Successful business performance and how it is tied to raising your standards was the focus of a client meeting I had at the beginning of the year. He was looking for 2010 to be a breakout year.
Things were going well. The marketing of his company was producing very positive results. His forays into advertising had shown him some possibilities that really worked. In 2009 he had gotten his policies and procedures into a manual. Personnel policies and procedures were in place. He had good employees and was starting to put together a management team.
In the financial area, the company was profitable and he was drawing a good salary. His taxes were current. Sales had increased although there was some seasonality to his business. It was all good.
For most small business owners they would keep doing what they did in 2009 expecting a better 2010. That could happen and many times does. Small business owners stay in the comfort zone. Ultimately, when things do change, and they will, they are caught off guard. And, when you are in the comfort zone and things change it can quickly become the zone of mediocrity or failure.
We talked about the fact that when things are going well it is a good time to look ahead to changes that could make the business stronger. The question when things are going well is where do you start?
It is not easy to answer. I asked him to go back over 2009 and focus on things he didn’t like or that nagged at him in his business. I even asked him to look at his life. The result was a list that had many items.
The good news was that many of these things could be corrected or delegated. After all the goal is to design a business and life around who you are. The bad news was that when we looked at them they were draining him of focus and energy. How do you go about getting rid of or diminishing those things that aren’t working well for you?
You have one simple phrase you live by. “Raise your standards.” When you raise your standards what you are tolerating starts to go away. But, change is not easily done with a change of phrase.
Raising your standards has to become a mindset. In the beginning it is best to start with small things that can be easily corrected. The paper work flow in his business was not efficient and could cause some delays. He changed that. Then he changed some job descriptions that started making every one’s life better.
He kept raising his standards and as he did things became easier. He built momentum. And, as of this writing he is enjoying more business and he is having a more satisfying life.
Too often in small business we create a job for ourselves and not a business. Start raising your standards. When you do you will start to grow and move beyond just having a job to creating a business. Creating a business that earns money and where you don’t have to be there all the time.