The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business owners
This is the fifth article in a monthly series on small business owners I have met or worked with over the years who developed beautiful successful businesses.
Stories of successful real business owners
In 35 years of doing business and working with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met, I’ve learned a very important lesson: Success in small business starts by building great habits. I call these practices the “7 Highly Chilled Habits” and I find they’re best illustrated with the stories of real business owners who I happen to have had the pleasure of coaching.
The articles are based on my E-book, The 7 Habits of Highly Chilled Small Business Owners. All of my books and other resources are available for free here
Highly Chilled Business Owners Say "No" a Lot
In order to build a Highly Chilled business, you must have a succinct, one-sentence answer to the question: “Why does your business exist and why would anybody care about that?”
BTW, You can read up on Chilled habit #1: Be dependable here
- Read habit #2: Be Specific here
- Read habit #3: Be On Top of the numbers here
- Read habit #4: Be Thrifty here
In the early days of my building business, I basically tried to take on any building job that came along for any client that walked past my door. I was inexperienced in business, and I figured that we had to achieve at least 2 million dollars in turnover if I was going to have enough money left over. The upshot of this was lots of frustration and heartache (for myself and some of my clients), and very little money.
Luckily, I learnt from my mistakes. I realised what we were good at and what we weren’t so good at. Some years later, I decided to specialise and focus on renovations to old terraced houses in Sydney’s inner city. I had an affinity for them. I also understood the challenges and opportunities. We developed an expertise in these projects and offered a unique package of building and design services aimed at the owners of terraced houses.
Building Up the Courage
Picking this niche started turning my building business around. However, the biggest turning point came when I built up enough courage to start saying “no” to building projects that fell outside of our narrow speciality.
I became happier, as did our customers. We started making money. We even went well beyond the turnover target I had dreamt about early on.
That was the first time I understood how important it is to be able to answer the Big Question of Small Business: “Why does your business exist, what’s it on this earth for, and why would anybody care about that?”
Our Purpose (with a capital “P”) in the building company became: “To make the process of renovating your terraced house a joy.”
Be Focused, Like Jo
In the past 12 years, I’ve helped many small business owners become completely clear about the Big Question and then watched them build Highly Chilled small businesses. One of these people is named Jo and she has built a Highly Chilled web development business. This is her website.
When I met Jo, she was struggling on many fronts. She worked day and night, but she still made very little money. Essentially, Jo was in the same place I’d been in the early stages of my building career. She felt frustrated and stressed because she took on every job that came up.
Over a 6-month period, we set about discovering her strengths and weaknesses, what gets her out of bed in the morning and who her perfect clients are. We ended up with this Purpose statement: “We make it easy for companies to do business online.”
The day we nailed that statement, things started to turn around for Jo. It suddenly became easy to decide where to direct her focus, which opportunities to say “yes” to and most importantly, which to say “no” to.
6 months later and Jo is still working hard, but she’s having fun, her customers love her and she’s making money. Jo’s is a Highly Chilled business and Jo is a Highly Chilled small business owner.
Your Homework (The Chilled Kind)
Here’s a short exercise you could carry out to start the process of making this habit your own.
Practice Highly Chilled habit #5:
Grab a coffee or a wine and a piece of paper and pen. Brainstorm 50 sentences that start with the statement: “In my business, we strive to X”. It doesn’t matter if some of the sentences you write down feel silly. Simply scribbling lots and lots of options will help you get closer to the Purpose of your business.
Are you a small business owner who’s feeling the heat? Explore Highly Chilled habit #6 here as soon as it is live on my blog here