Anyone that has created a successful business has had moments of basking in the glow of their accomplishments. Some however stay there too long and discover that the glow has a short memory. “What have you done for me lately?” and “You are only as good as your last service day?” are not just cliches, they are reality. The world does not tolerate laggards and it despises entitlement. No one has “arrived” we are only visiting for a short time while we recuperate for the next climb. Hard work, humility and love are key elements in successful leadership. Growing an amazing business that makes a difference takes something special. I live by the following rules and I encourage you to try some on for yourself.
- Have a goal. A lot of people that get started in business have a simple short term goal: to survive. Keeping the lights on and paying the payroll is a very important goal. Where I have seen dulling of the blade is when it starts to work and the money is enough to pay the bills and then some. Now that this goal has been achieved it is time to have fun and create new and exciting goals. Goal setting is not something that is taught in most schools so people are not “trained” to set them. This causes many to get bored and lose direction. If you have gotten past “survival” learn to set real goals and stay sharp.
- Have a problem to solve in your industry. Every industry has a problem to solve. In our industry it is de-commoditizing the industry and giving individuals and companies the chance to make a profit and provide the “best possible” service. At OctoClean this is our passion and it keeps us going when things get comfortable.
- Make it a game. Being a competitor in a game is fun. To be a competitor in your industry you must declare it to the world so they want to compete with you too. Then, and only then, does it become fun because we need a rival. There is nothing worse than having a competitor that doesn’t know you or doesn’t consider you a competitor.
- Find interesting problems. People in business strive to solve problems with some hope that at some point they will go away and they will have reached the destination. I challenge you to embrace problems as “interesting” and engage them with some problem solving techniques and work on them with vigor and excitement. Finding interesting problems keeps you in the discomfort zone and is essential in growing an amazing company.
- Hire smarter people than you. Too many entrepreneurs avoid smart people because they want to be the king of the castle. Mistake! When you search out and hire the best, you have no choice but to keep up with them. Hiring amazing people is an process and an art and is one that every aspiring industry leader must embrace.
- Start over everyday. If everyday you start at zero, then you will have the motivation to get through the rough spots. Sitting back with your feet up on your desk observing your creation with pride is a scene in a movie, not reality. Hit the road every morning ready to create and make a difference in someone's life. That is what it took to get past “survival” and that is what it will take to thrive.
- Live within your means. Too many business owners live from check-to-check believing they need to show off their success. This leads to burn out very quickly. It will also limit the possibilities of capitalizing on a business opportunity that requires a cash investment. Be frugal so you do not become a slave to the business. I live by the saying, “The more you own, the more it owns you”.
- Change everything of something. Structure is important to keep people comfortable and productive. There are times though that changing everything is the best thing to do. This may mean firing employees, changing the decor in your office, blowing up your uniform code and so on. This is a great technique when you notice people getting too set in their ways. Consider shaking something up and have fun.
Love, humility, hard work and eight things. Embrace the discomfort...
Additional Resources: High employee turnover wastes time and money. Learn how to hire the right people the first time around in our eBook: "Building A Successful Team".