If you accidently came to this article thinking about ‘how to make money while you sleep’, you’re definitely in the wrong place. Hit exit right now.
This post is for business owners & consultant who dream of having a business that will not fall apart when they’re not working in the business. That will thrive even when you go on holidays. Building a business that will not burn into flames if you’re sick and can’t get out of bed and that will grow even when you feel like you’re not working so much.
Over the years, in many different shapes and forms, my job had been to help business owners/leadership teams to build high performing businesses, teams and help individuals become high performers. And while doing that I’ve identified 5 steps that’s crucial to have in place if you dream of having a business that you can really enjoy and not feel like you’d lose it all if you don’t work 100 hours a week.
Client Centric Product Development
This is such a simple point that a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs get so wrong, just because they don’t understand the fundamentals in any successful business. Any business that had become a mammoth of legacy has one thing that was crucial to their success.
”Found a problem that already exist in the world (that people are willing to pay money for) and they solved it. Period.
I see so many wannabe entrepreneurs getting so confused with marketing, advertising, the latest tips and tricks of the trade, but missing this point!
When you don’t have a product that solves an existing problem, of course you have to go above and beyond to figure how to sell it. But if you start with your clients (not customers! There’s a difference!) in mind, you don’t need to spend so much time “trying” to market, because it sells itself.
One of the top 5 reasons why businesses go out of business in the first 5 years in business is because there is no need for the product. But just because the founder had a solution that he/she thought, would be a good one to push down people’s throats, just because it was their ‘opinion’.
If you’re thinking ‘Well…I don’t know a problem I can solve!’…well then you have some ground work to do!
Go find a group of people you’re passionate about helping and ask them what their problems are and then solve it for them. If you don’t know how to solve it, well…… learn! Stop guessing, get out there and ask!
2. Stick to your Zone of Genius
This one, I’ve been guilty of myself as well. But, there’s no single human being on this earth who are born to do everything in this world 100% to it’s best. Even if you try, you’re going to find out the hard way that you’re really not as smart as you think you are.
It’s like you trying to be the goalkeeper, mid field, centre, and all other positions as well as be the coach in a football team. And expecting to win!
You can only be great at one thing at best. If you try to be everything, you’re going to get burnt out and 99% of the time you’d do a pretty average job at everything.
The earlier you admit the fact that you’re not really as smart as you think you’re, business will be easy.
”Find out what your zone of genius is, and stick to it.
Find people who are smarter than you are in all other areas.
Yes, even when you don’t have money! Especially when you don’t have money, because that’s when you need people around you to tell you what you don’t know.
If you look at some of the most successful sports teams you’d notice cases where either the coach, the manager or the players in the team has taken a pay cut in order to afford another best player for a position they are not good at. Because in the long run, it’s going to pay off. Business is a team sport. Treat it as such and you will win.
You only know what you know and you don’t know what you don’t know. Which takes me to my next point.
3. Build a Team That Would Shift Mountains
This is a point that gets on a lot of smart people’s nerves. Especially people who come from very successful corporate backgrounds where they you’re rewarded to be the best and be all to everyone. Unfortunately, if you do this in the business world, the chances the business would fail is high.
”The faster you admit that you’re not the smartest and the best in everything, you’ll enjoy the process more
and you can build a team who is smarter than you are, in doing the things that you’re not great at.
One part of this comes down to letting go of wanting to micro manage or be in control, just because you feel insecure about not knowing the ins and and outs of something. If you do want to know everything, keep tabs on everything, know what everyone is doing at every given second, I’ve got some news for you! Business doesn’t suit you. Please go back to a job where you can micro manage every bit of detail. Because that’s a difficult way to build a business.
A lot of business owners who have a hard time letting go pieces to people who are truly talented would only grow to a limited extent. The only thing it’s going to do is drive great people away. Because no one wants to be micromanaged.
So stop being pedantic, hire the best, keep the best and let go when it’s no longer a mutually beneficial relationship. And when you have your A team around you, you will grow leaps and bounds compared to how slow you grow on your own. If your concern is that you don’t have money to hire the best, well, find the money or be creative in engaging the right talent.
4. Build a Culture that people would do anything to work for you
If you have a high turnover, it’s a good indicator about the culture you’ve built. Whether you’ve built one on purpose or not, you’re still building one. This ties back to the point about keeping the best.
Hiring the best is easy, but keeping them is hard. If people leadership is not your strong suit, hire one who’s great at. People join companies because they believe in the vision, but they leave people because you’ve made it difficult for them to thrive.
You don’t even need big manifestos to build a great culture. Just build you A team and ask them what they want their culture to be. Let them build a place that they love waking up everyday to come to work for. Stop guessing what they want and ask them.
”Let them become the champions of their own culture.
Something that a lot of businesses do not understand is the difference between building a high performing creative team and high performing non-creative team. If you try to measure success and manage talent in non-creative fields the same way as you’d measure and lead creative teams, I will guarantee you, it will fail.
They use different cognitive functions in their brain to do the work and you understanding this difference can be the determining factor in having a high performing, driven, passionate team that will be your competitive edge and losing great talent and being miserable having to do all the work yourself.
Build a culture where everyone has the autonomy to be their best and you’d have a much fun time building the business.
5. Build the framework for people to thrive
‘My team doesn’t operate when I’m not there…..’
‘She didn’t do what I expected…’
‘He’s not delivered as much as I’d like..’
These are phrases that I’ve heard time and time again from business owners.
The reason why your team doesn’t deliver what you wanted them to is because of two reasons.
- You have poor or no communication
I cannot even remember the number of times that I’ve had to deliver the tough news that the reason why your team is not performing is because of ‘you’!
”“The meaning of your communication is the response you get.” - Gregory Bateson
It’s not your team’s responsibility to go above and beyond to understand what you’re saying or read your mind. It’s your responsibility to be clear about your intentions.
- You haven’t put the right system in place for them to deliver
If you have performance related issues, that’s simply because you have either got no systems in place or you haven’t got the right system in place for your team to thrive. When you have the right system in place, sooner rather than later, people who cannot keep up with you will leave. And that’s not a loss. That’s merely a relationship that’s not meant to be.
But when you don’t have the right systems in place, you would have low performing employees and you wouldn’t even know about it. All you would see are the symptoms of the problem like working longer hours, missing deadlines, always putting out fires, etc.
While I can write a book about these topics, I will leave it at this leave, as this gives a good start for you to start the diagnosis of problems you face and start asking the right questions.