The greatest opportunities come from the most difficult moments
It’s easy to start a business. Some may argue it’s easy to grow a business. The truth is that every entrepreneur will experience a difficult moment (or many) that will lead them to one of two decisions: close down the business OR lean in and create real value. Tough times are where real lesson are learnt and experience is gained.
Humans are about creativity – machines are about productivity
There is a lot of talk these days about the impact that computers are having in the workplace. Similar to robots taking the jobs of assembly line workers we are witnessing computers take the jobs of administrators, bookkeepers and any one else whose primary task is to move information around. This evolution shouldn’t surprise us and yet many entrepreneurs are not taking advantage of these changes to easily grow their business. I think there is a simple reason for this and it’s based on a principle that at one time needed to be taught and now is simply baked into every business that offers a product or service to the market.
“A business will make money in a down market and collect it in an up market”
Running a business isn’t easy. Every day there are challenges, opportunities, tasks and issues that all contribute to where a business finds itself at any given time. To help get through the daily grind an entrepreneur will use business coaches, consultants, webinars, training sessions and many other tools to ensure they are building their business properly. While these tools are very helpful there are certain principles that an entrepreneur can follow to guide their efforts each day. One of those principles is understanding what your business is fundamentally trying to do each day – is it learning how to make money or is it collecting money and reinvesting the results? This may seem like a strange concept but your ability to understand it can have a profound change in how you approach the daily grind of your business.
It’s not unusual for an entrepreneur to remind me that they are not experts at financial “stuff” and simply know their product or service really well. The brave and confident ones tell me that they may not even know their product or service really well but that they can sell. Whatever the case may be I have discovered there is really only one formula that matters when it comes to business:
This question seems to be a conversation piece that is coming up a lot in recent meetings with entrepreneurs. It’s a funny question because most entrepreneurs think they are building a business but spend their days working in their business in an actual role that they could hire out. By working in the business as an employee, the owner of a business is not being paid for the risks being taken and there is no real value being created. Generally speaking, employers look to leverage the cost of an employee to produce a return. For example, if your business pays an employee $1 you would expect to earn back the $1 plus some amount of profit to compensate you for the risk you assume running the business. The risks you assume should line up with the value you believe you can build. If your product or service is priced right and you have a stable customer base, then a business owner should be able to generate money and value without needing to do any of the work themselves. So why do business owners get stuck being employees?
“We are not going to make payroll this week” says someone from the accounting team to the entrepreneur(s) running the business. “WHAT! How the #$*! did that happen?” is the response followed by a series of emotionally charged words that would make anyone listening feel very awkward 😳.
Believe it or not this conversation is not unusual. In fact, any company that is growing and reaching new levels of revenue will most likely have a conversation like this a few times on their journey. Conversations like this usually lead to more conversations about the broken parts of a business that result in cash not being available to meet obligations.
Many entrepreneurs and business owners dream of growing their business and generating massive amounts of profit but few actually achieve this. There are probably thousands of content pieces available to inspire, educate and provide instruction on how to successfully grow your business and yet many businesses fail, hit a peak or never really get traction. The few that do are success cases that prove it can be done but somehow seem to be just out of reach for the every day entrepreneur working away at their dream. Why is this? I believe its because what seems to be a simple question can’t be answered and isn’t even contemplated by many individuals running a business.