The look on their faces said it all.“We’re running out of steam. My wife and I have been working hard for the past two years. We usually spend 10-15 hours a day, seven days a week running our business and are struggling to survive. It seems like most times we’re working for less than minimum wage. It’s crazy. If we had more customers things would be okay.” Faces really do tell stories. Especially the faces of exasperated entrepreneurs.
It’s amazing how many times I’ve seen and heard this same song and dance. It’s getting so predictable. The pattern is usually the same.
Generally, it starts with: “Gee, I’m quite good at doing this or that (like making something or providing some kind of service). Everyone tells me I should go for it. Maybe I should? I think I can make it. That’s it. I’m starting my own business”. Voila! You’ve made the first of many decisions that will inexorably transform your life, as you know it.
WHAT YOU DO FROM HERE ON IN will greatly impact your long-term chances for success. Now that you’ve decided to create an enterprise that conducts business, as I see it, you have to make decision #2 – the second most important executive decision you’ll ever make.
I believe this next decision accurately reflects your chances of creating and owning a successful business for as long as you desire.
In order to make decision #2, you must consider two options:
A. Invest everything in getting ready – computers, furniture, leases, lawyers, logos, business cards, letterheads, etc., and later (sometimes years later) realize that one essential element is missing: How to attract customers and how to keep them.
B. Invest everything in developing “your unique version” of the four essential “Systems” used by the top 10% of leading enterprises around the world. The systems, in order of priority are:
Which option did you choose? Ultimately, this decision determines your long-term success.
If your enterprise cannot conduct business without you, chances are you originally chose option A. On the other hand, if you can leave your enterprise for up to a year and return to find it conducting business as profitably and efficiently (if not more so) as when you left, chances are you decided to exercise option B. Owning successful enterprise is all about making successful decisions. Is your enterprise running you or are you running your enterprise?