How do we build Great Small Businesses that Stand the Test of Time?

The Big Questions to build a great business

These are the 7 Big Questions that most business owners struggle with from time to time:

  1. About Business Growth: My business is stuck at a certain level… How can I  create more growth for my business?
  2. About Profit: I’m not making enough profit and cash… How can I make and keep more money?
  3. About Overwhelm and stuck: I am overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated… How can I become less overwhelmed and feel happier on a day to day basis?
  4. About Guidance: I feel alone in my business… How can I find the right support?
  5. Aboutf Work/life balance: I’m missing out on life, on family, and on friends… How can I find better balance between life and work
  6. About Personal development: I am spinning my wheels as a do-er rather than a leader… How can I become a better business owner and leader?
  7. About Family Business: We are struggling with the challenges of being business partners as well as life partners… How can we negotiate our roles as business and life partners better?

I have created a page on my website addressing each of The 7 Big Questions with links to many relevant resources both on my websites as well as throughout the internet. Below follows a summary of each of the 7 Big Question pages:

How can I create more growth for my business?

business growth strategySummary: Seth Godin made a great statement some years ago on his blog. He said: To build a great business you only have to do two things: first you have to do great work or deliver a great product and second you have to make sure lots of people know about it. And that’s exactly how simple it is to build a Great Business that Stands the Test of time. As with so many things in life, it’s easier said than done. Business growth is about research and product and systems and quality assurance and innovation and inventory management and people management and everything in between and then when you get that right, it’s about customers, and marketing and sales and social media and communications and PR and SEO and content marketing and advertising and design and branding and of course leadership and you might well argue that before all of that comes Visioning, Mission, Purpose, Goal setting and Strategic planning. In short Business growth touches all aspects of business. Read More Here…

How can I make and keep more money?

make more profitSummary: A business that doesn’t make profit and that doesn’t generate cash flow isn’t a business, it’s a hobby. Profit is not the Purpose of business, and nor is generating Cash the reason the business exists, but without profit and cash it is not possible for the business to deliver on it’s Purpose. Business growth will have an impact on the flow of profit and money in the business, both positively and negatively, but many other aspects of business have an impact as well. There’s pricing, discounting, inventory management, costing, trade terms , collection policies and procedures, expense management, cost control and many other aspects of business will determine the profitability and sustainability of your business. And on the other hand there is financial management. The management , reporting and analysing of the flow of profit and money through the business. Having your fingers on the pulse of all of the key indicators of the health of your business every day, week, month and year. Management of the numbers in other words. Read More Here…

How can I become less overwhelmed and feel happier on a day to day basis?

overwhelm business funSummary: In my experience, business owners operate in a state of overwhelm many days of the week. They’re often the first in the door in the morning, the last out the door at night and have to catch up on their admin and email after dinner. They run around from crisis to crisis most days, extinguishing brush fires along the way. Staff don’t seem able to tie their own shoe laces without input and supervision from the boss. Customers expect the business owner personally to solve all their problems, immediately,  rather than the perfectly qualified and expensive staff that are employed by the business for that purpose. As a result, the critical business development projects are constantly pushed back and the business gets stuck in the mud. The way out of this overwhelm is to learn to focus on three letters FUN. Fun in Business is the opposite of overwhelm. Developing a discipline on making Business Fun again works, because when business is fun it means everything is working. Read More Here… 

How can I find the right support?

guidance coaching supportSummary: One of the most consistent complaints I hear from business owners is that it’s all down to them. They feel alone and unsure of themselves. They need to have a sounding board. The people around them don’t get it. The staff are affected by the decisions the business owner needs to make, and so are their spouses and family. Human beings work well with external accountability and advice. Independent external support is invaluable to any business owner who wants to build a Great Business that Stands the Test of Time. External support can take many forms: A mentor, a business or life coach, management consultant, a virtual board, an executive coaching group, a regular get together with a group of fellow business owner buddies or all of the above. One thing is for sure: Don’t think you can do it on your own. But how do you go about finding the right support for you? Read More Here…

How can I find a better balance between life and work?

work life balanceSummary: In the many years I’ve worked with business owners, I’ve come to believe that business owners are the most ‘guilt driven’ people on the planet, “worse than Catholics” I sometimes joke. Business owners generally go through life believing they are not up to the job in some way; And they tell themselves (and me), that to compensate for their perceived failures, they’ve got to work harder than anyone else in their business or else how could they ever ask their people to put in the hard yards when required? (see also what I wrote above about overwhelm). But in the mean time they’re missing out on the important stuff in life. Their health and well-being suffers, as are their family’s. For business owners to create a greater balance between work and life, the first step is to acknowledge that owning a business is never a 9-to-5 job, you probably won’t ever be able to close the door behind you on the way home entirely. The business is your baby, you’ve put your heart and soul into it and it’s part of who you are as a person. Once you acknowledged that fact, the immediate next step is to recognise that your own time, your health and your general well-being are the most valuable and important assets of your business and as the business owner it is your prime responsibility to look after your assets. In other words, not looking after yourself and ensuring you are in a great physical and mental state means you are not taking your responsibilities as the owner of the business seriously. Once you’ve learnt to accept the realities of those two principles (contradictory as they might seem from time to time), you’re on the path to create the business and life you dream off. Read More Here…

How can I become a better business owner and leader?

leadershipSummary: As I’ve said above in the “work – life – balance” summary, most business owners feel they’re not quite cutting it as entrepreneurs. Often times, business owners start their business on the back of a profession, a trade or a skill they have learnt (plumber, architect, accountant, chef) and they feel confident in that particular skill. But when they start a business based on that profession, they suddenly realise that it takes a lot more than being a great plumber to build a great plumbing business. Few business owners have studied to be a business owner, and even those who have attained an MBA or similar qualification, find that they’re not prepared for the realities of life as a small business owner. Suddenly everything is down to you, the big decisions about whether or not to bid for that contract, or hire that expensive employee, or sign the lease for the new office, as well as making sure the toilets are stocked with toilet paper and that there’s ink for the printer. To top it off, your people look to you for having vision, having the answers and being the leader. It’s a frightening place to stand in the middle off, but there are three pieces of good news: (1) You got this far and you’re still breathing so you must be doing something right. (2) Your people actually want you to be the leader and they’re ready to forgive you just about any balls up you’re going to make along the way. (3) Leadership is something you can learn, practice and get better at. Read More Here…

Family business: How can we negotiate our roles as business and life partners better?

husband and wife family businessSummary: As I’ve said above in the “better business owner” summary, many businesses are founded on the profession of the business owner. The plumber starts a plumbing business and the lawyer starts a law practice. A little way into the life of the business, the founder of the business, along with the spouse of the founder starts to appreciate that it takes more than being a great lawyer to build a great lawyer business and the business flounders. Often, it is at this point that the spouse decides to enter the business as well, to sort out the chaos, in no small measure, to protect the interests of the family, and the family business is born. 70% of all businesses in Australia are family businesses and a large percentage of those can be classed as husband and wife family businesses. In my experience there is wonderful opportunity in being in business with your spouse. It holds the possibility of providing for your family very well and there is a great opportunity to grow as a couple. But waking up beside your business partner in bed every morning also comes with a bunch of unique challenges. Read More Here…