Accru in Adelaide recently launched ProfitSurge, a profit improvement program aimed at helping clients to build great businesses. So what makes a good business great? James Orchard, Adelaide’s Managing Partner, shares his views.
In his book “Good to Great”, Jim Collins talks about ‘good being the enemy of great’. Running a good business gives a false sense of security and encourages us not to try. Running a great business takes initiative, creativity, passion and courage – but that’s a lot of effort when there’s no burning need to change.
I see many clients who fall into patterns of consistent activity, particularly when their business is doing OK: why rock the boat if it’s all plain sailing? Business owners can shy away from change because they don’t believe they need to change or because change brings uncertainty. It may well do so, but coming out of your comfort zone every now and then is one of the key attributes of a great business. Great businesses never settle – they constantly strive to do better.
Some of the barriers to ‘doing better’ include:
- Apathy – you know the cliché: ‘If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got’. Comfort can be your biggest trap.
- Discipline – Coming out of your comfort zone requires a lot of extra effort and discipline, especially when it comes to implementation. There’s no shortage of new business strategies you can follow – but the value lies in doing them.
- A need for certainty – doing better means changing things. This involves risk, and with that comes uncertainty. There needs to be an appetite for business risk in order to become great.
- Family life – At the very time when you might need to take risks with your business, you don’t feel you can because you’ve got family and financial obligations that require a certain equilibrium.
To be a great business owner, you need to:
- Come out of your comfort zone – challenge yourself to try something different.
- Teach yourself discipline – getting up earlier is not necessarily the answer. Discipline can be taught.
- Have a clear plan and vision – we all have the same hours in the day. Make them count more by being focussed and following a plan.
- Know which choices are best – having a clear vision makes it much simpler to know what to do to become great and which strategies to commit to.
- Create accountability – make yourself accountable to an Advisory Board, external Chairperson or people outside the organisation who will challenge you and who are expert at creating reporting mechanisms so you can measure progress. No measurement will equal no progress.
- Understand where you are in your business’ life cycle – then find a way to better manage the times when you need to take risks.