December 15, 2019
Jacki HartEarlier this year, I was invited to record a few Facebook Live sessions. They were really fun, and as part of the process in preparing for one of the recordings, I created a list to help guide the conversation. As we near the end of 2019, I’d like to share that list with you. I hope you will find something of value or something to inspire you realize some professional development goals between now and next season.

One of my key goals is to encourage you and your leadership team to keep working ON your business and its systems, and to step back long enough to recognize the signs of where there’s room for improvement.

Work smarter

Start with realizing that your business won’t be profitable all on its own. Working harder isn’t the answer, working smarter is. Technology integration has become a must in order to keep up with the marketplace. Tools and information at your fingertips are crucial to being effective and efficient. You’re the leader, which includes being the thought-leader, critical thinker and strategy developer. Make time every week to focus on each of these three roles.

Equip yourself for success

Good tools are needed to support every business. You need equipment, the right software, the right person inputting data, great marketing tools (especially online), the right advisors, the right client to match your product and services, the right people, etc. Always consider what it’s actually costing your business to NOT spend money on qualified people. Consider the benefits that surface when you choose to “hire up” and increase the bench strength of your team to handle tomorrow’s business.

Don’t compete on price

A common mistake is to compare your pricing to your competition and match them. This is a death wish. Without knowing your competitors’ costs of goods, labour, equipment and fixed expenses, you have no idea whether your price should be comparable to theirs, or if you should compete on a different basis than price alone. Competing on price alone in a young business typically ends up being a race to the bottom of the profitability drain.

Stick to what you’re good at

Make sure you don’t try to be all things to all people. Know when to say no to an off-brand request, or to one that’s out of your service territory or supply chain.

Get help to learn what you don’t do well

Whether it’s understanding how to price what you do in order to pay yourself better, or how to build a team who like coming to work every day, get proven advice to fast track your way to better success. Find a trusted and experienced mentor, an advisor, a peer group (ie: Landscape Ontario’s Peer To Peer Network!), a bank advisor, a good office manager, a talented book keeper, or a good business coach.

Change your thinking

Einstein said: “You can’t solve a problem by using the same thinking that created it.” If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get the same result. Learn, review results, adapt, try again.

Step back: stop, start and continue

Take time to slow down and take stock of what’s happening. It’s counter-intuitive to step back, but it pays you back in spades when you get clear on what you should stop, start and continue doing.

Get clarity

Why do you do what you do? Why did you start your business? Where is it going? It will be successful only when what exactly is happening? What’s your vision? What’s non-negotiable? What are your core values?
Search online for Simon Sineks’ popular TedTalk, “Start with Why” and watch it.

Keep right-fit customers, staff and suppliers

Relationships are the key to successful companies. Word-of-mouth referrals from clients, and ones who promote you, suppliers that you treat well, and who will return a favour when you need it most, staff who share your vision and values — these are all critical to your business success.

As we head toward the end of the year, reflect back on what’s gone really well and what needs improvement in order to help you achieve your next level of success. Take stock, develop a plan, and arm yourself with the professional development resources available to support your goals for improvement.
Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager