In my experience, the development path for most small to medium size businesses is as follows.
A passionate and driven individual, possibly you, starts a new business because they have a dream. A vision of the future which involves them creating a new life for themselves, their families and making life better in some way for their customers.
The first few years are challenging as you learn what running a business is all about and discover there are gaps in your knowledge and abilities that you need to fill.
And then you get to a point when you need an accountant to keep your finances on track and you start to get management accounts which show you how sales revenue is translating into profits, where your costs are building and how fast or slow your cash is coming in.
Vital information if you are going to be successful and not become one of the 70% of businesses that will fail by their fifth year.
The idea of managing a business is a fundamental of business success. There are myriad books, courses and programmes all aimed at business people; from the hopeful beginner to seasoned campaigner, with the objective of enabling more success.
They focus on sales, finance, logistics, marketing, human resources all the functional things you must do within a business of any size for it to be successful in the long term.
But there’s a missing link.
And it is to do with your thinking.
Having started and grown my own businesses and worked in the corporate world I know there is a major limiting factor that determines future success and it is something most training courses never cover.
How You Think.
You will never expand your business beyond the boundaries of your thoughts.
If you’re Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Sara Blakely that’s not a problem for you because your thoughts are way bigger than most others.
But there’s a reason why most businesses are small businesses.
In the UK there are now 5.7 million business and 99% are micro businesses employing less than 10 employees and 4.3 million are sole operators. (Source: – House of Commons Briefing Paper No. 06152, 28 December 2017)
As a business owner, you must be able to think outside of your own perspective to build a business and to scale it.
Having read many business biographies; I haven’t come across one where the entrepreneur did not have a mentor, advisor or confidant of some kind; who was able to help them expand their thinking and to embrace new possibilities.
But in most cases the behaviour of the business owner is to address the immediate problem.
I need more sales, I need more leads, I need more financial controls, I need better HR systems
At a surface level this is logical, but it presupposes a fundamental point.
That you can become the person who can lead and manage all these functions.
Some seem to have a natural ability but most need to grow into the role because as a business grows life doesn’t get easier.
It gets more complex.
And with complexity comes pressure, stress and challenge.
If you are going to be successful in business. You must become good at dealing with complexity and that means you have to develop your thinking ability.
Having worked with many business owners; there are patterns I see regularly which hold them back.
The first is not having a really clear vision of what they are trying to create and what they want from their business.
When you don’t have a clear vision of what you want; your mind can’t work out the steps to get you there.
Because as much as you’d like to think you are in control of your thoughts and emotions the reality is, it is your unconscious mind that drives things.
And you will know this intuitively.
Your best ideas rarely come to you when you are thinking about a problem. They usually come when you are distracted, maybe in the shower or that lightbulb moment at 3.00 in the morning and you then can’t back to sleep.
This is not a coincidence and it is something that you can leverage to best effect only when you consciously decide to develop your mind’s ability.
Creating a vision you believe in and are committed to is the vital first step you must tackle if you are going to create a business that will generate what you want to have. Whether that is more money, more time, or more freedom.
The second pattern is the frantic search for the “Holy Grail” solution. You may have experienced this yourself.
Something isn’t working in your business as well as you would like it to and your immediate action is to “Do” something about it.
Taking any action feels better than taking no action.
The first pattern of no clear vision feeds the second pattern of taking any action.
Because when you don’t have clarity on where you’re going any action will get you there.
And the link between the two is your ability to “think”.
Now please be clear this is not about intelligence, it is about becoming intentional about the way you think.
There are many very intelligent people who cannot order their thoughts and so their intelligence does not get applied effectively.
Success in your business comes when you can order your thoughts effectively so that they are focussed on delivering the vision you have created.