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How do you track all the important numbers in your business?

As the new year fast approaches and we all get ready to take a well-deserved break over the Christmas and New Year period, this is an opportune time to think clearly about your business and consider which areas of your business you can improve upon in the coming year.

So while we have some time away from the day-to-day running of our businesses, I want to emphasise, yet again, just how important it is to understand and monitor all the numbers in your business.

It’s vital if you want to continue increasing your productivity and run a successful, results-oriented business.

So, if you don’t know and understand your numbers intimately before you make decisions, you have nothing to guide you. Your decisions will be based on guesses and emotion, not data and facts.

It doesn’t matter whether you are ‘good at this sort of thing’ or not. It must be done. It is non-negotiable.

If you have a financial background, you love spreadsheets and you know your way around a balance sheet, you might be able to handle this side of things yourself.

But if you have trouble counting past 14, don’t think that you are off the hook. Knowing your numbers is just as important for you too, but you’re going to need help. This can come in the form of somebody inside the business who can crunch the numbers for you, or somebody outside the business, such as an accountant or business strategist who understands your strategies and goals for your business.

If you want to be certain that all your decisions are strategic, rather than just being made on a hunch, you must know your numbers, and understand which numbers are most vital to your decision making.

Understanding your numbers in marketing

One of the key areas of business that many business owners fail to understand their numbers is marketing. Many businesses begin marketing simply because they ‘want to get out and do things’.

This can actually provide a brief illusion of success, because spending any money on marketing can result in more customers coming to your door. What it will not do is provide the right customers that are essential for long-term growth in productivity and profits.

So, let’s look at this from the perspective of marketing.

What are the most important questions to ask first? Are they:

  • How many customers are you trying to acquire? No.
  • How much profit are you trying to generate? No.
  • What shiny new product are you trying to promote? No.

All your marketing options will develop from these questions:

  • How many new customers do you need?
  • What is your conversion rate?
  • What is your cost per lead?
  • What is the lifetime value of each customer?
  • How can you improve the conversion rate and lifetime value, because those two aren’t expensive?

To develop a long-term, sustainable marketing plan you must start with these questions. It’s no good simply throwing money at marketing (or anything else). This may get short-term results but it will cause long-term problems in the business. This approach is neither outcome-based nor well-thought-out, and therefore is not sustainable.

With finances, you have to understand it comes down to first what and then how.

Management will always make decisions. These decisions lead to activities. These activities will lead to results. These results are needed to measure the success of anything you do in your business, and also for accounting and compliance reasons.

But, most importantly, these figures are needed for your day-to-day understanding of whether you are on track and how you are trending.

They need to be measured for business intelligence. You need the data to assess your previous decisions, and to inform your next decisions.

If you don’t know what’s actually showing up you have no basis on which to make or evaluate decisions.

So as we’re just about to enter a new year, you should be considering whether you need to have a better understanding of your numbers.

If you do need to improve in this area, consider how you are going to improve. As is the case with everything, you can’t just wish and hope without having a strategy.

So I hope this has got you thinking about how you can improve your strategic thinking in the new year.

As you think about your strategy going forward, I also encourage you to check out our podcast where I discuss the importance of identifying your ideal customer.

Knowing who you should be serving is the foundation of your business, and is vital to developing a strategy for long-term success.

Finally, on behalf of all the team at Business Benchmark Group, I hope you and your loved ones have a very merry Christmas, and a happy and prosperous new year in 2022!

Power to you!

Stefan Kazakis

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You need to be doing 5 of these every day

If only it was as easy as turning on a tap, for our bank accounts to fill up!

Well I have good news for you! It could be if you pay close attention to what we call ‘income growth activities’, or IGA for short.

money

What are income growth activities?

These are activities that you can do every day to actively make your business more profitable. (profitable business)

Consider for a moment where your highest hourly rate is achieved. We load these activities into the default diary as IGAs.

