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Whether you are already running a business or intending to, here’s some food for thought:

Three questions to start

Do you…

1.

…concern yourself with things beyond your control? Think about the last week and how much wasted energy and thinking time went into what you can’t influence, change or control. Furthermore, do you believe that things outside your control can hinder your progress, or do you believe you can always find a way forward?

2.

...do you consciously build up a positive company culture? It starts, and ends, at the top. If you take the easy way out, cut corners, gossip, sew negativity – you can’t expect much from your team.

3.

…keep your business reliant on you in order to operate? What processes have you put in place within the last 6 months than make it easier for your team to do their job without your direct involvement?

You can only start to make progress when you are real with yourself about where you are now.

Blaming is lame.

 

INSIDE THE BUSINESS

As a leader nothing is more sobering than bringing to mind a quote attributed to Napoleon,

“There are no bad soldiers, only bad captains.”

When it concerns people in your business, consider them un-blameable.

You hired them, right? You trained them? You clearly conveyed what was required and followed up, right?

If it’s ‘yes’ to all of those, and you still think they need the blame, then perhaps you should have replaced them already. It’s still on you.

 


 

OUTSIDE THE BUSINESS

Blaming the government, market or competitors, or well… anything… won’t help one bit. Sure, things happen beyond our control, and in South Africa the business environment is often exceedingly challenging. But, if you are not careful it soon becomes your excuse for not finding opportunity and innovating. If it’s so bad and you believe there is no room for growth, then why not find a new territory to grow your business?

Work ON your business not IN the business.

Proactively free yourself from being part of every process, so you can focus taking business forward.

  1. What can you give over (properly delegate) within the next two weeks to someone-else to do for you? Sure, you’ve needed to do it for a start, but do YOU need to continue with it?
  2. Identify a task that consumes your time each week which you wish you could spend in another way, and you can’t give it to someone else to do. Have you considered looking for an app to reduce your time spent on it? Approving payments perhaps?

Here’s an interview with nomad.cloud Founder Franco Cronjé on the topic:

Get uncomfortable.

Where you would usually say no because it will bring some discomfort, try, “Ok let’s try” instead. Deliberately entering new and often uncomfortable territory in order to learn and grow. It has been said that comfort is the enemy of progress.

What do you avoid due to discomfort but would have a positive impact on those around you if you did it?

Unlucky.

Stop hoping for that lucky break. Give up day-dreaming about that ‘big thing’ that might happen and banking on it as an excuse for why you are not taking things forward today. If your ‘vision’ doesn’t have steps towards it mapped out – it’s only a nice thought and will remain that.

Sit down and think about where you want things to go, and write done a few milestones you think are needed to reach on the way. In reality things seldom go to plan, yet working out the steps needed to fulfil a vision help you break it down into achievable bite-size chunks. This can always be adapted as you go and unforeseen obstacles arise.

As for luck, things happen for those who make things happen.

Look, and see it.

Take time to generate new ideas, even if you think every thing is working fine. Look to create in spaces taken for granted or where norms are formed. By challenging and reverse engineering accepted methods, products and services to find a gap or do something in a totally different way.

Is there something your business does which can be done differently? Take any part of the business and ask what if we did this the other way around? Now envision the result playing out in reality, what the positives would be and see if something sparks a new idea.

Focus less on the competition.

Seek to rise above competition instead of copying trying to out do them on measurables.

Competition literally means ‘struggling together’. What if you create and run your own race? Explore the concept of ‘Sur-petition’ which has to do with creating a value monopoly whilst others are engaged in price wars and copying.

Think about delivering maximum value in ways that resonate with your audience (actually care), not merely how to better the competition’s prices. What if you had a proper “What if…?” session with your team?

Business as a Journey.

A vision is crucial to help your work through the daily detail knowing you are working towards a greater goal. But vision should not be confused with destination. One can continue to fulfil a vision, but at a destination one stops. We’re NOT talking about destination. If you don’t love the journey, you will constantly be frustrated and disappointed.

Here’s 4 tips to help embrace business as a journey:

    • Adopt the mindset of a nomad. Never settle for too long and get comfortable. Seek to adapt, change and move forward – before you have to.
    • Stop wanting to ‘be there’ already. Appreciate where you are now, remind yourself from time to time how far you have come, and who you have on your side. Be present and engage with what’s in front of you to get them most out of it, personally and for the business.
    • To journey means progress needs to be made. Aim to gain and maintain momentum. Don’t make perfection the goal (its relative anyway), but strive to make progress – even off the back of a mistake or fail.
    • Don’t ride on previous success and believe you are now entitled to anything because of it. Never get too big to listen, ask and thank.

Control the controllable.

Reduce the amount of things you are concerned about or pre-occupied with in life (from politics to the weather) and focus your energy on what you can control and influence. Ask yourself, “Can I do anything about this?”

TASK: List 3 things that you have influence and control over, regardless of how small. Where can you effect change in your business that would potentially be a step closer to positive results?

See failure differently.

This doesn’t mean you don’t care and just let things fail. NO, it means a mature manner in looking at taking risk and it not working out as hoped or planned.

FAIL = First Action In Learning.

What a wonderfully freeing concept! You LEARN while you FAIL. Progress towards success cannot be without failure whether big or small. The ability to learn from this is what contributes towards your ultimate success. The journey you undertake will most probably humble you to a point of no return at which stage the strong and persistent will stand up and continue to reach above the rest.

Persistence is a commodity worth trading in, and nobody can take from you. Failing forward using perceived failures to improve and bounce back stronger, the success stories of big brands are littered with failures until the succeeded.

Cash out.

 

Cash continues to be one of the worst performing asset classes in the world.

Annually your purchasing power is reducing as the value of your cash does not keep up with inflation and potential returns from other assets classes. The opportunity cost associated with cash is huge.

 

So how should we view cash?

See cash as an ENABLER. Let go of your affinity to cash. Start playing the game of business. The sooner you realise that the only reason you have cash is because you are playing the game of business better than the other person the sooner you will focus on keeping your head in the game, the cash will follow.

Destroy mentor dependancy.

 

Looking for certainty? Rather aim for clarity. As things become clearer for you, you are less reliant on someone else for sense of certainty.

Getting advice and guidance from people who’ve been there at different points along the way to gain insight, wisdom and clarity is vital. Being open to good advice, and seeking the right counsel is humility, but depending on someone else constantly is laziness.

To hope for a perfect mentor who will walk you through all the dark valleys along the way to ultimate success might be asking a bit much.

  1. Stop seeking approval from someone else before you do anything. No one was born wise, and everyone starts not knowing anything. Put one foot in front of the other, as best you know how, and learn as you go – drawing guidance from people and places you learn to trust, as you need it.
  2. Never be left wondering about something. Google it. Never before have we had such access to information.
  3. Invest time into reading. Eat the meat and spit out the bones. No single book is the total answer, find solid principles you can make your own and implement. Books allow you to have various mentors from which you can take the best bits and make them your own. Just don’t get caught in the trap of over-reading and under-doing.

 

People.

 

Your people, after mindset, are your biggest asset (yes it’s still true despite all the bots, robots and AI).

Ensuring a perfect fit and above average returns on your investment requires of you to choose well. When hiring new people base it on these 3:

  • values
  • ability
  • skill

Creating a well-oiled machine resulting in your staff being extra-ordinary requires attention to matters affecting them;

  • externally such as their work conditions
  • internally such as their personal well-being
  • aspirations such as what they are working for, the “why?”

 

The nomad.cloud Recruitment Guide comes as part of a Pathfinder Embark and Navigator Expedition memberships for more help on this crucial aspect of business.

 

Finally, Get Your Head in The Cloud.

 

The inflection point was reached. The way in which we conduct our business has dramatically changed. Scaling your business requires scalable platforms being readily available as and when needed.

Not adapting is similar to coal vs. solar. We all know that coal is dead, we just don’t know when it will be buried. Living in denial and holding on to this old way of doing will result in you being buried along with it.

Change should be uncomfortable otherwise what is the point. Get out of your comfort zone and explore the world of cloud-based solutions.