I loved “Paint by Numbers” when I was a kid.
Maybe it was the rules based approach to art that I loved. I was so careful to paint the right colour into each of the numbered sections – but oh the pain when I went over the lines.
Business is like that – a mixture of art and rules, with lots of lines to cross and an array of different colours to be selected. Over the years I’ve come to believe that there really is a paint-by-numbers approach to building great businesses too – businesses that are true works of art. Think Xero.
As an aside, check out “Re-Imagine” by Tom Peters who outlines a great case for why design is so fundamental to building knock out economic successes. This book influenced my thinking a long time ago and continues to do so.
But I digress. Here in my view are the steps to take to paint your masterpiece.
Get your head right
Set out to win. Hold an awesome attitude in the face of any adversity. Be brutally honest with yourself and others and treat the business as your baby. Work your arse off.
Understand that a business is your economic powerhouse
It’s way more fun than Lotto or saving money and it holds the key to financial independence.
Know where you are going
Build a strategic plan. This is where lines are meant to be crossed and where the colour is way, way more important. Be audacious.
Get the Business Model right
What is your value proposition? Where are your customers? How will you serve them? What revenue streams will you have? Read “Business Model Generation” to help get this right.
Have the appropriate entity structures
Ensure things are set up tax effectively and can be scaled easily as your business grows. Get some good advice around this stuff.
Know where you are financially
Get Xero or go home.
Understand your numbers and share them with a kick arse accountant who helps you to grow. Just ask yourself this question. “Does your accountant look like they know how to grow their own business”? If not then think again about asking them to help you with yours.
Grow raving fans
Deliver an excellent product at the right price and then stun your customer with unexpected levels of great service.
Don’t be afraid to sell
Get out there New Zealand. Fill the pipeline and close the sale.
Cash is King
“Cashflow for Working” and “Cashflow for Growth”! Ensure you know where your cash is coming from and what you will need in the future.
Build a Great Team
Tolerate only “A players” to quote the late Steve Jobs. Don’t spend thousands (or millions) of dollars building a business to then go and tolerate poor performance. Work with great people and share the success.
Get High Level Help for peanuts
Compare the cost of hiring someone to help out around the office with spending half of that on getting some high level help in the areas that most need it. What will give you the better result?
Do what you do best
Don’t slog it out year after year doing stuff you hate. That is one of life’s great tragedies. Do what you love and probably therefore do best. Get help around the other stuff. The colour choices are all yours.