That’s where you get your discipline and follow-through. You should aim to do five IGAs every day. That’s five things every day that actively help you generate income.

Some of these are simple and will only take a few minutes. For example:

  • Call or email three potential new clients
  • Have lunch with an existing client and see what else you can do for them

Check Your Priorities

But how do you fit more into a day that’s already jam-packed? Look at your diary and get rid of one thing that you really don’t need to be doing. Study the systems in your business and see where improvements can be made.

There’s an endless number of small and large things that will increase the income of your business over the long term. Don’t confuse activity with productivity; make sure you are spending time doing things that will add dollars to your bottom line.

Be committed and focused and follow through on the productive activities that really count. Schedule in your diary the IGAs you need to be doing every day, every week and every month.

Plan for the Future

Spend some time on long-term plans such as building strategic partnerships or developing new products that you know your clients want. This might not put money in the bank next week but it will in a year or two. A good strategic partnership can bring hundreds of A-grade clients to your business over the next few years.

Steady as She Goes

Also spend time on short-term strategies such as getting feedback from clients, or giving a talk at the business association, or running a targeted marketing campaign. I usually suggest people spend around 70% of their IGA time on short-term activities and 30% on long-term activities but you can vary this to suit yourself and your business.

Always keep in mind how quickly long-term becomes short-term. Have a think about how decisions you made 12 months ago are affecting you now.

It’s been an unpredictable 12 months, and it seemed a long way off at the time, but here you are, right now, living with the results of those decisions it now seems like you made just yesterday.

As the leader of your business it’s your job to be looking ahead and seeing the problems before they arrive, so that you can avoid them if possible and be equipped to deal with them if not.

Power to you!

Stefan Kazakis

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Being Prepared For Anything As Australia Opens Up!

Good news for a lot of Australians this week as much of the country is fully opening up from almost two years of Covid lockdowns and interruptions.

It’s great to see many small business owners rebounding strongly despite all the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain disruptions.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of this country.

More than 90% of Australian businesses are small businesses – and they account for 33% of Australia’s GDP, more than 40% of the country’s workforce, and they pay about 12% of total company tax revenue.

So it’s vital that small business owners are supported by governments and our communities in the coming weeks and months.

It is also vitally important for business owners to support one another as we forge ahead. There will be new challenges, from increasing interest rates to stricter lending conditions, but with a focus on doing whatever is necessary to staying ahead and with the support of others in your network, we will build stronger, more resilient businesses that will stand the test of time.

So now is the perfect time to do a quick “business health check” to make sure your business is as prepared as it can be to face the challenges – and take advantage of the many opportunities – coming our way in the next year or two.

bizback

Business Health Check – What to look for

Here’s our guide to conducting a quick business health check to identify what you’re doing well, and what areas can be improved. There are three main areas of your business that you need to be constantly reflecting upon and striving to improve in every meaningful way.

1. Businessflow

Businessflow is the ability to design a business so that it’s efficient and effective for predictable business profits.

Some questions to ask yourself are:

Do you have a clear organisational structure for each role in the business and how it functions against critical drivers?
Do you review your business plan every 90 days?
Do you know how many sales are required each month to breakeven?

2. Leadflow

Leadflow is the tenacity of attracting future A grade clients and making it easy for them to buy from you.

Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Are you clear on your value proposition and what makes you unique in the market you compete in?
  • Do you have a flowchart in place to lead clients through your sales funnel and ensure that they become clients for life?
  • Do you measure the number of new enquiries you get and where they come from?

3. Cashflow

Cashflow is the velocity of building a repeat and referral based business run by a champion team. Some questions to ask yourself are:

  • Do your customers buy from you on value or on price?
  • Do you have a defined Customer Management Process (CMP) that builds advocacy?
  • Do all your staff provide the same high standard of customer care and service consistently, and are your customers’ expectations are always met?

