In the past four weeks, I’ve been talking about an entrepreneur and the qualities and resources needed to put an idea into action.
That action is more than likely going to be carried forward in a business. This week, I want to look at three elements of making a business succeed.
- Basics first
- Map and Compass
- Build steady and consistent Momentum
My previous articles have addresses the personal and business basics that are needed. Over the past four weeks, we’ve looked at:
- Becoming an Entrepreneur
- What Business you should start
- Qualities needed – Action, Belief and Energy and
- The Resources you will need including finance, always a critical factor.
We’ve also looked at the need for goals. These represent the map. Knowing where your journey should be taking you is important. Equally important is the underlying purpose that has brought you to this business idea – the answer to the question ‘WHY?’ This purpose, and a flow of good information, will operate as your compass, ensuring that your progress is in the right direction. The destination and the speed of the journey can be kept under review but direction should change only when it becomes unavoidable and only when the business decides to change it. If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there. And if you don’t know why you are going, it is easy to abandon the journey.
Sometimes decisions that are made in haste commit the business to a direction that is unclear and a destination that is uncertain. What your business needs to avoid that is to ensure that the direction is communicated to your team and to any others who are critical to helping deliver it (suppliers, advisers – the wider team). Given that information, any team member is in a position to check the direction with the compass and adjust the decision to stay on track.
Once the basics and the direction/purpose are clear, you can begin to develop and maintain Momentum – what Jim Collins in his book ‘Good to Great’ calls ‘the flywheel’. Momentum in the wrong direction is illusory and all progress will have to be recovered or adjusted to return to the right track. So once direction is clear, begin to move in that direction and move more quickly as momentum builds. If all decisions reinforce the business direction, they will also add to the clarity with which outsiders can see where the business is headed and what it stands for. Changing direction not only reduces momentum, but can also create confusion inside and outside of the business and clarity is especially important in a tough market. Momentum is a result of good, clear leadership and strong team dynamics.
The end result should be a business that moves seamlessly and effortlessly into the upturn that will eventually come, with momentum already built and with no need for U-turns or rethinking of direction. Increasing an already established momentum is far easier than starting from a standstill or, worse, changing direction completely.
Let me wish you well on your journey.
If you have just started, or are about to start, a business, now is almost always the best time to do it. You need to take action. Market conditions are always a factor but, if you have the right ingredients, you can chart a course that takes that into account. The Economy depends on businesses like yours to return to growth.
If you already run a business, I hope that some of the ideas in this series of articles have inspired you to do something differently. Running a business is about continuous learning and development. Stop learning and developing and your business will probably stop growing.
Business leaders at all stages of their career and at vastly differing levels of experience benefit from the groups that The Academy for Chief Executives runs across the UK and beyond. Come to one of our open events or contact us to find out more. www.chiefexecutive.com.
Brian Chernett is founder of The Academy for Chief Executives (ACE) – He has 43 years’ experience as managing director of private and public companies, including subsidiaries of Booker Bros McConnell, the Landmark Group, and several other major companies. Find out more at www.chiefexecutive.com.
The Academy community provides a great place to build your leadership skills and learn more about motivating and developing your people, and how to focus the top team for the good of your company. As the leading providers of experiential learning, the purpose of the Academy is to inspire leaders to achieve their dreams by sharing and learning from real life experiences.