I’ve been a small business owner, entrepreneur and a business advisor for over twenty years now and I’ve seen a lot of garbage advice dished up to owners of small and medium sized businesses. I usually don’t like confrontation, but I’ve had enough. I have to make a stand and tell it like it is. In this article, I’m going to tell you to ignore the advice you are currently getting and I’m going to give you the advice you should be listening to.
I know that running your business isn’t easy and it’s hard to grow successfully, but just managing to survive is not a worthy goal. Why do you find it difficult to achieve the business goals you really want?
Perhaps you’ve been getting poor advice.
Most of the business advice you have heard is probably hurting you more than helping. Particularly when that advice is about how to be a better manager than about how to be a better entrepreneur.
The real issue here is that most of the advice given to small and medium size business owners is about managing to survive. I call that a “management” approach based on small thinking that tends to limit business to maintaining the same level.
I prefer to work with an “entrepreneurial” approach, which is about taking maximum advantage of opportunities.
The two approaches are quite different. A manager’s role is to perform a job to achieve a certain result. It is normally about maintenance – maintaining the status quo in the way the business operates, maintaining sales levels, maintaining customer relationships, maintaining employee levels and working processes, etc. Entrepreneurship however, is a bigger concept.
An entrepreneur identifies opportunities and finds new ways to capitalise on the opportunity by providing a product or service for a profit. An entrepreneur is never satisfied with the status quo, but is always focused on business growth, expanding sales by discovering new ways to service the same market or finding new markets. An entrepreneur wants to get the biggest and best return on the investment of time and money into any venture.
The fact that so many businesses remain small or medium size, rather than continually growing into large organisations, indicates that at some point, the leaders in the business make a choice to become managers and to maintain the status quo, instead of being entrepreneurs who continue to look for growth. This is often based on the advice of accountants or advisors who have no idea how to grow a really successful business. They are more concerned with survival than growth.
Whatever the reason for that decision, this choice means that the potential of the business is capped at that point and will probably never be fully exploited.
Think about your own situation. If your business has not grown much over the past few years it’s currently underperforming in relation to its full potential. Now, I don’t want you to get angry with me for suggesting that. I realise that is the risk I run in taking this hard line. But if you can see this through with me, you will discover that only good can come from this line of thinking. Let me issue you with a challenge that can only lead to a positive result for you.
Change the Way You Think!
First – Accept that it is possible that you can do much better. Think about it. Is there a business anywhere in the world in your industry or a similar industry that is much larger and achieving better results than you currently achieve? OK. You can do better. You just don’t know how yet.
Second – Open your mind to receive new ideas. Most of us aren’t doing as well as we could with what we already know, so there is probably already much room for improvement without new ideas. But new ideas, or innovative concepts, are the means of entrepreneurhip that lead to exponential growth rather than marginal improvement. Most people are so busy managing what they have to take the time to think about innovation. Not only is a management (or maintenance) approach limiting to potential, it is also extremely risky for long term survival. We can all think of numerous companies who once led the field in their industry, who quickly became irrelevant or extinct when a new innovation from another company changed the playing field in their industry.
Third – Accept that your current way of doing things in your business is limiting your results. This may be difficult. After all, most people usually credit their success to the way they are doing things. However, the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” is the language of losers. Entrepreneurship is about innovation and finding better ways to do things before the current methods are surpassed by competitors. Failing companies wait until their methods are obsolete before they start to make changes and then find themselves continually playing catch up. Entrepreneurship is about always looking for better ways to do things rather than maintaining the status quo.
So if you want to achieve real success in business, stop operating like a manager just trying to maintaining business at the current level. Start operating like an entrepreneur who is looking to maximise opportunities, maximise value, maximise growth, maximise results and maximise success. That’s true entrepreurship.
If you’d like to know more strategies to break through some of the limiting barriers that prevent you achieving your full potential, get a copy of my book, Run Your Business on Autopilot, available free here.
By Greg Roworth
Image courtesy of: playability_de