June 15, 2019
Jacki HartLast month, I did a live Facebook interview with the Bracebridge Chamber of Commerce, titled "Know your businesses’ business." I’ve had lots of great inquiries since then from business owners, so apparently the topics discussed were of great value. (Watch the full interview online).

The interview was a question and answer format in which I shared my experiences as a business coach, helping small business owners to run more successful and more profitable businesses. I'll be sharing some of the interview over the next few months (or you can watch it online). The most important take away I wanted to share from the interview is that in order to make your business better, and to know when things are going wrong before it's way too late, you have to first get to know your business better. You have to work ON your business, even at the busiest times of the year.
Here are ten ways business owners can get to know their business even better:

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 the time for all three of these roles, every week.

Equip yourself for success

Good tools are needed to support every business: equipment, the right software, the right person inputting data, the right marketing tools (especially online), the right advisors, the right client (product match), the right people, etc. Always consider what it’s actually costing your business to NOT spend money on qualified people.

Don’t compete on price

A common mistake is to compare your prices to everyone else and then match your competition's price. 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 on price alone. Competing on price alone in a young business typically ends up 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 everyone. Know when to say no to any off-brand requests.

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 with you; get proven advice to fast track 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 bookkeeper, or a good 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, then 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 to get clear on what you should stop, what you could start, and what you should continue doing.

Get clarity

Why do you do what you do? Why did you start your business? Where is it going? What needs to happen in order for you to consider it a success? What’s your vision? What is non-negotiable? What are your core values?

Build a team that shares your beliefs

Simon Sinek has an infamous TedTalk you can look up online called, "Start with Why." Every business owner should watch it. Why are you in business? What should others believe in, to help you follow your business vision.

Work hard to keep right-fit customers, staff and suppliers

Relationships are key to all successful companies. Word-of-mouth referrals from clients, suppliers who you treat well and who will return favour when you need it most, customers who sing your praises online and at gatherings — these are all critical to your business success.

So even though it's June, and the late arrival of spring has you way more behind on jobs that you really care to admit, take time to look back and remember what visions, goals, ideas and passion brought you to where you are today, and take time to get to know your business better to ensure future success.

Jacki Hart CLM
Prosperity Partners Program Manager