It’s a great time to be a business owner

You are a business owner: You make your own decisions, you are great at what you do, and you are passionate about the industry you are in. There is so much cash in the economy and there couldn’t be a better time to be an entrepreneur right now.

However, it can be complicated as you journey through from having a good business to running a great business.

As author Jim Collins declares, “Good is the enemy of great”.

If you are happy to have a good business and do not see yourself having a great business, then that’s OK, just skip to the Q&A. BUT what if you knew how to make your business great.

It takes specialist knowledge and commitment to make the right decisions. And it’s easy if you know how.

Let’s assume that you have built a business. You are committed (you turn up for work each day and go the extra mile) and you make decisions (that’s an everyday occurrence for you too, right?) You are already well on your way. All we have to do next is work on the business knowledge aspect.

Getting the right information and applying it at the right time is vital. It’s like dating – you are not going to ask someone to marry you on the first date are you? No, you are not. Unless you are on ‘Married At First Sight’ (yikes!), you have to be strategic during your dating journey. The entrepreneur’s journey is the same.

Where are you on your entrepreneur’s journey?
Having goals are important. It is equally important to know where you are now, as well as where you are going, because the path you take will be different from another entrepreneur.
For example, the route you drive from Port Macquarie to Sydney from will be different from your route from Tamworth to Sydney. Sure, you can drive from Port via Tamworth to get to Sydney, but you wouldn’t. But if this is all you have ever done, then you know only to take that path. You actually know there is a better way because of the knowledge you have and the decisions you have made.

Whilst this is a simplified version, this is also true in business.
We know there must be a better way, but we do not have all the answers, and even if we did, we don’t know when we should apply them to get the best result.

There are 7 levels in the entrepreneur’s journey, from start-up through to sale-ready. Depending on which level you are at will determine which strategy will work best for you right now.

Every business is different, and every business owner is different. You have different expertise and goals. However, every business owner has common ground, you want to excel at 3 areas:

Getting more work in the door though attracting, converting, and retaining more customers.
Getting more work done by having a reliable team and great systems so the business can run without you.
Keeping the cash on the way through good cash flow control and a tailor-made business dashboard to guarantee that you are on track.
Within each one of these 3 areas there are over 50 specific strategies that will help accelerate your business.

If you want to know which level you are on the entrepreneur’s journey and which strategy will work best for you today, contact me today and we’ll find a time to map out the right course for you.

Thanks for reading

Stuart ‘GPS for business’ Goodfellow

Your Questions Answered
Here are the answers to a few questions I have received. If you have a question, email me at [email protected] and get your question answered here.

Don’t look a gift-horse in the mouth
Hi Regional, I am an accountant and last year I completed an audit for a small not-for-profit club. They were fundraising for farmers throughout the drought and I was asked if I could help out. I looked after them on the price because of what they were doing for the community. How do I go about building my business without opening my books for all community groups etc? Thanks

– Matt

Hi Matt,

You have really hit a nerve with me with your question. I was in the same boat as you. ‘Giving back’ is a value of mine, but in the early days I found myself giving … a lot.

When a business owner asked me “Can I buy you a cup of coffee because I want to chew-your-ear”, I got what I deserved. For a bad coffee, they received valuable advice, I felt used and I became over-caffeinate!

The real kick in the guts was when I would check in on them and they hadn’t implemented what we had agreed they should do. Talk about a “bang-my-head-against-a-brick-wall” moment. And there were quite a few of these (Yes, I maybe a slow learner… ?)

I ended up creating a monster. It was the wrong move.

I provided good advice which helped others, but it cost me time I did not have.

I thought I was doing the right thing. I wasn’t.

There is a saying “If you don’t value your time, others won’t either”. It’s true.

I changed tack.

I still hold the same value of giving to the community, but it is now measured.

I limit myself to 3 charitable areas where I provide my knowledge, my time and my money:

I sit on the board of the local Chamber of Commerce. I believe I can do more in this space for local businesses as a whole, rather than the odd coffee catch-up.
I am a member of our Rural Fire Service and sit as its current President
I donate to Father Chris Reilly’s Youth-Off-The-Street’s charity.
This makes it easy for me to say ‘no’ to someone looking for free advice when they come knocking (and they do). I respectfully let them know that if I were to provide time or money to them, I would have to drop one of the other three I am already committed to. I then asked “Is that what you’re asking me to do? If, however, you want to talk business I am happy for you to make an appointment.” They either make a time to see me on my terms or they find someone else to lean on. And I don’t get to consume awful coffee.

What I have learnt is to set a limit to the charity work I do. It’s up to you to focus your attention where you see fit.

For me, I have decided to give it to the areas I believe will have the greatest impact in business, in my local rural community and to an organisation that does amazing work with those who need it most – in my opinion.

Others can judge me, and I am OK with that.

I hope this helps

Sow and you will reap
Dear Regional, I own a nursery and landscape supplies business and have heard a lot about having a business dashboard. I know I should have one but don’t know what it looks like. Do you think this will help me manage my business better?
– Carol

Hi Carol,

If my spidey-senses are on the money, you should be in the midst of having an Iso-Bunning’s-Bonanza over the last few months as all the home renovators are sprucing up their yards.

And Yes, get to that dashboard you mentioned. Having a business dashboard helps you to measure the important indicators of your business.

The clue to working out what you need to measure is to picture yourself on a destination NSW holiday (You probably can’t be anywhere else at the moment).

Next: if you were to call your business and you could only ask 5 questions each week which would inform you as to how your business is going, what would you ask? Sales?, Enquiries?, Enquiries to Sales?, Gross Profit?, Wages to sales ratio?, Debtors?, Cash on Hand?, Inventory level?, Orders due in and/or out? It all depends on what will provide you with the key predictors of your business success.

Once you know these it is easy to work if you are on track to your plan, which areas need more fertiliser and where the weeds need to be pulled in your business.

Good luck, Stuart.

It’s a great time to be a business owner