Do you remember the old Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson where Johnny would play the recurring comedic role of Carnac the Magnificent, the mystic from the East, and then physically “divine” unknown answers to unseen questions?
Carson was a magnificent comedian, who studied all of the comic geniuses before him, like Jack Benny and Steve Allen, and then incorporate some of their shticks into his routines, even some of their mannerisms. In the Carnac role he would wear a large feathered turban and cape and then hold up an envelope and give an answer to the question which was “hermetically sealed” in the envelope in his hand.
Just picture Johnny Carson holding an envelope with the name of your business inside as the secret answer. Would the question to which your business is the answer be something like: “What is your favorite hobby?” Or would the question be: “What is your greatest folly?” Truly, is your business some kind of joke?
Do you sometimes feel your business that you have poured your time, your money, and your life into is more of a hobby than your ticket to the top? Do you keep doing the same thing over and over again, day after day and getting the same miserable results? Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Do your friends and family wonder why you even bother in light of the hard work with meager rewards that you reap from this “business?”
Here’s the deal, here is how you can stop losing day after day and start winning and getting taken seriously in the marketplace: Quit treating your business like it’s some sort of hobby; quit acting like you are just performing a service or selling a product only for the good of mankind; quit believing that marketing, sales and profits are dirty words; quit acting like you think the only reason to be in business is merely because you enjoy what you do and you have a passion for doing it; and by all means change your mindset and start making big dollars instead of chump change in the valuable enterprise that you have created by the sweat of your brow and your passion for serving others!
You only have one life to give this world, and if you want to spend it being Mother Teresa and doing great good and giving great value for little or no reward, then make that your mission in life, and you will receive your reward in the next life – that is guaranteed! But if you want to run a small or large business and make your mark now on Planet Earth with the only yardstick that matters in business (dollars, pounds, yen, dinero, greenbacks) then start playing the game right and go for the win!
On my weekly radio show, Makin-It (www.makinitnow.com) my co-host Todd Williams and I receive hundreds of emails a week from people who want to know what they are doing wrong in their businesses. Some of these emails go into elaborate detail about what they think they are doing right, but seem to be blind as to what they might be doing wrong. Show me a business that is failing, and I guarantee you it is doing one of the following things wrong or not doing it at all:
Failing to market effectively. Nothing, and I mean nothing, will sabotage your business faster than failing to carry out an effective marketing and sales strategy. If you can bring enough business in the front door (through state-of-the-art marketing), then you can be a little weak on what is slipping out the back door. Marketing and sales is an art that is not easily learned or grasped, that takes time and study to master, but once you understand and implement even the fundamentals you will see an immediate change in the success of your business.
Poor Business Saavy. Do you think you could go on the PGA Tour without extensive knowledge, practice and coaching at the game of golf? Yet many people blindly go into business with no business skills, no marketing or sales skills, no financial acumen, no backing or resources, and no thirst for knowledge about the industry they are about to enter and think somehow, some way, they are going to succeed on the strength of some brilliant idea they might have. In other words, they have no preparation, training, knowledge or skills about “business,” yet hope to be successful at “business.” A fool’s errand, to be sure. So where do you learn these essentials? (For more information on this topic visit www.tommyrunfola.com)
Financial Management. You do not need an MBA from Harvard or Wharton to know how to manage money, but you do need to know how to control budgets, hire smartly, use common sense, and not get overextended or borrow too much until you have a proven business concept and track record.
Being Hands-Off. There may come a time when perhaps it will be time to step back and let younger and smarter people take the reins of your successful company, but it certainly isn’t Day One. To the new small business or enterprise, here is your job description, and the job description of every person you hire in this new endeavor: Come early, Stay late, and Do the Dishes! In other words, roll up your sleeves, forget about the clock, and work your tushy off!
Mentors. There are a lot of good mentors out there just waiting to help someone like you in your business. Even if you have to pay for this advice, it’s a good investment in your future. So find a good mentor who knows what they’re talking about, and then sit at their feet and absorb like a sponge. There are networking groups all over, and a good one is the one I head for the Glazer-Kennedy Insider Circle. (www.columbus.gkicadvisor.com) We have members from all over, so check us out and you’re welcome to participate on-line at any time.
Take Action. Many businesses never get off the ground or never get past first base because they fail to take decisive action. The business owner has to be the chief entrepreneur, idea man/woman and leader. The rest of the stuff can be hired out, if necessary, but the action-oriented head honcho is the person who makes the tough, hard decisions that only a committed, passionate leader can make. The buck stops with you! As an early mentor of mine once told me, “if you want to be in business, you have to have broad shoulders and a strong stomach.”
It’s not pretty, My Friends, but that’s how you keep your business from being a punchline in a bad joke! I know how the game is played, so follow these basic principles, and I guarantee, you will emerge a winner!