These are the three key areas in your business that you need to focus on at all times. To ensure you’re focusing on the right things, the questions I outlined above are the type of questions you need to regularly reflect upon.

Every few months, grab a pen and paper, sit down for an hour or two and answer these questions as you think strategically about every part of your business.

Better yet – we’ve created a tool that helps you score your business’ performance by answering 12 short questions. It takes just 3 minutes – get your business health checked now – link is below!

Power to you!

Stefan Kazakis

Founder, CEO – Business Benchmark Group

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Leveraging People To Grow Your Business

Last week I asked you to calculate your actual hourly rate and I suggested you should be delegating or outsourcing tasks that are well below your normal rate.

This week, I want to continue with that theme and look at different ways to leverage the people in your business. Who you surround yourself with – both at work and away from work – is very important.

The journey to business success can be long and winding, and the people in your inner circle need to be supporting you along the way. You must surround yourself with dream-makers, not dream-takers.

johndrockefeller

Leveraging your peers

You must remember that the commercial intelligence you need is already in the room, it’s in the collective group. There’s always somebody in your inner circle of influence who has the answer you are looking for.

Maybe there is someone in the room who has made greater progress than you and your organisation, or who has a different perspective and can add weight to what you need to keep moving forward.

My inner circle has contributed significantly to my current and ongoing success, and my success adds value to others in my inner circle.

Two questions to ask those in your inner circle:

  1. What’s been your greatest success, and how can I learn from that?
  2. What’s been your greatest challenge, and how can I help?

You don’t need all the answers, you just need the right questions.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You also have to bring your own intelligence and critical thinking. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking a question or two of our peers. It’s a very powerful form of leverage.

Here’s a great exercise to do regularly. Take time to reflect upon people you know, and rank the 10 people who can most help you grow your business this month.

This is a great habit for you to get into. You won’t achieve success by yourself, so why not strategically identify who you should be spending time with?

Clearly identify the value these people provide to you and the outcomes they can help you with.

  • How could you build a partnership with them?
  • Who do they know who can help your business?
  • What skills or knowledge do they have that you need?

If you’re not sure about something, ask them! Don’t be shy. Turn it into a system. Like everything in your business, your approach to this needs to be systematic and quantifiable.

Pay it forward.

Here’s the key to the success of this strategy; you have to help others in return. People will notice very quickly if you’re trying to exploit them for your own gain.

That’s not the way to grow a profitable business, and it’s also simply not a very nice thing to do.

If you have an abundance mindset, you’ll know that there’s plenty of success to go around. If you get out there and find people who can help you in your business and you do the same in return, everybody wins.

I’ve found over my many years of business that just about everybody is happy to help if I’m willing to return the favour when the time comes.

There are people who are already doing business with people you wish to do business with. Find out who they are. Find out what people are buying one step before you and one step after you. You then have the opportunity to bridge that gap and make these people part of your inner circle.

Ask yourself what opportunities this gives you to build your business, perhaps by creating partnerships with these people.

Your inner circle can include people such as: other people in your industry, your suppliers, people you are competing with, your accountant, your lawyer – really, anybody who can offer valuable insights into your industry and/or your business.

The key advisers most people need to succeed in business are: an accountant, a legal representative, a financial planner, a business banker and, ultimately, a key strategist. These can be internal or external, and may change and evolve as your business grows.

Think of this as your nonexecutive board who will give you honest information and the benefit of their experience. 

Power to you this week.

podcastep23
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Business Owners: What’s Your Hourly Rate?

For any business owner looking to run a business that is more than just a job, it’s important to ensure that you’re working for what you’re worth.

Have you thought about the time investment you are putting in to your business? Are you working for nothing?

Are you satisfied with the return on your personal time investment?

As a business coach for many years, I find that about 75% of small business owners have a disconnect here.

The issue of maximising the return on each hour you work can be a tricky one. In my experience, this is a big thing holding my clients back from achieving business growth. I call this the Hourly Rate Identity Crisis.

Find out if you’re working at your real rate

To see whether you’ve hit the Hourly Rate Identity Crisis, answer the questions below:

  • How much do you charge out for your time an hour?
  • How many hours on average do you work a week?
  • How much did you pay yourself last month?
  • Is there a disconnect?

Chances are you have worked out what an hour of your time is worth, based on your skills and experience and the industry you are in.

This isn’t where the problem usually lies. The issue is, how many hours a week do you actually earn that rate?

Time is a finite resource so it’s crucial that you put it to good use. If you have an identity crisis here it can spell trouble.

What activities should you be doing to give your business the best outcomes for each hour you work? Be clear about who you are, what you do, and why. Think about your #1 Big Outcome.

The best opportunity for your business is to build one reputation for doing one thing, then add to it. Ask yourself, what’s my one thing? What am I actually worth an hour? Why? What are the activities that I do daily, weekly and monthly that help me ensure I achieve that rate?

The next question is, how many hours a week do you work on average? Most business people I know can answer this question quite easily, so now you should have two figures: an hourly rate that you believe you are worth and the average number of hours you work per week.

Now you can calculate the following equation:

What you are worth per hour ×
How many hours you work on average per week

Now, here’s the kicker: when was the last time you took home a weekly pay cheque close to that amount?

Sadly, for some business owners the answer is never, which may indicate you have an employee or self employed mindset versus a business owner who is in growth mode mindset.

If this is you, this is a huge wasted opportunity for your business.

So if you’re not taking home close to that amount each week, or even some weeks, or even occasionally, what’s the problem? If you’re not skiving off and going to the beach then clearly you’re spending time at the office doing tasks you shouldn’t be doing. Yes that’s right, you shouldn’t be doing!

I’m not saying those tasks don’t need to be done, just that they don’t need to be done by you.

What about if you are achieving this every week? Does that mean everything is peachy? Not at all.

If you are reaching this target every week your hourly rate is too low! Nobody can work at their maximum achievable hourly rate every single hour for a whole week, let alone week after week, so if you think you are doing this you need to increase your hourly rate.

There is clearly room for you to do so and you are currently missing out on this opportunity.

For more on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Your Hourly Rate Identity”.

Power to you!

Stefan Kazakis
CEO, Business Benchmark Group

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Team Management: How do you deal with unsatisfactory results?

In the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing articles about how to build productivity and accountability among your team, with everyone working hard and continually stepping up to own their role in achieving the outcomes we expect. 

However, despite your best efforts, there will inevitably be times when members of your team are not performing as well as you expect. 

As a business owner, it is up to you to lead your team forward and ensure every member of your team is delivering the right outcomes for your business.

So how do you deal with a member of your team producing unsatisfactory results?

performance

The Brutal Truth

To be an effective leader, you need to be truthful and honest about the performance of every aspect of our business – including your own performance, as well as the performance of your team.

You need to think about truth, not fear. There is no grey zone.

This requires emotional intelligence, and you have to give people some freedom, but ultimately people’s activities will lead to a measurable outcome, which you must be tracking and holding people accountable to those outcomes.

Address the outcome, not the person

To simplify it: People’s outcomes are either a +1 or -1. It’s positive or negative. They delivered more than or less than expected.

Your ability to be truthful about whether it is plus or minus is a critical component to move forward with a culture of open, honest, transparent feedback. The way to do that is to separate the people from the activities, which allows everyone to remain above the line in terms of ownership, accountability and expressing themselves honestly.

So whenever there’s an issue to be addressed, never focus on the person not being good enough. Your approach should be to address the outcome, not the person.

This is a key distinction, and it’s critical to understand that it is about your ability as a leader to look somebody in the eyes and say, ‘You’re very good, but your decision-making this time was not good enough.’

It’s the key to guiding people to being promotable and not deselected. If people feel that they are valued and that they’ve just made a mistake this time, they will be motivated to correct their error and focus on being better tomorrow.

