I have been fortunate to work with some great small business clients over a lot of years. I’ve been in the privileged position of trusted advisor, where I am able to ask whatever I want to know and my questions are answered honestly. I am told the truth because there is no need for them to make things seem better than they really are. In fact, if they were to do that it would make it less likely that I could help them.
My best clients make profits of more than $1M, have long term key employees and have a reputation that enable them to attract business at a premium price.
From time to time I reflect on how they did this and what set them apart from other business owners that constantly push sand uphill and struggle to make a decent living. Here’s what I came up with:
– They understood that nothing ever provided a better return than investing in themselves. They were always learning and eventually they became recognised as leaders in their field.
– They understood that a fast wrong decision was often better than a slow correct decision. They didn’t miss opportunities through procrastination.
– They knew that success was often determined by the opportunities they walked away from. They understood that chasing two rabbits results in catching neither.
– They tackled projects with pig headed discipline and demonstrated enormous resilience when things didn’t go according to plan.
– They worked long hours, but they loved what they did so much that they didn’t think of it as work.
– They sought advice from experts and understood the difference between value and cost.
– No matter what they achieved, they constantly sought better ways to do things. The strived to stand out in a sea of sameness.
– They understood that sunk costs were sometimes not recoverable and they were good at saying “next”.
– They attracted employees who believed what they believed and they encouraged them to aim for the same high standards.
– They talked with passion to anyone and everyone they encounter about their projects, business and industry.
So, can any business owner do these things and if they do are they assured of success? I believe every business owner (with an investment of time and effort) can get better at all these things and significantly improve their chances of success.