From Achieve Any Goal by Brian Tracy. It’s Not Where You Start—It’s How You Finish When I was eighteen, I left high school without graduating. My first job was as a dishwasher in the back of a small hotel. From there, I moved on to washing cars and then washing floors with a janitorial service. […]
The following is from “What’s the Big Idea? How One Idea Can Change Your Business and Your Life” by Mac Anderson
This is the second part of this series. Check out the first part here!
6. The ‘Devil Is in the Details’
Everyone knows that if you eat at a McDonald’s in New Jersey or New Mexico, you’ll experience the same quality…thanks to Founder Ray Kroc’s commitment to detail. Ray understood that if you focus on the small stuff’the myriad of details it takes to construct a burger in an assembly-line fashion’you’ll be rewarded with consistent quality and efficiency.
Regardless of what your product or service is, as an entrepreneur you’ll be faced with a long ‘to-do’ list’from developing a business plan, defining your customer niche, securing capital, laying the groundwork for your infrastructure, deciding your marketing plan, building relationships with suppliers, planning cash flow to hiring staff and launching day-to-day operations.
That ‘to-do’ list is often longer than there are hours in a day. But each element of a business is important and deserves its due because the ‘devil is in the details.’
Take the time to do the research and legwork, reaching out to experts (accountants, lawyers, marketers) for advice, when you need it. The more time you put in up-front, the smoother your transition to owning your own business will be.
7. Experiment and Listen to Your Customers
Landing your first customer is only the first step in making your business successful; you need to continually exceed your customers’ expectations to keep them coming back for more.
Outstanding customer service will help differentiate your business from the competition. Respond quickly to customer issues and resolve them with respect. Listening to your customers about what you are doing well and not so well provides an opportunity to fine tune products and processes or to uncover additional customer needs that you can fill with new products and services.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Sam Walton continually tinkered with pricing, promotion and distribution strategies before hitting upon the combination that made Walmart the global success story it is today. Experimentation is key to finding the winning formula for success.
8. Select the Right People for Your Team
As an entrepreneur with a Big Idea, you already have a number of skills that you need to succeed’innovation, commitment, and confidence. Another part of being successful is recognizing the skills that you lack and then hiring the right people to complement your team.
‘I experienced this first hand when I started Successories. My former Creative Director, Mike McKee, brought not only his creative talents, but also his ideas and enthusiasm for my new venture. Together, we created an unstoppable team.’
They say that the ‘whole is the sum of its parts.’ That’s never been more true than in business, where someone else’s passion may be just what’s needed to do what you cannot do well.
Look for those who share your values and your vision. Working together, with a passion for the same cause, will prove to be an unbeatable combination.
9. Value Your Employees
Southwest Airlines’ former CEO Herb Kelleher said it best, ‘You have to treat your employees like customers,’ he told Fortune in 2001. ‘When you treat them right, then they will treat your outside customers right.’
While there’s no arguing that equitable compensation and benefits are at the top of any employee’s list, to keep your employees motivated, you need to make them feel valued and recognized for their contributions. As a small business owner, you’re in a unique position to offer life/work balance perks, seek input on business tactics, provide opportunities for people to grow in their jobs, express appreciation for a job well done, and most of all to treat everyone with respect and dignity.
10. Persistence Wins the Race
Launching your Big Idea is just the beginning of your success as an entrepreneur. There will be many obstacles along the way, some of which you expect to encounter…and some which will blindside you. Each entrepreneur profiled in this book held the courage of his or her convictions and didn’t give up when times got rough.
Fred Smith had to overcome a number of hurdles to get Federal Express off the ground, literally! Whether it was governmental regulations, rocky starts with investors or cash flow problems, Fred hung in there. Despite taking 26 months to break even, Fred knew his overnight package delivery business model was a winner. Each day, millions of individuals and businesses prove him right.
Perseverance is the real test of success for new business owners. You’ve already created your Big Idea, so plan your strategy, surround yourself with those who are as passionate as you are, and work through the challenges one by one. Success is there for the taking…if you persevere.
If you’d like more lessons on leadership, purchase “What’s the Big Idea? How One Idea Can Change Your Business and Your Life” at the Inspired Faith Gift Store from Beliefnet.
Reprinted by permission of Simple Truths (c) 2011. In order to protect the rights of the copyright holder, no portion of this publication may be reproduced without prior written consent. All rights reserved.