I’ve been an entrepreneur and mentor for a really long time, and I have noticed a pattern all leaders, entrepreneurs, managers and those trying to build something significant could do with avoiding.
It’s frustrating to watch reactive entrepreneurs. They are quite easily identified as they are chopping and changing tactics, dumping one thing for the next shiny ball, and spend a lot of their life discontented with their result throughout the year.
Setting monthly financial and other goals (no matter how big or small) without predictable strategies to achieving them is a sure fire way to meander your year away and frustrate your chances of solid and immoveable foundations.
This year decide that the “I don’t know how” and flittering from one thing to the other is a thing of yester year for you and your business. If you know someone who could use this advice then lovingly share this article with them using the SHARE logos at the bottom of the post.
The worst thing you can do is give up too early on something that you have not adequately invested in. Most all things you want to achieve will require a minimum of 12 weeks consistent activity to build momentum and get fully adopted.
If you don’t have enough of the right customers, that’s an indication that the problem is in your sales and marketing department – and that’s where you should focus. Got great revenue coming in but complaints from customers – that’s your operations/delivery that needs assessing. Signing loads of contracts but not seeing the evidence in the bank account? Then get your spectacles on the finance department.
As entrepreneurs we want to do a little of everything – but as leaders we have to put focus where it’s due, and get the house in order before piling more on.
Here are 4 reflective & constructive tips to identify if you’re going astray, and to help bring you back to the heart of your Quantum Leap:
1. Quit confusing your team…
Every time you come up with a new idea (each one better than the last) you infuse your team with belief in it. When you change tact and do what may seem to them as a 180 turn, you are effectively telling them that it didn’t work, you aren’t sure what to do next, and their time and efforts were worth nothing.
Instead: Analyse and discuss with your team THIS WEEK what worked last year? Who were your best customers? What were the consistent issues? What problems did your company solve for clients? What were the most profitable activities? Ask more than you speak. Then schedule half a day out the office to just think over it all. Carry the financials and the last business plan you did with you if you can. Analyse BEFORE you act!
By doing this you are allowing your team to share the burden of decisions by utilising the opinions of your internal experts. Stay true to your core bread and butter activities, but wisely decide what you can add to the mix. Remember to accept that you may need more manpower to make the next leap since you don’t want to destroy current relationships with a less superior service.
2. Get serious about leverage…
This is so cliche it’s easy to think “I know that already” and not actually action it. How many people have you followed on Twitter and not said a word to them? How many business cards do you have collecting dust from that networking brunch? How many associates mentioned they know someone who could use your service – but you didn’t get aroundto following it up?
A shocking amount of entrepreneurs put a whole lot of effort into meeting new people and next to zero effort in deepening those relationships. The 6 degrees of separation thing is far gone. Now it’s two or three. For example, I’m one contact from Beyonce and almost every music hit maker in the USA and only two contacts from Donald Trump.
Instead: You just don’t know who you’re connected to until you make a conscious, deliberate AND CONSISTENT (that’s the big one right there) to make and keep building relationships. Look for way to add value, make introductions and be the go-to person in your company or industry.
It will make you invaluable. And EVERYTHING you want to do will become scarily easier. Less uphill and more brisk stroll.
In my company we have a dedicated Joint Ventures Department. With this department alone we have no need to pay for company advertising. We have really solid promotions and endorsements into our desired markets, and we add real value that makes our partners want to work with us over many years.
Action point: SCHEDULE AT LEAST 5 HOURS A WEEK FOR DEVELOPING AND DEEPENING RELATIONSHIPS.
3. Redesign your schedule…
A book I absolutely love is The Power of Focus By Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt and Jack Canfield. Followed closely by Dan Kennedy’s NO B.S. Time Management For Entrepreneurs.The reason I love them so much is the unapologetic style of helping entrepreneurs cut to the mustard and prioritise the bigger picture, rather than the ‘stuff’.
I’m certain you’ll agree with the age old complaint of managers, leaders & entrepreneurs; that too much time is spent in admin and operations, and not enough time in building the business. It’s frustrating and a real time killer.
Instead: Choose a specialism you are particularly good at in the business, that is meaningful to the bigger picture, and work it till the wheels fall off! It’s not good enough to just be the ‘owner’.This could be sales, marketing, social media (lead generating), growth strategy, whatever. But be a specialist at it – and make sure you aren’t working for your daily bread; I.E. Today’s work should benefit you longer than this months cashflow needs.
You may need to keep doing some of the stuff you hate – but it’s for a temporary time. When you eventually streamline each thing, you can delightfully gift it to another, more competent, excited employee who relishes the treacherous things you so hate.
Separate to that buy both the books I mentioned above – they will certainly cover the time management and other things you need to know about making your schedule work for the BIGGER picture.
And that’s what really matters.
4. Set quarterly goals…
This early in the year even normally frenetic or unorganised people are setting goals.
Here’s one of the biggest mistakes people make… They make the time of the achievment of those goals really tight. It’s then a domino effect that affects cashflow and state of mind when goals are missed. Many end up by October wanting the chance to start a new year again.
Instead: One of the best tips I can give you is to think in 4 quarters of the year. The first two quarters are your BUILDING TIME and the last two are your REAPING TIME. If you build well in the latter part of the former year and in the first two quarters you’ll have an amazing second half and a steady first half.
It’s a skill that takes a couple of years to crack, but it is a different way of thinking that will really help you grow.
Financial goals should NEVER be divided by 12 when you set your goals, because life doesn’t work that way. In business you need to account for seasonal peaks, your marketing campaigns, times you may need to slow growth to steady the ship and keep quality in your offering. You have to account for all kinds of things.
So saying we want to make $6million this year when you made $900,000 last year and you don’t have a proper plan to bridge the gap other than saying “we’ll do it six-times harder this year” is just not going to help you. And, well… it makes you look and sound really silly.
Expenses are much more predictable – BUT you have to really make a conscious effort not to get complaisant when you get your peaks. Save as much as 30% of net turnover as a habit (monthly if possible if not quarterly), put aside the money for taxes when you make it and create an expansion/investment slush fund from the excess once your tax calculations show that you have excess reserved.
Fiscal responsibility is key to your brand making the next QUANTUM LEAP, so keep making the right choices, and line up your ducks for the most amazing second half in history.
What do you think? How would you improve your results? Did you take any ah ha’s from this article? Please comment below or Tweet me and I’ll reply back.