The One Trait Many Successful Entrepreneurs Share
Successful companies are very disciplined in getting their ideas implemented. These tips show how.
One question has always fascinated me throughout my business career: why do companies fail while others prosper in the same market?
Is it their vision, the quality of their products, or how social media savvy the owners are? What about their integrity, how fast they recognize new trends, or how they treat their employees?
While every single story leading to success or failure is undoubtedly different and unique, there is one trait many successful companies and small business entrepreneurs share: they are very disciplined in getting things done.
Think Big or Go Home
"Think big or go home" is a famous American business adage that makes me cringe every time I hear it.
My first reaction is always, who will get these big thoughts implemented? Is there a budget, extra staff, or training?
As it turns out, while these big thoughts are valid in many cases, they often remain just that - big thoughts.
Because coming up with these visionary ideas and the accompanying impressive PowerPoint slide deck aimed at bankers or investors is often the easy and fun part. Getting these ideas implemented is frequently left for another day or added to an extensive to-do list. This is even more so when this vision requires a fundamental realignment of how that company works. In that case, the implementation of such a vision could be time-consuming, complicated, or downright challenging. No wonder many ideas do not grow into anything more than a fancy PowerPoint slide deck.
Successful companies, large and small, know that great ideas don't produce the desired results until they are put into action, which requires a lot of organizational discipline to make them a reality.
Here are a few suggestions to become more disciplined in getting bigger things done:
Finish what you started. Unless your great idea turns out to be a dud, there is rarely a valid reason why you should stop halfway and not implement it.
Choose quality over quantity. It's not the number of ideas you have but their quality that most impacts your goals.
Solve the dependencies. The implementation of any big idea sometimes gets entangled in unforeseen dependencies with other parts of your company. When these challenges come up, try to solve them right away; otherwise, your implementation could be stuck forever.
Reward the doers. Many entrepreneurs do not seem to rate the skill to implement an idea as highly as coming up with one. In my experience, that's a mistake. The doers make your company run smoothly.
Be involved. Roadblocks are a regular occurrence in any implementation. Whether you are the owner of your company or in a leadership position, it is your responsibility to get involved and help remove the obstacles.
Embrace change. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said: "Change is the only constant in life." That does not mean you should jump on every fad, but try to pick out the important ones.
Be Mindful of the Little Things
The little things often get in the way of what we wanted to achieve that day. That's normal and happens to everybody, even the most disciplined entrepreneur. However, don't let the small stuff overwhelm you and prevent you from working on your big idea.
Here are a few suggestions to become more disciplined in getting the little things done:
You touch it; you finish it. You read an email but don't answer it immediately but leave it in your inbox, hoping to get to it later. You receive an invoice but delay paying it since it is not due yet. I am sure you have countless other examples in the same category. However, if you do not deal with these little things, they can pile up very quickly and cause more work in managing the ensuing crises of missed due dates than you saved by deferring your action.
Work smarter, not harder. In today's app-centric world, you can automate many repetitive tasks. However, try to avoid creating a mishmash of different tools that do not talk with each other, potentially leaving you worse off than before.
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Focus more on profits and less on revenue. Unless you are a non-profit organization, you want your company to make money. However, some business lines in your company may be more labor or capital intensive than others. Often, these business lines create a lot of work but are not very profitable. By shifting your focus more to profits rather than sales, you could explore exiting these business lines, which could eliminate a large number of transactions without significantly reducing your company's overall bottom line.
Think Big and Do It!
In my quest to answer why companies fail while others prosper, I finally concluded that successful companies are much more disciplined in getting their ideas implemented.
It's not that they had the best ideas at exactly the right time, but that they were excellent at implementing the ideas they had, true to the motto: Think big and do it!
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