The Facts of Business Life: Seven Steps to Breathe Life Into Your Business
Current statistics for new businesses aren't promising – only 30 percent make it more than 10 years. Here are some basic ideas for review, ones that will increase your probability to be one of that 30%.
by Ranger Kidwell-Ross
The year end is always a time to reflect on what one might do in the new year to enjoy more business success. In this article, we share seven steps from Bill McBean's new business book. These are each ideas he says will "breathe life into any business and increase its odds of success."
Here are Bill McBean's tips:1. Business owners should lead, so others will follow. "Good business leadership begins with defining the destination and direction of your company and deciding how the business should look and operate when it arrives," McBean writes. "It also involves developing and continuously improving on a set of skills in order to move your business from where it is today to where you want it to be tomorrow."
2. Owners should take control of their businesses. If owners don't have a hand in day-to-day operations, they have no control over whether businesses will succeed, McBean argues. "Don't stop at pointing out what should be done and how, also clearly state and emphasize that there will be consequences when standard operating procedures and processes aren't followed." Be stern with employees.
3. Put protecting a company's assets above all else. Businesses should educate themselves about where they've invested and how those investments are doing. "The key is to understand what all of your company's assets are, and then guard them closely and work to maximize the profits they represent," McBean said. "Because if you don't, they will haunt your business and cause financial pain when you least expect it."
4. Start planning the future instead of predicting it. Business owners can't predict the future, but they can make educated decisions depending on what they know. McBean gives the example of Ford Motor Company. In 2008 and 2009 its competitors, GM and Chrysler, ran out of cash and needed taxpayer bailouts to avoid bankruptcy. But years prior to the credit crunch, Ford began to restructure its debt and raised billions as it continually added to cash reserves. Was this luck or good planning? "Industry insiders will say good planning," McBean writes.
5. Market the business to make sure it stays relevant. "New business owners especially are nervous about marketing because money is already so tight at this stage," McBean said. "But you have to make the necessary effort to connect consumers to your company." It doesn't matter how great your company is; if prospects for sweeping aren't aware of it, there's no chance they will hire you. Find the best marketing channels and get your name out. If you have a small or non-existent budget, utilize the internet to make sure your company is listed at all the free places possible.
6. Remember that the marketplace is a war zone. McBean says it's necessary to develop a "warrior mentality" instead of shrinking away from the competition. "In order to be successful and remain that way, you have to continually focus on the market, react to it, and fight for what you believe should be yours. If you don't, your competition will win the war," he says.
7. Focus on general business principles instead of thia specific industry. "You need to understand the various aspects of business as it is more broadly defined, such as accounting, finance, business law, personnel issues, and more, and how all of these impact each other and the decisions you make," McBean says.
McBean says his tips will help any business to succeed – and we agree as will many of you reading this. However, no matter how experienced and skillful you are with your company, or how many years you've been successfully operating your firm, there is positive value in reviewing the above basic business principals to make sure you're still adhering to them.
"Ultimately, I don't believe that any entrepreneur can succeed – or at least reach his or her full potential – without knowing, understanding, and applying these concepts," McBean writes. "If you commit yourself to understanding these facts you'll be creating a best-odds scenario for success."
If you have questions or comments about this article and interview, please, let us know and we can add it in as an addendum to this article.
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