Assuming that tomorrow will be great is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur. I have learnt at a very young age just how quickly good times can turn bad: complacency is the number 1 killer in business!
As an entrepreneur you always need to be prepared to give 100%, and then more, even when the going is good. You need to consistently work harder and smarter than you ever thought you could.
So what does it take to succeed?
1. Clear and specific objectives
You need to have clear and simple objectives and the more specific they are the better it is for the business. Without very clear achievable objectives you could quickly veer of course, in addition they provide a roadmap that will propel you and your staff forward.
Your objectives should include targets, revenue, budgets, profits and so on. In your projections always overestimate your costs and have a revenue and profit figure you know you need to drive towards.
Make sure your staff are clear on your objectives and the reasons why. If they buy into it, then your whole company is pulling in the same direction.
If you get your key staff to help come up with the strategies, they naturally become spokesmen for the company culture to drive these strategies forward.
2. Apply the pressure daily
Every day you need to focus on achieving these objectives and the targets you set, if you do so you will avoid the last minute scramble. Remember: “you go home when the job is done”.
Most people are quite happy to push tasks and projects off until tomorrow; this can quickly roll into your monthly sales and collections.
This is what I mean: “I missed target this month, but don’t worry we will catch it up next month”. Why would it be possible to exceed the target next month but miss it this month? In my experience it’s usually not!
People are inherently lazy and will look for reasons to put things off. Now this may not only be your staff but your customers too. So if you are applying the pressure daily you are more likely to succeed.
3. Drive your business like it’s a matter of life or death
I don’t care how much money you have in the bank, you always need to drive your business like it’s a matter of life or death.
Run your business lean wherever possible, every last cent wasted is directly out of your pocket. If you had to pay cash for everything again, you will realise just how hard it is to give away.
Keep your eye on the best and worst performing products and staff in your business. It’s important to be proactive and adjust or give guidance but sometimes it also means making the hard decisions.
Anything or anyone not generating profits in some way or another is stealing money off your bottom line.
5. Tackle things head on
Being shrewd in business means never sticking your head in the sand, tackle things head on and tick them off. The longer problems linger the more it costs you.
6. Grow your management structure
You need to keep growing your people and most importantly your management structure. If you can manage a small group of effective people, then you can be more strategic in growing your business. It’s also sometimes difficult to see the wood for the trees when you are so operational and too close to the problems.
7. Check in
Take a step back every quarter and realign your strategies. Always keep your eye on the market and competition; never allow yourself and your business to become irrelevant. If you have a great product/ service with a clear value proposition, then you will always have a platform to sell off.