Owners, Manage Thyself
You have a good business and yet just when you have a great month, the next one turns sour. Even worse, it takes another two months just to get back on track. The cause may vary, perhaps this time a key employee quit, production screwed up or the competition stole another client. While it is never the same reason, you find you spend most of your time managing through another crisis. Your business life begins to feel like Bill Murray's in the movie "Ground Hog Day." If it were not so serious, you would laugh at yourself. In the immortal words of Rosanne Rosannadanna, "It's always something."
As the leader, owner and in most cases the actual service or product your firm sells, you are your business. So let's face some cold hard truth. If it is always something, it is you. Some part of your leadership, vision, management style or ability to implement tactics is holding your company back. Your friends, advisors, and peers may tell you this is naturally part of being an entrepreneur but given your results, you know it is not acceptable. Worse, yet, your other options for fixing the problem are few. Hiring a professional manager or working harder are not options. And the ultimate decision, selling out or giving someone else control, will destroy your dream and your ego.
So, what can you do to manage yourself to greater success? Here are the first two of five key steps.
1. Recognize your three roles:
2. Compensate yourself in three ways:
When you have determined what you should be paid for each of your three roles, add them up to arrive at your total compensation. For example: If you run a $5,000,000 service provider:
So, if you were successful in all three roles, you would have proudly earned $400,000. If you were not as effective in one or more of your jobs, cut your compensation for that part. By linking your pay to each of your roles, you can stay connected to all that you must do.
Contrary to what you may feel or hear, you are never completely successful or a total zero. Just like everyone else in your organization, you have your good points and bad. The only difference is that as an entrepreneur you have no boss. Therefore, to make a difference, you must manage yourself. And doing so through your compensation is a great way to stay honest.
Now that I have talked to you about the three roles you must play as a business owner and how to tie what you accomplish to what you earn, I will now show how to best spend your time to make the greatest impact. As owner, leader, and product number one, what can you do to make progress towards your goals everyday?
Consider this. Regardless of whether you are running a service, manufacturing, retail or distribution business, you can distill all your day-to-day efforts into three areas: Selling, Delivering and Developing your business.
Defining the Big Three:
Why are the Big Three all important and always at the same time?
By focusing on selling, delivering and developing your company at the same time, you will be successfully spending every moment of your business life focusing on the right company goals. Here's how:
Why are all three important and any two won't work?
While you are undoubtedly thinking about all the things you must get done every day, think first about the Big Three. If you are making equal and balanced progress in each area, you are helping your business to thrive both in the short term as well as in the long term. And in doing so, your daily activities can always stay on track and give you confidence your goals will be achieved.
Andy Birol is a Cleveland-based business growth consultant, owner of Birol Growth Consulting and author of "Focus. Accomplish. Grow… The Business Owner's Guide to Growth." He holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and has been published in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fortune Small Business and many more. In 2002, his firm won the Weatherhead 100 Award as Northeast Ohio's fastest growing single-employee business. A guest expert on CNN's Dollar Signs, NPR, and NBC, Andy comments on national and local issues facing business owners who want to grow their businesses. Andy can be reached by visiting his website at www.andybirol.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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