Small Business

Why leaders need to embrace the F-word

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Business consultants and even politicians sometimes argue that a vast number of small businesses are not interested in growing their business. They argue that many business owners have chosen self-employment for other reasons — lifestyle, family support and so on.

This is not the full story. In fact, when I hear this response I give these so-called experts the F-word.

(Stick with me — I’m not being rude.)

It’s too hard

In simple — and the most accurate — terms, business growth is measured by higher net income for an operation each year. Given this, I cannot believe that anyone in their right mind would consciously choose to lock themselves into a $120,000 income from their home-based PR business and say — “that’s enough.”

If they could do the same hours and earn $150,000 in the next year — that’s 25 per cent growth — would they say no?

The real reason why some business owners might say they are not into growth is well explained in a routine by US comedian, Jerry Seinfeld.

He explains that men experts say we are genetically programmed to want to do big things — build roads, construct bridges and erect tall buildings. But given this, why don’t we, generally, do it? His answer is the punch line: “It’s too hard.”

The same goes for growing a business.

Just one word

One of the greatest modern day growth stories has been the success of Janine Allis’s Boost Juice business — they are everywhere. It has been a great story but when Janine opened her first store, she learnt everything the hard way at the coalface, developing the systems to create a franchise — that was not easy.

When they gambled by giving away a franchise on radio, that was another gamble for growth which worked brilliantly.

My business life has been dominated by my great fortune to talk to Australia’s — and even the world’s — greatest business minds and leaders, which has included the likes of Gerry Harvey, John Symond, Richard Branson and Jack Welch (who was once described as the greatest CEO of the 20th century). And they have taught me the one-word secret of success.

So, what is it? It’s simple to say but bloody hard to do and it is — FOCUS. Let’s tag it as the F-word, so you won’t forget it.

Keep your focus

In Richard Branson’s book Losing My Virginity, the 24/7 entrepreneur made this unforgettable revelation about himself: “I have always lived my life by making lists of people, lists of ideas, lists of companies to set up and lists of people who can make things happen.”

This is how he keeps his focus.

Aussie’s John Symond, who I have interviewed many times over the years, actually made the penny drop for me when he said that his success got down to focusing on Aussie Home Loans.

He said he had no other businesses, no other investments, no shares or anything else that takes him away from his focus on Aussie.

He is still focused — the success you get from it makes you addicted to the F-word. 

Add these to the mix

You need other inputs for a great business growth output. There has to be a big goal, passion to drive it and this needs to be complemented by great advisers to show you competitive things you couldn’t see by yourself. Finally, your leadership has to create a workforce all passionately pursuing the vision you share with them.

This concoction driven by the F-word will create great growth-generating products and services and ensure that superb marketing plans will ensue, bringing business growth.

The message is straightforward — if you want business growth, you have to get F-d.

John Maxwell, US leadership guru, is with me on this one – he thinks true leadership is the key to success in business, life and everything in between. He’s speaking next week, with yours truly on the bill, so to reserve tickets to this not-to-be-missed event, click here.

Published on: Wednesday, June 22, 2011

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