Recently a young entrepreneur I was having lunch with asked a great question. He is going into the second year of his business and is a little concerned that he is doing all he could and should do to make his business work. He asked me, “What should entrepreneurs be doing right now?” Well, here’s what I told him. There are a lot of things; here are the top 3.
1) Getting out and about. Nothing is accomplished by sitting back and complaining. If you do nothing, nothing will happen, so now’s the time to get to work. I would be calling on clients, visiting them whenever possible and I would be asking them what you can do to improve your business. I would also be looking for new clients as well. They are literally everywhere. Think about what makes up your current clients, what’s common about them. Find others like the ones you have. Take them to lunch, search LinkedIn and Facebook for them and get to any networking event you can where they might be. When you Make Friends, you Make Sales.
2) Planning for the Year Ahead. There is no doubt that things will turn around; we just don’t know when. So, now is the time to be planning for the future. Have 2 plans, one for the best case scenario and one for what most likely will happen. Oh, sure, you can do one for the worst case, but I choose not to think about that right now. I have way too much confidence in myself. After all, you’ve gotten this far, right? Things to think about are as follows: What are gross sales going to be? Profits? What will you spend on marketing? What are the best measurements to follow and track your success? Revenue per employee is a good one, for example. Spend some time thinking about what you did not do well in the last 2 years and put a plan in place to make improvements. I am amazed at how few people do this. They just wake up every day and go to work and never fix the things that are broken. Businesses are a lot like cars; if you take care of them, repair the broken items, they tend to perform very well for a long period of time.
3) Tell and Show your people you appreciate them. A lot of companies have a team full of scared people. There aren’t many of us who don’t know firsthand the struggles the last 2 years have brought to people. The best thing you can do with your team is to be honest. Tell them the truth. They need to see information. Share your sales with them, at least. If you don’t want to share your profit numbers, then talk about your business in terms that they can understand. Think about what you would want to know if you worked at the company you own and try to do that. I’m amazed at what 100 bucks worth of pizzas do for morale. And I’m equally amazed at what a little 10-minute talk with a teammate can do for them and for you. Just tell them you appreciate them and show it by looking them in the eye and asking them how they are doing. The latter is affordable no matter what your budget is.
While I’ve got you, thanks for allowing me to come into your world for about 3 minutes each week. Might I ask a favor of you? If you like this week’s message, would you please forward it on to 5 of your friends and tell them to sign up for my weekly Great Idea? I’m trying to grow my business and sure could use your help. Also, if you’re on Facebook or LinkedIn, I am too and I’d love to add you to my lists.
See how easy it was to ask for help? Why can’t you do the same to help grow your own business?
Talk to you next week. Don’t forget to sign up for GROW! 2010….it would be silly to miss this event; trust me on that one.