Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
Born to Rock | Extraordinary Business
12 steps to unleash you and your company’s potential in today’s dynamic marketplace
So you, entrepreneur, have big dreams and are looking forward to building your enterprise into one that is a household name. Can it happen? Perhaps. As you can probably guess, there isn’t a tried and true path to get you there every time. However, there are habits that you will need to embrace in order to get your business on the map and grow it into something extraordinary.
While the list isn’t inclusive – and isn’t meant to be, understand that the foundation is to have a vision which describes what you want your venture to be. Surely – that vision can grow and expand, or you can make your vision so big that you’ve got to grow into it before you can assume it. Regardless of the approach, knowing where you are going puts everything else into perspective.
- Take smaller steps, dig in but with the long view in mind. As a (former) runner, when I would get tired and see that I am at the bottom of a hill, I remember knowing that there was no way I was going to make to the top of that hill. At least, that is what I thought. I learned, however, that by focusing only on taking the next step, I would get to the top of the hill. This thinking can be applied to any goal, whether it is the number of people served, the level of revenue, market reach, etc. By taking smaller, measured steps – incremental goals, if you will, and not losing focus, you will find that you will have a higher goal completion rate.
- Keep score. While times are good, it is easy to stay motivated and stay on task. However, when things get rough, it is easy to lose focus, slow or even stop. Some people even go out and try to find a job. By keeping track of your goals and being able to see where you have been, you will be able to see how you and your company have grown.
- Take breaks. Strange but true. I find that when I take breaks at the appropriate times that I am more focused and get more done faster. I use the Pomodoro Technique, a method of working for 25 minutes, then breaking for 5…and repeat. Every three breaks or so, take a slightly longer break.
- Keep your head up. The marketplace constantly changes. Those who are successful will look for changes – opportunities and threats – that they can take advantage of or avoid in order to make advances in the marketplace.
- Don’t be afraid to step back. Sometimes you simply have to take that step back so that you can prepare to move forward more aggressively. This doesn’t mean that you are sitting on the sidelines, taking it easy, but rather, you are making a strategic withdraw.
- Take on Allies – strategic partnerships aren’t the loosy-goosy relationships that tend to have low commitment, no shared vision or continuity. Strong partners are those with whom you build some capacity that you didn’t have so that both of you can progress. If there is no commitment on the part of both it doesn’t work. Hint: if they offer little more support than sending you to their vendor portal and press you for more sales and connections, they are probably not a partner to you; you are their recruited sales force.
- Shovel and haul – have you ever noticed on a construction site, there is usually one vehicle that does the digging and another that hauls the dirt away? It is because each is better – has competency – at one task or the other. By thinking in terms of getting the greatest return on each of your resources, you will want each of them to perform the work they are best at, which means that you may have to outsource certain tasks, hire new staff or change your entire business model.
- Keep the vision in front of you. There will be a million things that try to take you off course from your vision that exist outside of your market, industry and competition – and perhaps outside of your core competencies. If you set out to travel the globe – travel the globe. While you may upgrade your modes of transportation along the way, you may take on others to endure the journey with you, Don’t get stuck. Don’t stand still.
- Know that every swing won’t be a home run. Sometimes, the important thing is simply to try and try, again. Give it whatever resources you can. When you finally connect, see line 2.
- Know that we’ve been there before – the road traveled is worn. The worst things that happen to you on the journey more than likely aren’t the worst things out there. The people that have been there before will probably be more than happy to tell you their experiences and what they might do differently next time they are in the same position. Nevertheless, falling into a ditch and getting back out builds character. Really.
- Turn left. If you think about a train – trains can’t turn left or right. Therefore, they all go in the same direction, get to the same place at different times. There is no room for standing out in the marketplace, which generally limits their capabilities. Vehicles, however, can turn left, and thus, have many more opportunities to explore than trains will ever have. Businesses that thrive – those that are extraordinary – are lead by those who are constantly seeking to turn left – seeking out and finding new ways to serve their markets, beat their industry and stand out in the marketplace.
- Give back. Businesses don’t exist in a bubble; they are essential parts of the community. Businesses and communities are interdependent. Without a community, there would be no demand for goods and services. Without the businesses, the communities would have limited resources. We as entrepreneurs, start businesses because we see an unmet need or want in the community.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN | CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
Join us for a Coffee & a Consult, to learn more about Aepiphanni and how we might help you move your company from existing to extraordinary.