That’s being promotable.

But if people feel that they are constantly being criticised, that their input isn’t valued, and that they are not aligned with the people above them, that leads very quickly to demotivation and then deselection.

Always give feedback based on truth, never fear. Always hire on truth, never fear. Always select and deselect based on truth, never fear.

This applies to your managers, team, supply chain and customers. You need to strongly consider everyone you bring into your business, and if they are not right for your business, you’re responsible for ensuring that you find someone who is.

If you fill your business with wrong people (from your team, to suppliers, to customers), you have given the keys of your business to people who are not invested in achieving your goals – and your business will ultimately fail.

It’s that simple.

When you need to fill a position in your business, don’t get desperate and fill the role with the first candidate who submits their CV. That’s a recipe for disaster. The general rule of thumb is you hire slow and you fire fast.

At the core of this, the same lesson rings true: As a business owner, you must take ownership, be proactive, make decisions and ACT on those decisions.

You can’t sit back and wait for things to happen. You must have the right scoreboards, giving you the right information to make informed decisions in the best interest of your company – and then you must take action.

To build a proactive environment you must know your metrics, your numbers, your scoreboard. It’s about brutal truth and making an honest assessment of whether what you are doing is in alignment with your plan.

Even if what you are doing right now seems to be going off track, if you have thought through and executed your plan, there’s always something achieved.

There are valuable lessons in failure, as long as your plan accounted for this possibility and you know how to pick up the pieces and keep going with minimum adverse effects.

Only certain people can get through the short-term pain to arrive at the long-term gain. With the right planning, alignment and commitment, success is achievable despite any adversity.

It’s not about being superhuman, it’s about having feet on the ground, a commitment to continuous improvement and a tenacity to keep on going.

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Are you proactive or reactive?

In these turbulent times when government and health directives are regularly changing the way we do business, it’s easy to only react to these changes, only responding and making changes in your business once any policy becomes official.

However, if you are only responding to these directives, with no plan of your own to deal with these directives when they’re given – this leaves you and your business on the backfoot, trying to keep up.

Even in these turbulent times, you should be developing plans for every scenario we’re likely to face – and make time every week to reflect, review and reset using the following questions to frame your thinking:

  • What’s working?
  • What’s not working?
  • What are we doing about it?

Remember, it’s always about the plan. Ensure you are always on the front foot and always proactive. When your plan doesn’t work, that’s ok, you’ve still executed and learned from that, now devise a plan that works.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit”  –  Napoloeon Hill

To build a proactive environment you must know your metrics, your numbers, your scoreboard. It’s about brutal truth and making an honest assessment of whether what you are doing is in alignment with your plan.

Even if what you are doing right now seems to be going off track, if you have thought through and executed your plan, there’s always something achieved.

There are valuable lessons in failure, as long as your plan accounted for this possibility and you know how to pick up the pieces and keep going with minimum adverse effects.

Only certain people can get through the short-term pain to arrive at the long-term gain. With the right planning, alignment and commitment, success is achievable despite any adversity.

It’s not about being superhuman, it’s about having feet on the ground, a commitment to continuous improvement and a tenacity to keep on going.

Power to you!

Stefan

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Have you ever considered outsourcing?

Many business owners start out alone with little cash, and so they get into the habit of doing everything themselves and trying to cut costs while they do so.

This can be okay – and is often necessary – in the early days of getting the business off the ground but, once you are past that stage, having a Lone Ranger complex will be a massive hindrance to the growth of your business.

Before considering outsourcing have a look at what you are doing each day and make a decision regarding the tasks involved.

Can you delegate to a team member?

Do the tasks really need to be done?

Can you systemise or automate the task?

Can the task be outsourced?

You’ll be pleased to know that you can outsource just about anything these days without too much expense and you can trust that the job will be done right.

