The Business Mindset - By Art Rosen, Business Contributor
Have you sat down recently to reminisce and tell the story on how you got started in your business? For many it was a passion that someone offered to pay you for (you were surprised too!), or maybe it was a job that you excelled in and were promoted right up to owner, maybe you bought in? In any event you were happy and excited to be your own boss to no longer be yoked to a schedule, beholding to another’s whims and a master of your own destiny! Remember thinking, you’d be making all the money, be financially set, personally stable and happy! In short, you’d be “living the dream!” Does the story continue to present day and you relate how you get up every day, put out fires and just try to keep things moving along; you’re stressed, unhappy and financially stretched? Maybe you simply live in ignorant bliss and don’t know (afraid to find out)?
Since you started serendipitously, this isn’t surprising. You didn’t plan on the business before you got it and now it’s running you and not the opposite. What if you had the opportunity to start over with a plan? How would it affect your mindset, your thinking? This is what I call the “business mindset,” it is what every business owner should strive to learn and use.
There’s no time like the present, so let’s go back. There are several elements to this mindset – Clarity, Strategy, Execution and Leadership. It’s pyramidal and as you move up, your success will multiply. First, Clarity; why are you in the business, what do you hope to accomplish (financially, personally, emotionally), how much of your resources are you willing to expend (financial, time, emotionally), what is the market/who are your customers, why would they buy from you and in what amounts, who and/or what does your competition look like? Plug in the projected numbers (be conservative) and see if all the factors mesh. Do you still want to be in this business?
Now you have your base, next the Strategy. No business starts at the top, it has to grow. How do you manage that growth given your resources, limits and over what time frame (see Clarity)? What is Plan A, B, C. What contingencies can you plan on and obstacles do you have to overcome (try to be creative)?
So now you know where you want to be, have a plan to get there, you need a method to achieve and execute on it: Execution. To execute you need to have a path, benchmarks that incrementally lead you down the path of success. They should be short & long term, achievable, recognizable and you should acknowledge them as they are achieved. Re-evaluate as they are passed to confirm they still accomplish the business goals.
If everything goes according to plan, most likely you’ll need a team-it’s difficult to operate a growing business day to day and still “run” it without help. How do you find the best people, the most trustworthy and productive? How do you motivate them? How do you communicate with them? For your team to perform at its peak it will also need a “mindset.” Hence a business need to give each team member their own clarity, strategy, execution benchmarks.
Think of business as an ocean and you are riding atop the waves. There are two types of vessels atop this ocean- the stationary buoy and the sailing ship. Both are threatened by sinking but one is battered and stationary while the other has a destination, can be captained and navigated. As a business owner which do you want to be?
Live the dream, get the mindset that makes you the captain of your ship!