1. Systems are crucial
What are some of the important things to do for success? The first is to implement great systems to eliminate frustrations in your business and permit you to pursue growth. Some great businesses can operate as one-man band or with a few staff, often including a life partner.
However, as the company grows, the potential for mistakes creep in. You see it with plumbers, electricians and others in the building game. The bigger they get the more mistakes they make, the worse their customer service becomes. They start getting headaches and then complain about being big.
This is systems failure. Great businesses have great systems for financials, customer service, staff management, time management and sales.
Some really smart business owners determined to grow their operations employ a business manager who asks and answers the important business questions that determine the growth of a business.
2. What’s another thing I can do to be successful?
The next important building block of business success is to think laterally, or as Edward de Bono would say, outside the square.
This lateral thinking should extend to all aspects of a business, from marketing to staff motivation to total management.
The ‘out there’ thinking suggests the creation of an edge, or an early adopter of a smart technique or idea.
It could be as simple as this little customer follow-up process. In the age of electronic madness, the old-fashioned hand-written thank you note works a treat. The sterility of computer-generated envelopes – and, of course, bills – makes hand-written communication a must-read for clients.
Or it could be an idea to reorganise the way you run your business, as in the case of real estate agent John McGrath.
He gave himself an edge by making his top agents operate as an autonomous small business within his big business. It meant the employee mentality gave way to the driven commitment of a business owner. It also meant they could employ others to do administration work at lower hourly wage rates while they found time to chase new clients.
On the marketing front you can be really ahead of the pack and yet really basic, as in the case of Tim Pethick, the founder of Nudie fruit juice.
He used what the experts call tribal marketing to build market presence and brand. Combined with an outrageous Nudie character on purple vans – more lateral thinking Pethick embarked on a massive giveaway program. It was the best way for him to get the biggest bang for his marketing buck, but that wasn’t all.
He also gave away a flyer that said to the recipients of the free juice that if they liked the product they should take the flyer to their local shopkeepers so they would know how to get it in.
Sometimes the lateral thinking can be old-fashioned, but relentless, as in the case of ‘Aussie’ John Symond of Aussie Home Loans fame.
Symond, along with Wizard founder Mark Bouris, built their brand by digging deep and paying for a comprehensive public relations campaign. Targeting journalists, the pair not only offered a significant product, they helped journalists tell their story.
Others use their customers to come up with smart, edge-creating ideas. The Australian company Breville says that many of its best innovations have come from customers who have sent back their warranty cards after a purchase with a suggestion or a question that asked why a certain product could not do this or that as well.
The fact that juice machines now are easy to assemble and clean partly explains the explosion in the sales of juicers nowadays.
3. What about passion?
This brings you to the final big characteristic of winning businesses — passion or focus.
Wordsmiths could say there is a difference, but in successful entrepreneurs they come as an inseparable couple.
The business gold medal winners train for their business with passion, developing their skills like Roger Federer. They seek out coaches to ensure they are not missing anything and they are focused on their goals. And of course they compete — they love it.
Not sure who once said this, but it is so good that it must be shared with you: ‘To achieve the impossible, one must think the absurd; to look where everyone else has looked, but to see what no else has seen.’
Great systems give you the time to think laterally and passionate focus ensures you see the vision splendid.