This is an edited extract from the best selling award winning book “The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success”
The biggest risk for most businesses, if they survive the first year, is not whether they will fail. Most won’t. The biggest risk is that they will stay small. Whether by design or not. Recent ABS data show that 98% of micro-businesses stay that way. That is, they are Micro-Stayers.
There are a number of reasons that businesses may stay in the Micro-Stayer group. It could be a lifestyle choice. Work-Life balance is becoming more and more important to many people. It may be because they don’t have the knowledge to take their business to the next level, and become frustrated Micro-Stayers. Or they may have progressed from frustrated to resigned Micro-Stayers and have adjusted lifestyle and ambition in recognition of this.
Businesses that involuntarily stay small, the Micro-Stayers, do so for five key reasons.
1. No Vision for their business. Without a vision, it is not possible to create a plan. The business becomes directionless. Without a vision it is impossible to work out which opportunities to say yes to, and just as importantly, which ones to avoid. Owners without a vision find decision making difficult. They are fashion followers. They expend a lot of time and money trying different things then dropping them when they don’t get immediate results.
Without a vision, you cannot have a strategy. Strategy is the lever that lifts you to the next level. A strategy focuses your efforts and resources to where you will get maximum value. A Laser Beam rather than a Light Bulb. Strategy gives you the biggest Bang for your Buck. This is particularly important when you don’t have too many bucks.
2. No Passion or Commitment. Passion comes from the right vision, and creates the Commitment that will drive you to achieving your goals. If you are passionate about your business, you will be prepared to make the sacrifices in time, money and effort to achieve your goals.
Passion infects others. Your staff, your suppliers, your customers. If you have no passion for your business, why would anyone else around you? And when others believe as you do, you can turn mountains into molehills.
Commitment will drive you to persevere. Any plan will have flaws. But without commitment, you can be diverted by even the smallest obstacles to achieving your goals.
3. No Goals or Plan. On its own, vision is not enough. Your vision may be that you will be best in town, and to be the dominant player, but if you don’t set goals and plan, your vision will remain a dream, and we all know how often they come true! As you create your goals and plan, you will start identifying opportunities. Many people believe that they don’t get the opportunity, but if you don’t know what an opportunity looks like, it will pass you by.
If you continue to miss opportunities as they are presented, the chances are that your business will not grow.
Plans also create a belief in your success. If you have no plan, how can you realistically believe you can be a success? What creates belief is a great plan backed up by knowledge. If you have both of these, why wouldn’t you have the confidence that you would be successful?
4. Owners not Valuing their Time. You only have 24 hours in the day, and how you spend those hours will dictate whether you will be able to achieve your goals. It is not possible to work on your business when you are spending all your time working in it. If you are spending a lot of time doing tasks that you could pay others to do, you will never be able to grow.
But owners don’t pay others to do work because they don’t have the vision of how their business will be and the belief that their business will be a success. If you know your business will be successful, employing others to undertake work for you is just part of your plan.
5. Lack of Business Knowledge. This may be obvious, but it does not mean you have to be an expert at everything. But the fundamental business knowledge such as the concepts in this book, will enable you to seek out advice and support in those areas in which you are not expert. When you value your time, you will also understand the value of knowledge. After all, the right kind of knowledge can greatly increase the speed at which you reach your goals. If you achieved your 2 year goals in one year, how much would that be worth to you? How much would you be prepared to invest to attain such knowledge?
Even so, people are concerned about the price of knowledge. But you can get knowledge in many ways. From buying a book. Can’t afford a book? Go to the library! Courses are fairly low cost. Individual advice is, of course, more expensive, but it is much more specific to your business and is likely to produce faster results.
If an owner is not willing to invest in their own education, and sees that as a cost instead, they have just resigned themselves to the school of hard knocks which usually extracts a far higher cost than any of the previously mentioned ways of gaining knowledge. Lack of knowledge creates a ceiling for your business.
If business owners don’t address ALL of these key factors, they are unable to grow beyond a certain level, and the owner becomes frustrated, and ultimately resigned to being a Micro-Stayer. Successfully implementing the Five Pillars will ensure that you will address all of these reasons businesses stay small.
May Your Business Be –As You Plan it!
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Dr Greg Chapman is the Director of Empower Business Solutions and is Australia's Leading Advisor on Emerging Businesses and provides Coaching and Consulting advice to Australian Small Business Owners in Marketing & Business Strategies Planning & Systems. He is also the author of The Five Pillars of Guaranteed Business Success and Price: How You Can Charge More Without Losing Sales.
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