Conway Daily Sun, Feb 23, 2011
Most business people are full of great ideas. I’m one of them; oh yeah, ask anyone, I’m freakin’ brilliant! Here’s the problem - great ideas don’t put food on the table. Great implementation does. While we’re talking about what really works and what doesn’t, we should clear up some myths. It is easier to make success out of success – having money, education and a support system makes life a lot easier for the entrepreneur. However, all the resources in the world won’t help if you lack the commitment to see things through to the end, no matter what. I’ve found that tenacity is more important than most other qualities for most small businesses. In fact, I’ve known complete dimwits to be successful in business with a snoozer of an idea, very little resources but lots of tenacity.
If you argue that having money or experience is more critical, consider that with some tenacity, you could get the money and the knowledge you need. In fact, with tenacity, you can acquire whatever other resource you need. None of those other resources will prepare you for the crap hitting the fan in one way or another, as it does about once every quarter for most small businesses. Constantly, you have to deal with setbacks large and small; a computer dies, a valued employee quits, a supplier goes bankrupt, customers change their needs, and so on. My point is the unpredictable nature of business requires more commitment and more creativity than most people have.
A business founded on a great idea lasts only as long as nothing changes in the world that renders the idea obsolete. Every business needs to have a source for new ideas in the face of constant change. Enter the entrepreneur. The real entrepreneur is the creative maniac that mentally lives in the future. Their job is to be the endless supply of answers, to be able to put out any kind of fire in an instant, to pound out rapid-fire problems like they’re playing whack-a-mole at the fair, and make it all look easy. Yes, it helps if you wear a mask and the super-entrepreneur cape. The entrepreneur however, creates as many problems as they solve. When they have something that works, most entrepreneurs can’t help but change it anyway. “If it ain’t broke, break it” is their mantra. When things are working well, most entrepreneurs make their employees crazy, constantly coming up with new ideas that aren’t ready to implement, or that no one else understands. Most don’t realize how much training their staff needs to be able to implement the next great idea. Most don’t have the focus (at least not without medication) to make sure the new ideas actually happen for more than a day. We can fix this.
No, there’s no need to lock the boss in the basement and let him/her out only when you really need them. The trick is to establish the proper rhythm of the business and get everyone to commit to sticking to the rhythm. This is a process of changing the way you work on your business that typically takes a few months of coaching to achieve, so explaining it in a newspaper article will be like teaching someone to dance The Hussle via email, but I’m going to give it a try.
Step 1. Identify your real goals in writing. This is worthy of a workshop on goal setting, team building, etc., and some difficult soul searching to do it well. Step 2. Develop your strategy for achieving your goals. Step 3. Schedule a quarterly strategy session to update your plan. Keep new ideas for the next quarter before you try them, and give things a full quarter to see if you can make them work or fail. Step 4. Assign accountability and a timeline for each strategic item to a single person. Step 5. Meet weekly to have each person report in on the status of their strategy line-items. Step 6. Huddle at the start of each shift to have everyone focus on today’s primary objective. So the rhythm is this - you write a plan annually, modify it quarterly, monitor it weekly, and energize it daily.
Like just about anything written to be informative, yet fit into a newspaper column, this is a grossly over-simplified explanation. My hope is to help you start a conversation about either your lack of new ideas or your bounty of great ideas that don’t get implemented well. The entreprenologist offers a number of ways to help you identify your business and life goals and to develop and keep the rhythm to achieve them.