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Act like high flyers

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The one surprising revelation from surveys of small business owners' worries is that they never identify the one thing they should really be concerned about: their own inadequacies. Possibly this is the difference between a small business owner and an entrepreneur.
When organisations do surveys of small business complaints, the usual things like red tape and Business Activity Statement (BAS) turn up as the biggest headaches. 
The big stinker is always the BAS. Other things like interest rates, business costs and government policies are also major concerns, although the negative ratings on these go up and down. 
Business owners are also bugged by the inability to find quality staff, lack of work, big business competition, cash flow, government regulations, drought, costs, consumer confidence, taxes, time and state regulations.
Clearly, small business owners are in conflict over what they are concerned about, but nowhere do you ever see these people say, “I am worried about what I don't know”.
A short time ago for a special project my company was doing I interviewed entrepreneurs like Mark Bouris from Wizard, Paul Cave from BridgeClimb, Robert Maple Brown from funds management group Maple-Brown Abbott and many others.
So what do entrepreneurs worry about? It's simple: how they manage risk.
When you talk to big vision entrepreneurs they never list the concerns that the mainstream business owner worries about and that's because they do something about it.
The high-flyers know they will be grounded if they don't eliminate obstructions to growth. Sure, they have guts and they do brave things like borrowing to make a dream come true, but guts are used in other productive ways.
One such way is to do a SWOT analysis, not only on their business but also on themselves.
A SWOT analysis refers to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that need to be understood to grow a business. It is brave to analyse yourself or to pay someone to do it for you and then face up to a need for change.
Some entrepreneurs even have to face the fact that their strengths were in building up a business, working the marketing angles and creating a fantastic brand.
They then put in systems and administrative experts to make the business hum along successfully. Some entrepreneurs are forcibly replaced by venture-capital partners who know someone else, with a more appropriate skill set needed to take the business to the next level.
Other entrepreneurs choose to step back to become chairman and work on getting their golf handicap down.
Paul Cave no longer runs the day to day operations of BridgeClimb, as he has appointed others he knows will do a great job. He says his chief job is to review complaints, though he complains he doesn't get many.
Cave says he knows he can only make his business better by reacting positively to customer feedback. That's a sensible concern that only the brave and wise are willing to take on. 

Published on: Tuesday, June 02, 2009

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