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Welcome to Plan-Perform-Score! These Insight Bites focus on ideas, thoughts, and tools to alter perspective and improve performance.
Caution: Speed Bumps Ahead
My favorite American philosopher, Yogi Berra captures it well, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” During my career I’ve been an enthusiastic participant and adviser in the marvel that is American Capitalism. I’ve seen organizations fail that I thought could not miss. I’ve watched organizations and their owners overcome considerable obstacles to build a thriving business. Along the way, I’ve watched and learned a few lessons.
With profound humility I offer a few “travel guides” to budding entrepreneurs as they launch and build their dreams.
Ease on Down the Road:
Don’t Buy Yourself a Job:Too many small businesses are started for the wrong reasons. If you’ve lost your job working in the larger business world, don’t rush to risk your remaining life savings on a new business venture.
Define Success in your Terms: One of the pluses of running your closely held business is the flexibility it provides you. You have the ability to define what success means to you. As long as the earnings are sufficient to meet your obligations, you can decide to seek more balance in your life, be more involved in the community, and carefully select the business opportunities you pursue.
You Don’t Need To Go It Alone:Find a group of advisers. Consider an Advisory Board and membership in an outside cross-mentoring CEO group to expand your sources of council.
Family, Friends & Business can be a Tricky Mix:This is a major pitfall of many a small businesses. Borrowing from family to start your business presents its own set of issues. If you do hire family or friends be aware that “once you cross the threshold” of holding family or friends to a lower standard than your other employees, you have lost a lot of credibility in the company. It will cramp your progress for years to come.
Set Aside Time to Think:All action with no thought is not a recipe for success. You’ll need time to plan and focus your effort. Then you’ll need to communicate your passion and vision to your team for they are a vital part of your dream.
Know Your Costs and How They Behave:You’ll need to have some financial discipline to go with your plan. Be sure you understand your costs and how they behave. Which costs vary with volume? Which ones are fixed? What is our break-even point? Do you know your cash flow cycle and the resulting implications? These are all questions that need to be answered and managed.
Don’t Let Success Kill You:During the initial lean years entrepreneurs are often a hard working cohesive team. They endure long hours and enormous stress to overcome many technical, operational and marketing hurdles. They make little money but enjoy and appreciate each others’ talent and efforts. If success comes it can sometimes poison and kill the enterprise. Like the old Humphrey Bogart movie classic, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, the prospectors are fine until they discover the gold. Then egos, paranoia and basic greed turn them against each other with tragic consequences.
Know when to Cut Your Losses: You have to know when to fold them. Don’t confuse perseverance with a reluctance to deal with reality. Know when the deck is stacked against you and move on. Life has plenty of other opportunities waiting for you.
Watch Your Attitude:There’s a story about a business owner who claimed his dream was to involve his children in the enterprise. Then every night at dinner he ranted about how his employees were ungrateful and lazy, his suppliers were unethical and crooked, his banker was a blood sucking leach, and his customers were too demanding and cheap. The underlying message the kids heard dad saying was “and someday this will all be yours.” The owner then appears mystified when his children grow up and pick unrelated careers as far away from home as possible. What you say and do has an impact.
Have the Kids Work Elsewhere First:If asked, I ALWAYS suggest that children of family businesses work in the industry but for someone else for a period of time. It helps in several ways: they have more credibility when they come back & they bring fresh ideas to the business.
Delegate, But Never Abdicate Responsibility:For your business to grow effectively, you’ll need to delegate tasks to your team. However, never abdicate responsibility for oversight on those activities. You still need the appropriate systems and controls.
Build a Team & Respect the Team:One of the biggest drivers of your success will be your team. Always praise them in public and correct them in private. Consider giving your team members some operational and personal flexibility. It can often develop new skills and deepen their loyalty. Treat your team the way you would like to be treated.
The Power of Progress & Baby Steps:Build on small projects to improve performance. The power of compound progress year over year can be significant. Remember, you are never done improving and honing your business.
Stay Positive & Enthusiastic:Entrepreneurship is no place for sissies. You’ll need lots of energy and enthusiasm to carry you in good times and in bad. Your team will pick up on your mood and attitude, so keep it positive and encouraging.
I hope these few suggestions help you along your journey. Remember to celebrate your successes and treat your failures as learning opportunities. As an entrepreneur you are part of a proud and treasured heritage. Enjoy the ride.
Quote & Note
"Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it's hard to get it back in."-H.R. Halderman, former White House Chief of Staff
So be prudent. There is a lot of wisdom in the old adage "measure twice & cut once." It's amazing how often we pay a steep price when we hasten into action. Give adequate time for reflection BEFORE you set things in motion.
If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done.
We are pleased to announce that Greg Pashke, CMC, CMA, CFM, CBA, MBA, CPA is a contributing Co-Author of: A.S.K. - Advisors Seeking Knowledge (Lexis-Nexis, 2012). Greg contributed a chapter on "Defining the Role of the Generalist" and a chapter on "Practice Management Evolution." Greg joined dozens ofNorth American and United Kingdom experts under the visionary guidance of Peter Merrick, BA, FMA, TEP, FCSI and President of Merrick Wealth Management in Toronto, Canada to develop this comprehensive resource.
We welcome your feedback on this and all issues of Plan-Perform-Score! Please e-mail your comments to: GPashke@PashkeConsulting.com
If you'd like to tour The One Page Planning & Performance System (TOPPPS) with built in scorecards and performance reports, please call Greg Pashke at (772) 528-3871 or e-mail: GPashke@PashkeConsulting.com