How to Run a Successful Business By M. Allen, MBA
As I continue to research and immerse myself in all that is business, there are multiple facets to and varying opinions on the best way to run a business successfully. Not surprising of course. The quick and dirty answer to the very vague title of this article is DON’T! (insert abnormally long and deep gasp here). Right, I said it, don’t run your business. Those in leadership positions (senior, executive, and mid-level managers) get so caught up in numbers, organization, systems, and traditions that stepping outside-of-the-box is out-of-the-question. This is especially true in large organizations.If black represents you running your business and white represents your business running you (into the ground), there is a huge grey area that represents the happy (less insane) medium.
You don’t have to do everything or know everything. Even if you founded the company from the ground up and are the mecca of all SME’s in business, you are not expected to know everything. Unless you are a robot running on solar power with backup batteries (and not food and coffee), then you shouldn’t be doing everything either. Outsource and delegate. Assuming that you have hired the staff you have working under you and under them and so forth and so on, you have a high level of trust and faith in them to get the job done. If you have anything less than a high level of trust and confidence in them…we’ll get to that in the next paragraph. Let those you have hired to do a job, do the job. Empower them to make decisions and changes within in scope. Sit down with them and define to which extent their powers go. If they fail to perform, over and over….we’ll get to that in the next paragraph as well. Micromanaging only annoys the hell out of your direct reports and stresses you out even more. If you are a solo-preneur or one man army, technology, interns, apprentices, and virtual assistants are your saving grace.
Don’t be afraid to shake things up. I was listening to Tim Ferriss’ recent podcast episode featuring the fascinating Ricardo Semler, radical businessman and CEO of Semco Partners. Semler discussed how and why he went into his newly gifted company and fired 60 percent of the managers. To make a long story short, he transformed the company from struggle to success. For those employees that do not uphold their duties and responsibilities and can’t handle seamless decision-making, let them go. Another, more radical, alternative is to find them a position in the company that better fit their knowledge, skills, and abilities. The move may save some ill-feelings and increase their loyalty and performance. Regarding processes, there’s a saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix”. Completely wrong. Just because you have been satisfied with a certain process or way of doing things, does not mean it is the most efficient or effective method. I will repeat, don’t be afraid to shake things up. Processes and goals should be evaluated at minimum bi-annually. Evaluations should be taken seriously.
Don’t avoid change. Change equals growth. Now, I know what you’re thinking…”Megan, how the hell does change equal growth if it fails?” Great question. Here is the thing, in business, we are sometimes so scared of failure that we will remain stagnant to avoid the disappointment. My advice, get over it. You may fail. You may not. But you will not grow if you do not change. You find a business “sweet spot” and just stick to it. The world around your business, your market, your products, your competition, your systems, your talent pool, your employees…I could go on and on, but you get the point. All of it is in constant motion. Your business must be able to quickly adapt and change to remain competitive and relevant. So look change in the eye and tell it you are going right through it! Change your systems and processes, develop your talent and hire new talent, and look at your products or services from the customer/client perspective. If the change(s) result in failure, great! Get up, brush your shoulders off, and learn from it!
So, my final question to you is….how do YOU run YOUR business? Share your thoughts and comments below.