Business and Operations
Seven tips to breathe life into your business
By Bill McBean
By Bill McBean
Oct. 10, 2012 – Bill McBean, author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don't, offers seven tips to help new businesses succeed.
Oct. 10, 2012 – Doomed from the start. If you’re an entrepreneur or an entrepreneur-hopeful, it’s probably difficult to keep those four words from causing you to second guess your every move as you plan and run your business. They become especially hard to ignore when you consider the fact that less than 30 per cent of businesses last more than 10 years, and most failures happen within the first few years of operation. The truth is, many things could go wrong: an ill-conceived business idea, poor planning, lack of capital, ineffective leadership, and more. In the high stakes world of running a business, those are the facts.
Bill McBean, author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don’t, offers seven tips to help you build a strong foundation of your business.
1. If you don’t lead, no one will follow.
At first, this statement seems mind-numbingly obvious. But often, leadership is one of those words that is thrown around by people who haven’t given much thought to what it looks like in action. McBean notes that good business leadership begins with defining the destination and direction of your company and deciding how the business should look and operate when it arrives. But it doesn’t stop there. It also involves developing and continuously improving on a set of skills in order to move your business from where it is today to where you want it to be tomorrow.
2. If you don’t control it, you don’t own it.
Control is the owner’s management reality. If you don’t control your company by defining key tasks and dictating how they must be handled, and inspect what you expect, then you don’t truly own the business because all you are is a spectator watching others play with your money.
3. Protecting your company’s assets should be your first priority.
Were you surprised because this fact didn’t instruct you to first protect your company’s sales, profits, and growth? If so, you’re not alone. But the truth is, assets – which include both tangible and intangible assets – are what power sales, profits, and growth. Usually, owners and soon-to-be owners understand the need for insurance on assets like their buildings and equipment. In fact, bankers insist on insuring specific assets they lend money on like facilities, equipment, and sometimes even insurance on an owner’s life. However, successful owners don’t stop at protecting obvious assets. They understand the importance of every asset, because assets represent invested cash, which should be managed to produce exceptional and maximized profits.
4. Planning is about preparing for the future, not predicting it.
Nobody knows what tomorrow, next week, or next year will bring for your business. But you can make educated guesses based on the most current, accurate information available as well as your own past experiences, and this should be an ongoing process. Effective planning, McBean asserts, is a mix of science (gathering pertinent information) and art (taking that information and turning it into a plan that will move your business from A to B over a specific time period).
5. If you don’t market your business, you won’t have one.
Maybe working to market and advertise your product isn’t your cup of tea. Or maybe you believe your product is so great that it should speak for itself. If so, too bad – you’re going to have to do it anyway. The bottom line is, if people don’t know about your product, you won’t be successful.
6. The marketplace is a war zone.
Every company has competitors, and if it doesn’t and it’s successful, it soon will. Successful owners know they have to fight not only to win market share but to retain it as well. McBean advises developing a warrior mentality and maintain it for as long as you’re at the head of your business.
7. You don’t just have to know the business you’re in; you have to know business.
Yes, of course you need to know the inner workings and nuances of your particular industry if you want to be successful. But you also need to understand the various aspects of business as it is more broadly defined, such as accounting, finance, business law, personnel issues, and more, and how all of these impact each other and the decisions you make.
Bill McBean is the author of The Facts of Business Life: What Every Successful Business Owner Knows That You Don't. For more information, visit www.FactsofBusinessLife.com .