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.
Some business owners shy away from change simply because they don’t believe they need to, but they can also resist because change brings uncertainty. Many clients fall into patterns of consistent behaviour and activity, particularly when their business is doing OK: why rock the boat if it’s all plain sailing?
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’re constantly striving to do better.
To be a great business owner, you need to:
- Come out of your comfort zone by taking some risks
- Have a clear plan and vision
- Know which choices are best – and then make them
- Create accountability and measure progress
- Understand where you are in your business’ life cycle
All great businesses started somewhere – and usually, it was a small start. ‘Good’ businesses get to a point where they’re making ‘enough’ money for the owners. Great businesses get past the money satisfaction halt and start focusing on ‘what’s next’. That’s where taking a risk becomes crucial.
Risk assessment is a skill. It involves being thorough. It also involves being disciplined enough to spend time considering how things could go wrong and what plans are in place in case they do.
Important decisions need to be made by people who have made mistakes before. Those people are really well-versed in what can go wrong and are hardened and informed enough to prevent them from happening again.
Taking your business to a higher level
So, what are some options for improving your business? Here are some ideas to consider:
- Explore a new target market, angle or sales channel for your product or service
- Introduce a new item that complements what you already sell
- Survey customers about ways to improve your product, service, or customer service, then act on their suggestions and let them know you listened
- Determine whether new software or other technology could help create efficiencies, improve productivity, save time or cut long-term costs
- Test your marketing activities, explore new digital options and determine whether your message is really reaching your target market in the most effective way
- Hire a professional business and financial consultant to analyse areas for improvement, help develop a long-term strategy for growth and improve your team.
Selling a great business for a great price
If you’re thinking about selling your business – either sometime soon or in the future – you will of course want your business to be great so it’s attractive to a potential seller at a higher price.