Some small business owners see this as a cost they can’t afford, but your maximum hourly rates will be more than the hourly rate you pay for outsourcing, so you come out in front and you can be spending your time more productively.

Delegating and outsourcing are essential to the growth of your business but these are two areas people often struggle with. Let’s have a look at some common challenges to delegating by outsourcing.

I don’t know what I don’t know

Sometimes we just become so caught up in the day-to-day craziness that we don’t even stop to consider other options. Make the time to stop, look and listen; find out what the issues are in your business and how you can address them. You can’t solve a problem that you don’t know about.

Trust

This is common problem for business owners.

They are so used to being experts in their field and doing everything themselves that they are reluctant to hand responsibility to others. If you want something done properly you have to do it yourself, right? Wrong! The tasks for which you earn your highest hourly rate are best done by you, but let me tell you something: for most other tasks
in your business there are people out there who are better at it than you – and that’s fantastic!

Chances are you are not an expert bookkeeper, or warehouse manager, or marketing manager, but too many small business owners try to wear too many hats and don’t perform any of these tasks as well as they could be done.

You need to trust your staff and service- providers. You don’t need to be afraid of outsourcing to Bangladesh or maybe even Russia.

Too busy

As a business coach this response drives me nuts! The reason you think you are too busy today is that you didn’t stop and make changes yesterday.

You must make the time to improve things today; that’s the only way you’ll be less busy tomorrow.

Got it?

Putting things in a format people can follow

Because small business owners get used to doing everything themselves they often develop their own unique methods and this becomes an impediment to delegation and outsourcing.

But this is an easy problem to overcome – you just need to spend some time developing processes that you
can easily pass on. It may take a bit of extra effort now but I guarantee it will save you time in the long run.

We can’t afford it

Let me dismiss this one for you here and now – if you want to grow your business you can’t afford not to delegate and outsource. Even if you are outstanding at what you do, if you don’t let go of managing the day-to-day issues in your business you are putting a ceiling on how much you can grow, and that ceiling is how many hours you can work in a week. If you think you can’t afford it, can you afford not to? If you are this close to the edge something
has to change.

If any of these are holding you back, you have to address them – now. You need clarity about where your best work is done and what is getting in the way of growth. It might be you. The sooner you do this, the faster you will build a business that gives you the outcomes you deserve.

Power to you this week.
Stefan

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Get In The Zone and Eat That Frog! How to Revolutionise Your Time Management

In last week’s message, I talked about the biggest killer of our time – procrastination.

Today I’m going to dig deeper on that topic and share a lesson that I write about at least once per year – “getting in the zone and eating that frog!”

Just like an elite sportsperson you are either in the zone and not easily distracted or you’re not; you have the required determination or you don’t; you have ownership, accountability and responsibility or you don’t. 

This is most important when it comes to focus. Do you have the laser focus on what you need to achieve that will keep you on track?

We all know what it’s like to start the day with a long list of things to do. At 9 am it looks a bit long but you think you’ll get through it okay. By 10.27 am you’ve crossed off only one thing because you’ve spent all your time fixing problems that you should really be leaving to other people. By 4.15 pm you’ve only crossed off three things, and – as you did yesterday – you move the remaining items to tomorrow’s list. 

Because, you know, tomorrow will be different, right? 

Of course tomorrow won’t be different – so you have to be different. It is definitely not okay to have your business focus diluted.

Here’s some strategies to help you focus on what needs to be done. 

Only have 3-4 key things to do each day. 

The first thing you can do is shorten your “to-do” list drastically. Remember, you’re outsourcing, delegating or terminating the less important stuff, aren’t you? 

If you are doing too much at once – such as having many more projects on the go than you can handle or trying to wear every single hat in the business – and you are not getting help, you will get the results you deserve, and they won’t be good. 

You need to be clear about the three vital things that need to be achieved today to get you closer to your goals, not the 50 things that are on your to-do list that will allow you to tick a box but not really contribute to your long-term success.

