Team. Getting to those events requires a great product (your talent), lots of planning and hard work.
Just like business.
Just as in sport, anyone can set up a business and sell products or services. There may be some regulatory or industry specific constraints (food safety, hygiene, health and safety laws etc.) but otherwise, you can pretty much go for it.
But if you want to be a business Olympian, if you want to win medals, you need to have a great product or service and then you have to plan for success and work hard to deliver it. You need to get stuff done!
Can you succeed?
Can any business succeed with the right planning and hard work? That depends on two things.
The first is your definition of success. If success means £1m turnover, staff and six figure profits, not all business can achieve that. Some business will only ever be part-time kitchen table ventures, but if that is what you want from your business and the expected level of profit is commensurate with that, then it is a success.
The second is having a minimum viable product aligned to your definition of success. Some products or services are just never going to make it commercially. If yours is one of them, accept it and move on rather than pouring good money and time down the drain.
Success through focus and application
But with the right product success can be achieved. Let’s use the sports analogy again. A few years back we were rubbish at cycling. Then the powers that be decided to do something about it. They started by breaking down the problem of winning. Everything from improving the bike, fitness regimes, diet, etc. we examined. Changes were made, tested and adjusted. Every little detail right down to even taking mattresses to improve sleep between Tour de France stages.
In a few short years we had our first Tour de France winner in Sir Bradley Wiggins and now a three times winner in Chris Froome. Besides that, we have serious medal expectations at every cycling event around the world.
You can apply the same approach to your business.
Is there a switch?
The UK’s cycling success didn’t happen overnight and nor will the changes in your business. There’s no magic switch that turns a business into an instant success. But a switch is required for success longer term. It’s a switch in the attitude of you, the business owner. A switch from an attitude that says it’s all someone else’s fault to accepting that it’s down to you. It’s a switch from a ‘can’t do’ or ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude to a ‘can do’ attitude. It’s a switch from seeing endless problems to looking for and finding solutions. From saying why you can’t to asking how you can. From procrastination to ‘let’s get stuff done’
Are you up for the challenge?
You’re reading this blog so you already have the attitude to learn. But learning is only worthwhile if it translates in to action. You have to implement what you learn. You have to implement the plans to make your business a success. That is the key to achieving your targets and goals.
The first step is setting goals for you and your business. They might be financial. They might be about getting more free time. They might be about having fewer clients, but of the right type. Whatever they are, they need to be ambitious. Break them down from the longer term goals into annual, quarterly, monthly and even weekly goals or targets. Read my blog from 7th July 2017 (http://www.arra-li.com/leadership/goal-setting-dont-aim-for-mediocrity/) about setting goals.
Next, you need to identify the key things that will enable you to achieve your goals and then create a plan to do them. Focus on the short term, most immediate goals. Then take incremental steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you don’t need to change everything in your business immediately. Have somethings that will deliver short term gains whilst you work on the longer term, potentially bigger changes.
The secret to success
Implementation – without it the rest is a waste of time. But don’t think that you have to do it all yourself. If you have a team of staff much of what needs to get done can be delegated, allowing you to focus on the critical stuff you are best at or on the stuff only you can do.
If you don’t have a team, get one. With Vas (virtual assistants) available by the hour in most aspects of business support it’s now much easier to get cost effective support for your business as you grow towards needing, and being able to afford, permanent staff. It’s all about empowerment – of your team and yourself.
What if I make mistakes
Mistakes are ok if you learn from them. Don’t get frightened by them. Ask any very successful entrepreneur what they would change on their journey and most would say they wished they had failed faster. Failure taught them the lessons to be successful. So give yourself permission to make mistakes.
Get stuff done
This is the first in a series of blog posts about implementing critical stuff in your business. Marketing stuff, process stuff, control stuff, management and leadership stuff. Each post will be about fixing something important in one aspect or another in your business. There will be tools to help along the way, holding your hand through each aspect of building your business. But for now, start thinking about those goals I talked about earlier. Here’s the link to the blog post again: http://www.arra-li.com/leadership/goal-setting-dont-aim-for-mediocrity/
Re-visit, re-write or even just create your goals and prepare for next week’s blog. Let’s get stuff done together.