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Five Secrets to Growing Your Business

SUMMARY

  • “Think about this in terms of planning a mission to Mars, you need the vision to create the plan. What needs to be done now? What needs to be done in the next few years? What needs to happen on the voyage to get a team from the Earth to land on Mars, alive!”

  • In this episode, I share five things you and your leadership team need to focus on to get the traction you need to take your business to the next level:

    • A Clear Vision

    • A Strategy

    • The Right People

    • An Operating System
    • The Ability to Execute
  • “The people who’ve got you here might not be the same people you need to get to the next level”

  • “There are so many great systems that you can implement in your business. Like The Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS.”
  • DON’T just write up your strategy and put it in the drawer until the same time next year! You’ve got to execute to get to the next level.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

[The following is the transcript of this video. Please note that this episode, like all posts, features Jean speaking unscripted and unedited — filmed in one take. The actual video may differ in content from the script. But you’ll still get loads of value!]

Hey everyone, it’s Jean Moncrieff. And welcome to this episode. Today I want to talk about the five secrets of growing your business.

For some of you, these aren’t secrets but the seemingly obvious. The challenge though, and the reason I’m calling them the five secrets to growing your business, is that very few of us actually focus on them and do these things.

There comes a time when you bring everybody together around the table to build a plan for the future. To set goals and come up with a strategy to get you there. Perhaps it is now at the end of the year. Or at the end of the financial year. Or when something happens in the business and you need to formulate a plan for the future. And that’s great!

But there are five things that I’m seeing that are missing from these sessions, and, that are missing after these sessions. People come together; we talk, we plan, we debate. There’s a lot of great work that’s done. And I know, these sessions are tough. They take a lot of time and energy. You have different perspectives and people aren’t always on the same page. In fact, some folks may resist contributing or getting involved.

So I want to share five things you absolutely must be doing before, after and during your annual goal setting and planning sessions. They will make the process easier. They will help you gain traction. And they will help you reach your strategic goals. Apply these five secrets to in your business and you’ll achieve your goals.

A Clear Vision

Most of us start off a business with a wonderful vision. A dream that with a bit of work, you could very well turn into a reality. The problem is most entrepreneurs never articulate their vision. It stays in your head. You aren’t writing your vision down. You aren’t communicating your vision with your team.

Right now, I want you to block out time to sit down and to write out your vision. What is the purpose of your business? Where are you going in the next two years, three years, four years, five years, 10 years? What is it that you’re trying to achieve?

And it doesn’t have to be complicated. It can fill a page and a half or more. I’ll add a tool. If you haven’t got a piece of paper, you can download and print out the vision tool and just sit down and do it. But you need to sit down for 45 minutes, an hour, and you need to write down your vision.

And then once you’ve written it down, share it with your leadership team. Share it with your co-founders, share it with your shareholders. Tell them this is what your business is about. Tell them this is where it’s going. And share that sense of purpose about why you created the business.

So that’s number one — vision. Get your vision down. Get it onto paper. Do it now.

A Strategy

Next one is a strategy. A lot of your planning session revolves around strategy. However, in a situation where there is no common vision, the future isn’t all that clear, and planning is tough. In the absence of a shared vision, your team will spend a lot of time trying to figure out a strategy. And when you finally get around to building the strategy, you’ve lost time. Or there are essential elements missing from your strategy.

Think about this in terms of planning a mission to Mars, you need the vision to create the plan. What needs to be done now? What needs to be done in the next few years? What needs to happen on the voyage to get a team from the Earth to land on Mars, alive!

In a lot of ways, your business is like a mission to Mars. You have the vision to build something incredible. You know where you want to go on your entrepreneurial journey. But you need a sound plan to get from where you are right now, to that future place.

What very often happens with a strategy is that we would put up everything on the whiteboard and the charts and we commit it to paper. But to a large extent, that’s where it ends. There aren’t any timelines. There isn’t any accountability. There are no clear milestones for the short- and medium-terms, what needs to be achieved in the next quarter, for example.

So when you’re putting together your strategy, make sure it connects with your vision; get clear on what success looks like five years from now, and what success looks like in the next quarter. What are the top five things that absolutely have to happen to move the needle in the right direction to get you where you want to go in three years, five years or ten years?

Break your strategy down into quarters. What are the 3-4 things every team leader and her team absolutely has to get done this quarter to move the needle for year one, for three years on, for five years on, and for 10 years on?

And it’s only three to five things for each member of your leadership team. Too many things and they’re just not going to get done. What are the three to five things in each person and their teams must do to move the needle? To get us to where we want to go in the next five to ten years? To get us to Mars?

