Feel like a passenger in your business?

Do you feel like your business is being pulled in all directions and you’re struggling to rein it back in and take control? Do you feel like like the captain of your ship and more like a passenger in your rapidly changing business? Taking control isn’t always easy, but with the right strategies, you can learn to take back control and evolve your business. Here’s how:

Focus on your vision and why you started

A great way to take back control from the onslaught of business pressures is to focus on why you started in the first place. Figure out what matters most to your clients and future business strategies and create a detailed plan on how to work from there. Your plan should include re-enforcing your vision for the business not only to the staff, but your suppliers, contractors and other stakeholders that contribute to the delivery of your standards to your customer. An easy way to do this is to make yourself a set of flash cards with one line questions about your your goals, your products and any knowledge that you or your team need to answer client and stakeholder enquiries and each day randomly select a few to challenge your team with. this heightens their awareness, keep them alert to being asked to demonstrate their knowledge and focuses everyone attention on what matters.

Work for quality not quantity

The difference between an entrepreneur and a successful entrepreneur is their appreciation of delegation and scaling. delegation of the right tasks is important but some tasks, as mundane as they are may be too important to delegate. Knowing what to focus your attention and assets on to create quality outcomes is far more valuable than wasting endless hours on a project that isn’t driving your sales or your business. Everyone has a different measure of success so be clear about what your goals are. Scalability is important if you want to grow a large business but if your idea of success is to work part time and earn extra pocket money, scaling up may actually cause you more of a headache. Make time for a regular check in with your own plans. Are you achieving your goals? Have you started to work to someone else’s goals? Are you enjoying what you do? Are you good at the tasks that you are doing or is there someone else who can do them better?

Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Before you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business you need to complete a brutal and honest assessment of your own strengths and weaknesses. Successful entrepreneurs know what they are good and bad at and focus on the areas where they can make the biggest contribution to growing the business, while seeking out resources that can deliver the tasks or roles that they have least experience in. However in doing this, it is important to check in on all areas outsourced to ensure that the standards or contracts set have been met and in doing so you are now working on the business strengths and weaknesses.

Create an environment for success

An environment for success is more than a tidy desk or beautiful office with a view. Some of my best ideas and work has been done off-the-cuff in a queue at Harry Potter World, on the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway, on a bench in the park and even in the middle of the night. We all function differently. My desk would be one of the messiest you could find but I do know exactly what is on it. As for a view, I always sit with my back to the window to avoid the ageing rays of the sun on my face. Aside from the physical space, team culture is by far the most important driver of business. If you show up to work late and slope off early you give a clear message to your team that its ok to be slack. If you spend the day complaining about workload, suppliers and customers your team will do the same. Instead encourage celebration of achievements, coach your team in problem solving skills and make the workplace a challenging but fun place to be.

Put in the hard work

The hardest part of growing a business is establishing all of the above. Once you and your team have an understanding of the business direction, the systems to deliver them and an environment that encourages growth your work becomes easier. To put this into perspective, the next time you are in a restaurant ask your waiter or waitress what her responsibilities are. If the reply is “Huh? to get you food” then you know that that organization is falling down. A better response would be “to make sure that you receive the best attention and service while bringing you delicious hot and nutritional food so that you will spread the word about how fabulous it is to eat here.  And this was the exact response that blew me away when dining in a little Bistro in London in 2014.