(Time to read this Blog is about 2 ½ minutes)
Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking:
- My biz quote of the week:
“Never let any one customer become such a big percentage of your total sales that this one customer controls your top line, your bottom line…and dictates your very survival! I’ve seen several businesses driven into bankruptcy by their biggest customer’s predatory practices.”
- World’s busiest airports. For years, the world’s busiest airport has been Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, Georgia. But now that honour goes to an airport in Guangzhou, China. In fact, three of the world’s five busiest airports are now in China with Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport and Dallas/Ft. Worth’s Airport slipping to #2 and #5 respectively.
- Have you figured out what life’s really like for your customers? After over almost 150 years in business, the folks at Lafarge Cement finally understood that lifting the traditional 40 kg. (88 pound) bags of cement can result in workplace back injuries. So, they now offer their product in 20 kg. ‘Back-saver’ bags. It took them 150 years to think like a customer.Whatever product or service you sell, think it through, step-by-step at every ‘tough-point’ for your customers. What is it like to buy from you and to understand, transport, use, install, implement, update, repair, maintain, dispose of or recycle what you sell? How can you improve, clarify or simplify to make your customers less stressed and more successful or effective with the products or services you sell? This would be great subject for an upcoming staff meeting.
Now, to this week’s important topic:
To succeed in business, you need wisdom, passion and focus…and 2 out of 3 ain’t good enough!
Every business is faced with increased competition, shrinking margins, more demanding customers and the challenge of finding and keeping great staff. The battle for customer ‘ownership’ and long-term profitability is tough…and getting tougher. Mediocrity is no longer an option.
To thrive, or even survive, you need wisdom, passion and focus. First, you need to truly understand your business, your customers, your market and your industry. All of that is the ‘wisdom’ part.
Then, you must be passionate. You must absolutely love what you do. You are the source of energy, passion and joy in your business, or your part of the business. Nobody will love it more than you do. Not your staff, not your customers…nobody.
Third, to be successful, you must be focused. The smart, passionate and energized mind will constantly be seeing hundreds of new possibilities and directions. Seeing possibilities is important. In fact, the future belongs to those who can see possibilities and who know what to do with them. But, to be successful, you must focus on just a few of those possibilities and see them through.
How do you keep focused? You do it, first, by being clear about who your target customers are. If you’re trying to be ‘something to everyone’, you’re doomed. Then, you must be clear about what you commit to deliver to those customers in the way of products, services and experiences that will clearly differentiate you and make you the ‘wise choice’ for your target customers. Third, you need to be clear about how technology, your market and your industry will change in 3 to 5 years and what your business must become, how it will get there, what it must learn and how it will behave in order to thrive in a very different ‘tomorrow’.
Creating this kind of clarity about the business is what management is all about. In fact, it’s your 1st and most important job as a business owner or manager. If that seems like too much work, don’t own or manage a business. You’ll drag it down, lose money and ruin lives!
A business owner recently asked me to help him figure out why he and his business had ‘hit a wall’ in the past two years. He had started his business from nothing and built it into a significant enterprise…but now it was stalled.
After listening to him describe his business journey, I said, “Here’s your problem. At some point, when you started out years ago, you had passion and focus, but not so much wisdom. You worked hard over long hours and you gradually achieved a high level of wisdom about your customers, your market and your industry…and that wisdom, together with your passion and focus, made you successful. The problem is that somewhere along the way, you lost some of your passion and focus. For years you’ve tried to do it all yourself and now you’re tired, you’re overwhelmed, you need to delegate and you don’t know how. You’re frustrated and you don’t know what to do next.”
He breathed a huge sigh of relief. “That’s it…that’s exactly it. I have the wisdom, but I’ve lost much of my passion and focus…and I am tired and I am frustrated.” So, working together, we put into place a process that will bring clarity, focus and passion back to the business…and balance back to his life. He’s also making the important and difficult transformation from being a ‘player’ to being a ‘coach’. To do this, he’s learning two important things…
1) The skills of being an effective leader and coach.
– To download my Biz Tool #A-9 ‘Rate Your Leadership Ability’, Click Here.
– To download my Biz Tool #B-26 ‘How To Delegate Without Losing Control’, Click Here.
2) And he’s learning new ways of feeling good about himself in his new role in the business.
In addition, he has redefined ‘Success’ in his life and created a Life Plan that includes doing with his wife and family a whole list of wonderful things that they’ve put ‘on hold’ for years. He is back to having the wisdom, passion and focus that got him where he is today.
Do you have the wisdom, the passion and the focus that your business or job needs you to have? If not, which one is missing, and what’s your plan to get it back? If any of this sounds like you and you’d like to chat about how to ‘fix’ it, I’m easy to find at email@example.com
That’s it for this week…
Stay safe…live brilliantly!
Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org in Toronto, Canada.
Thanks for this encouraging insight. I enjoy your letters but this one has hit home. After 27 years of building a successful (my opinion) business, the time has come to transition to the next team. Since my wife and I started our business in our home 27 years ago and are now operating two warehouses and 50 employees, we have to figure out how to coach the next team to be successful, especially since some of retirement is reliant on still receiving income from the business after we are not in the operation day to day. These articles push us to THINK about the future and not just let it happen. Thanks again.