You may only get 80 or 90% of those things done each quarter. But imagine how much you can move the needle by getting 80 or 90% done every single quarter!

The Right People

Once you’ve got your vision and your strategy sorted out, the next thing you need to work on is getting the right people in the right roles.

And unfortunately, the people who’ve got you here might not be the same people you need to get to the next level. You need to find people that can help go from where you are now to where you want to go, but so often we neglect to put the right people in the right roles.

I see this in so many businesses. I was guilty of it in my own business. You get to a place where you keep bumping your head. No matter what you do, your business just doesn’t seem to find the traction you need to grow. And you know what? A lot of it has to do with the people you have at that time. Having a team of people that can take you from where you are right now into the future is critical for growth.

So I suggest you take a look at your organizational structure. You likely have a visionary who is typically your founder or CEO, then somebody who brings the whole team together, a COO or MD. The EOS system, which I’ll get to in a moment, refers to this as an integrator. A person who keeps your visionary in check and translates vision into strategy. And you’ve got sales and marketing, you’ve got finance, and you’ve got operations and everything underneath those functions.

Define all those roles; the team that you’re going to need to get to Mars. Who are the people that you’re going to need to go from here to there – your Martian vision? Are the people in those roles the right people? Do they want the role that they are in? Have they got the skills and the experience to deliver on the responsibilities and to get you to where you need to go?

Get your organizational structure on a paper. Look at the roles. Make sure you know what each role’s responsibility needs to be — the top five responsibilities. And then look at who you’ve got at the moment, who can fit that role, who wants that role. And if you don’t have someone suitable for the role, start looking to fill it.

Just like getting to Mars, you want the best team for the job. It’s going to take huge effort to get your business to where you want to go, I imagine. So you want to make sure that you have absolute best people on that mission to Mars.

If something goes wrong on the spaceship, on your shuttle, you don’t want somebody who’s going to panic, who doesn’t have the experience to fix something, somebody who’s going to be psychologically not ready to go to the next level. All of those kinds of things. What’s your culture like and how do those people fit into your culture and are they the right people?

So — vision, strategy, people. Next, a system.

An Operating System

I’ve seen so many businesses that drift along without any systems. And when I talk about systems, I’m talking about everything from how you run a meeting so that meetings are productive to the processes and the procedures for doing things like paying accounts, ordering something, dealing with a customer complaint, all of the standard operating procedures or processes and procedures that you need to run a successful owner-independent business.

There are so many great systems that you can implement in your business. Like The Entrepreneurial Operating System, EOS. There’ll be a link below.

Also, Scaling up from the Gazelle’s team. There’ll be a link below. I’ve worked with both systems and they are fantastic for entrepreneurs wanting to grow their businesses and go to the next level. So if you need a system, take a look at one of these, get it in place. It’s going to make all the difference in terms of getting you from where you are now to going where you want to go.

Think about our mission to Mars again. If you haven’t got a life support system, you aren’t going to make it very far. If your navigation systems aren’t working, you’re not going to land on Mars. All of those kinds of systems that you absolutely need to have in your Mars rocket, your business needs too. Think cash flow equals life support, navigation equals strategy, comms equals comms. Don’t hesitate! Get them in place now. Make that one of your top priorities in your strategy. Get the right people into the right roles and get systems in place, and you are taking one giant step in the right direction.

Execution

Number five, the final one. The most important — maybe not the most important one. I think all of these are equally important. But — execution. At the end of the day, without execution, nothing happens.

DON’T just write up your strategy and put it in the drawer until the same time next year! You’ve got to execute to get to the next level.

If you have ever flown a plane, you’ll realise a strategy is like a flight plan. As you fly toward your destination, at a certain speed and for a period of time, you look out for marker — for a dam, a road, another airfield — markers that confirm you are on course. At some points you may need to change direction slightly, and you fly for another period of time at a certain speed in a direction, and you look for your next marker.

Execution is the same thing. Here’s our plan. Here are the success markers. Let’s start flying. And every single quarter, every single week, be checking your progress — “Hey team, have we hit that target?”; “Can we release our new product or service?”; “Is the development team on track?”; “Have we hit our sales targets?”; “Who needs help?”; “What needs adjustment?”.

Execution is critical. And putting systems in place will help you get the execution part right.

So — vision, strategy, people, systems, execution. Five key things you absolutely have to get right in your business to get tractions and take your business to the next level.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please put them into the comments section below. I’d love to engage with you.

These episodes are about you. Every week I try to tackle a challenge that I’m seeing in a business. So if you’ve got something you want me to talk about or you want to hear about, add it to the comments. Happy to pick up on those questions.

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