Do the toughest things first. “EAT THAT FROG!”

The second key to getting through the important things each day is to do the toughest things first. Most people naturally avoid the things they don’t want to do, so they pile up and keep getting put off until tomorrow. 

This keeps happening day after day, so that some things never get done at all. So, each day, look at your list and see what important thing on it you least want to do and do that first.

This will stop you getting distracted, it will stop the procrastination.

This approach has been called “eating the frog” (by Brian Tracey, giving a nod to Mark Twain who once said “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day”). 

If you’d rather stick a fork in your eye than make some marketing phone calls, do these calls first. You’ll feel better after they are done and you’ll be able to get on with your day. And they won’t be as bad as you think anyway – things never are. 

Success often comes from breaking out of your comfort zone, so make it happen! 

Having your day well planned and well structured is hugely important in helping your business move forward. I know what I’m doing each day from the moment I walk through the door. I have everything scheduled, including time for dealing with unplanned issues that arise. 

When I’m in the middle of an important task the phone and the email are ignored and, unless they are urgent, any problems are ignored. I keep that laser focus until the task is complete. 

I’m working out at 6.05 am every day, not because I don’t get much done but because my days are well planned, I have the focus to stick to the plan, and I don’t waste my time on things that are unimportant or that I’m not good at. 

This didn’t just happen. It’s a direct result of my approach to each and every day. Like everybody, I get the results I deserve. 

I’ve had new clients come to me who look like they haven’t slept in a month. They explain to me how they are working 15-hour days and they always seem to be busy, but somehow this isn’t showing up in the bank account.

So what’s going on here? 

These people are confusing activity with productivity, a common problem among small business owners. 

If this sounds like you there are two things you need to look at: you are probably spending your time doing a lot of unproductive tasks that keep you running around but don’t move the business forward, or you might not be charging enough so you’re working below your real value. 

Or, if things are a real mess, you might be doing both!

Don’t let yourself get to the stage of being desperate and dateless, where you’ll say yes to anything and end up working for $12 an hour. This starts a downward spiral that leads to bad decisions which compound over time, and you end up with a business so lacking in direction and focus that you barely know what you should be doing when you arrive at the office. 

When trouble looms on the horizon, tackle it head on, immediately. There will be periods of doubt and there will be negative self-talk. Am I going about this the right way? Have I been brutally honest about what the situation is and how I will realise it? Am I owning it? 

Certain points on the journey will be lonely and scary, and you will need commitment and focus to persevere. You’re not going to come up with a plan in five minutes.

You need laser focus. 

Think about a pilot starting out on a flight from Melbourne to London. That plane needs to be lined up to the centimetre at a specific gate 17,000 kilometres away so that the doors can open safely and the passengers can disembark. Does the pilot start lining up at that gate in London when he’s leaving the gate in Melbourne? Of course not. There are hundreds of steps he has to take in between before he gets to that far away gate. 

First, he has to taxi out to the right runway, then he has to take off safely, then he has to reach the right speed and altitude, and there are stopovers along the way. He takes the plane to Bangkok or Singapore and then hands it over to another pilot. The destination is still London.

All of these are small steps that are carefully planned with the one aim of getting to that gate at Heathrow. It doesn’t matter if the flight gets a little off course here and there, due to the weather for example; the pilot will adjust as the journey continues and the ultimate goal isn’t affected. 

The pilot can do this because he knows his destination. If the pilot wasn’t sure whether he was flying to London or New York, he wouldn’t know what decisions to make along the way to keep himself on course. Throughout the flight he has laser focus on his destination.

Each of his stopovers allows him to get back on track so minor variations in the journey don’t affect the final outcome. This is how you must run your business. If you don’t know where it’s headed, how will you keep it on track? How will you even know if you’re going in the right direction? 

You must master a deep-seated commitment to where you are going. Get this sorted and it’s game on.