Why the business basics matter | Sharn Rayner
Making that decision to start a business, for most people that want to branch out on their own, is such an exciting life experience. It’s a bit like falling in love – you are high on life, focus only on the positive, the future is bright. There is so much hope and optimism; and, just like falling in love – we don’t see flaws. We see quirks, because we really are looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses.
Equally, as new business owners, we are enthusiastic about being our own boss, working the hours we want, having work/life balance, being paid top dollar as all the revenue comes to us… everything feels so wonderful as we embark on a new adventure – what could possibly go wrong?
Well, business statistics in NZ do suggest that things can indeed, go quite wrong. The good news of course is that no-one expects you as a new business owner to know everything and as a leadership expert, Robin S Sharma was quoted to say:
“Every master was once a beginner.”
Even though as a business owner you may (read: most likely will) make mistakes along the way, these arguably can set you up for greater success – assuming you learn from them of course!
So, with a growth mindset and commitment to get the basics in place – you stand a much greater chance of success.
Know your why
Why are you doing what you are doing? Why does what you do matter to you or anyone else? In particular your target market – why will your business offering make a difference and be different?
If your mind is busily re-affirming that your product is the best, it’s less expensive, you have a better team… you are missing the point.
As Simon Sinek says:
“The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.”
That’s your vision, your legacy, the difference you will make in this world. People aren’t loyal to features, benefits and facts, again Simon Sinek infamously stated:
“People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it.”
If you are not familiar with The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek, I highly recommend that you watch this video and re-consider your ‘why.’
If you don’t know where you are going, how do you know that you got there?
When we plan our annual holiday from work – generally, we know where we are going, and we know why we want to go there, be that Hawaii for the surf, beach, culture and shopping or a staycation holiday to do the gardening or decorate the house. We are specific about what the end goal is and what we want our outcome to be – we have purpose, even if that is to do nothing!
So much like a holiday, we need to know where we are going with our business. We regularly work with business owners that float from one year to the next, with no strategy, no roadmap and at best a loose plan in their head around the revenue result that they would like for the year.
Yet those who are clear on their roadmap and what the journey ahead looks like, know what the milestones or sights along the way are – and take time to appreciate these, moving past each sight en route is an indicator of progress forward. These business owners have thought about resources needed to get them from A to B – fuel, snacks, drinks. They also have taken in to account likely challenges which could impact on arriving at the destination on time – a blown tyre, roadworks, even deviating for a particular intriguing scenic sight. They also know when they have arrived and what awaits the at the end of the journey.
In short, having a roadmap or strategy helps ensure that you get to where you are going and know when you get there. As a business owner – build your strategy, ensuring it is a living document which clearly shows what actions are required, by who and when, across all functional areas of your business from HR and operations, sales and marketing, finance and technology. Be ready for whatever detours arise and measure your success against milestones.
People power – the right team can bring visions to reality
Business owners will often have tales of woe when it comes to leading teams – often there will be teams or individuals that just don’t seem to be hitting the mark in terms of productivity and performance, or there may be concerns around engagement and commitment. If this is the case in your business, what are you doing to lead the change required?
- Start with sharing the vision, your why, your purpose – people want to contribute to businesses that make a difference.
- Share your roadmap – the key goals you want to achieve as a team in the next year or even just the next 90 days.
- Encourage your team to take ownership and accountability for driving their results and ensure that you know what their personal goals are too – so that you can align your success and that of your team. Help them be the best they can be by committing to building their capability.
These simple steps, will ultimately support retention of high performers, encourage greater engagement, increase customer satisfaction and contribute to building a robust positive culture in the workplace.
Love your customers
This essentially goes back to why you do what you do. Understanding your clients or customers and their wants, needs and values will go a long way to create loyal relationships and partnerships. Look at every encounter with your clients – what could be improved or enhanced on the customer journey to give an experience unlike any other?
Being the best we can be as business owners, really starts with mastering the basics, which is really no different when it comes to creating valued relationships in life. You need to know what makes you tick; how you connect optimally with others so that you both gain value in the relationship; what you want to achieve; and, how to surround yourself with the right people to help you get to your goals faster.