3rd March 2011

Thoughts About Being in Business

I am privileged to work with business owners and business leaders.

They are a unique breed. They have to be. There is only a very small proportion of the population who have the courage, the daring and the “cojones” to go into business, often putting everything they have on the line to pursue their dream.

Being in business provides a unique viewpoint on the world, and it demands a unique viewpoint of the world. Unlike many other positions in life owning a business means that there is no hiding place. If the business doesn’t work, the effects are pretty immediate: the business will cease to exist. There are very few businesses, particularly SME’s, which are able to survive for any length of time if they don’t make a profit, or generate cash, or both.

If a business doesn’t provide value to its customers, those customers will either not buy at all or buy elsewhere.

If a business doesn’t look after its staff those staff members will either go elsewhere, or worse yet, come into work and take the money while giving the minimum commitment for that money.

So running and owning a business has some very specific downsides.

Owning and running a business can be ruthless, immediate and final.

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century the competition is ever more fierce and ever more widespread. We face competition from every corner of the globe and every angle, and yet running a successful business is still the best way to achieve the things we want from life, and running a successful business is not only fun but immensely satisfying.

Often the people who run businesses are passionate, talented, daring and brave but that is no longer enough. To beat the odds, and the odds are that 80% of all businesses will fail within 5 years and another 80% of the survivors will not last the next 5 years, there needs to be something else. Business owners and business leaders need to become professional business people. They need to improve in the business of business, not just today but every day.

As Jim Rohn said “Get better or get beaten”. That means get better at the business of running a business, not just at the technical side of the job.

If you want to succeed tomorrow, you need to be planning and practicing to excel the day after tomorrow.

Action Point.
To understand whether you are in the habit of learning new stuff take ten minutes to write down all of the new things that you have learnt within the last week about, people, how businesses work, how teams work, new theories within your industry, a new practice from another industry you could adopt, and understanding how the brain works.
If you managed to write all of that down within the ten minutes, you might want to think about whether you are learning enough.
If you needed more than the ten minutes, well done. Now go back through the list and mark all the things that you have not yet implemented from your list.