May 19

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Consider These Tips if You Own a Small Business

By Patrick Millerd


Many people want to own a small business, but what’s the reality? Will you really own it, or will it  own you? The “secret” of having a successful business is doing the right things right ... time after time after time! 

Knowing that doing the right thing doesn't always work out as planned so it's reset and try again, and reset and try again in a never ending cycle. 

For many small business owners their business dream does not pan out as planned. Many cannot remember remember the last time they had a fun filled weekend. When weekends were time for to playing golf, going to the beach or just hanging out. Enjoying time with friends and family?

Here's Some Ideas and  Tips to Consider When You Own a Small Business

Get back to winning ways by pondering the following tips and ideas. Take some shortcuts! Winning isn’t always about hard work. Smart people take shortcuts all the time. Although their shortcuts just don’t “look” like shortcuts.

While some of these may seem to be contradictory pick the ones you think will give you better results, faster. Try one and if it doesn't work out try another.

  1. Do it fast. Peter Thiel is famous for the question: “How can you achieve your 10-year plan in 6 months?”.  Jeff Bezos has a 70% rule - one you have 70% of what you think you need to make a decision then make the decision. Being quick is usually more productive  than being right! 
  2. Cut your deadlines in half. Every time you have something to do and you catch yourself saying, “I’m going to do that by next month,” instead ask yourself, “why can’t I do it in half the time?”
  3. Ask more questions. If you have what looks like a complex challenge, ask yourself if you really understand the real challenge. In some cases, it's only a symptom. Spend your time and effort on solving problems not symptoms. As James Altucher says; “One hundred percent of the time there is a good reason and a real reason for everything.” The "good reason" being the one that looks good on the surface the "real reason" the one you get after asking enough right questions.
  4. Find the best not the quickest solution. Everyone loves the idea of a quick fix (4HWW, 80/20, 7-minute abs). But winners actually do the opposite -- they understand that with no pain there's no gain and learn to love the pain.
  5. Ask who not how. You don’t need to waste time trying to become an expert and doing everything yourself. Find someone or some thing, a who, to solve the “how to?”.
  6. Be a planner. Write down the plans. Try the 10% Rule – if the project is expected to take 10 hours then spend at least an hour planning. Remember the other maxim that it will take at least twice as long and cost twice as much as the original plan. 
  7. Define the goal and process needed to achieve the goal. Know where you’re heading (the objective) and detail the short term steps to get there (the daily actions that will lead to the goal). You may not reach the objective but in following the system there will be progress.
  8. Back yourself. If you won't, who else will?
  9. Action focus. Nothing happens until something moves. So keep moving forward.
  10. Find solutions not problems. Every problem has a solution and problems are hurdles not insurmountable barriers.
  11. Run up hills. When something is tough go at it hard and fast. It will be tougher, but it’ll be over sooner!
  12. Become an “express” expert. In the kingdom of blind people, the one-eyed man is king! Read 5 books to become the one-eyed man.  You can then see the key ideas, the common threads, the mental models and understand enough to ask the right questions.
  13. If something will take less than 5 minutes, just do it now rather than making a plan to do it later.
  14. Winners focus on action, not consumption. It’s like dancing. You don’t learn to dance by sitting at the bar creepily analysing people's moves -- you actually have to get up and give it a try.
  15. 80% is good enough. The best business savvy is that nothing is guaranteed to work, and so instead of trying to find a winner every time, just take a lot of bets. For Jeff Bezos 70% works just as well. The important lesson is that less than everything is enough.
  16. If you only have enough energy to play on your phone or watch TV ... then rather SLEEP.
  17. Power naps… really do help!
  18. The very best make it look easy. While the less competent think it’s easy – Dunning-Kruger 
  19. Stack your passions. When you combine 2+ fields, you can be average at both but be the best in the world at their intersection. (Like triathlon - swimming + cycling + running). These can also create interesting business opportunities like AirBnB - unused space + online system or as James  Altucher calls it "idea sex"; “The best ideas are when you take two older ideas that have nothing to do with each other, make them have sex with each other, and then build a business around the bastard, ugly child that results. The child who was so ugly nobody else wanted to touch it. Look at Facebook: combine the Internet with stalking. Amazing!”
  20. Always try something 3 times before deciding whether or not it's something that you like or dislike. Consider whether it is the right thing at the wrong time or just the wrong thing.
  21. Scrape the meat off the bone. If I find someone I trust, I want to learn every single thing I can from them. I want to scrape as much meat off the bone (this applies doubly when eating hot wings). They've seen things I haven't seen yet...and they want to help.
  22. Perfection is overrated. Don't be afraid to ask questions or be a pioneer - facedown in the mud with arrows in your back. Most day to day decisions are not life threatening so make decisions fast. Avoid being stuck in analysis paralysis. Try it, if it works do more of it if it doesn't, dump it.
  23. Be impatient with yourself. You’re probably impatient with other people, so get impatient with yourself. Whatever’s on your mind, do it now. You have nothing to lose except for your own time.
  24.  Real success comes from building systems -- not having a random assortment of good ideas. jumping from one to another - going nowhere. So prepare a plan, build a system and then make it happen.
  25.  "What do I need to change today?" - it's easy to get stuck in a rut. Comfortably going nowhere and making excuses to our self that "all is good!"

Conclusion

in itself owning and running a small business is a never ending challenge. Added to that is trying to find a balance between the business, the family and your personal wellbeing. Setting priorities, making decisions and taking action in a relentless sea of change.   

Patrick Millerd

About the author

I help small and medium size business owners achieve success through managing the financial health of their business. By applying focussed goals for cash and profit and customer management.

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