Business Success: It’s Always About The Small Stuff
As Featured in Charles N. Internicola’s Business & Franchise Law Report Vol. 4 Issue 1
Some of the best business advice that I received came from my friend, colleague and mentor Ben Glass, Esq. During a business development meeting, I had a conversation with Ben Glass that went something like this:
ME: If you had to reflect on your business and the success that you have seen in other entrepreneurs, what would you say was the one thing that successful entrepreneurs implement that lead to success?
BEN: What I would say and what someone like Dan Kennedy would say is that its never about one thing. Success does not come from one big thing but, rather, from many small things – the many steps and business development actions that successful entrepreneurs consistently implement daily, weekly, monthly and annually.
Ben and I probably had this brief, less than two minute conversation about 2 or 3 years ago, but the point really stuck with me. The fact is that there is never one magical step or action that will propel or turn a business around and that business success requires hard work comprised of the many small steps and actions that need to be consistently implemented. Unless you are a criminal or a politician, success takes time and requires consistent action.
So . . . Where Does This Lead Me?
Well, first off as we approached the end of 2015 and the start of 2016 (by the way, I hope you have had a very Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and time well spent with family and friends) many of us reflect on our businesses, our successes and set backs during the past year and how to improve our businesses in 2016. For true entrepreneurs, success is much more than financial goals but also the lives we improve and the value that we create for our clients, customers, our families and our team members. So, as we embark on 2016, I would like to share with you just 3 of the many small steps that our team has been working on to improve our business and the value that we deliver to our clients – I totally understand and can share that this is always a work in progress:
(i) Strategic Team Meeting
This past year, we scheduled an off-site two day meeting where our entire team met to discuss our firm goals, what our firm stands for and the core principals that will guide our actions. We relied much on the principals played out in the book Scaling Up (something we have recommended) and the Strategic Planning Guide offered by Infusionsoft.
Result: The result has made a significant impact and is a process that I highly recommend. Most important we answered tough questions like Why does our firm exist? What would our clients miss if we disappeared tomorrow? These are important questions and lead our team to describing our corporate purpose and mission, as follows:
To provide services, resources and industry know-how to empower our clients and to partner with them in building great businesses.
1. We go above and beyond without expectations.
2. We do what we say what we will do.
3. We value time: Our own, our client’s and each others.
4. We always ask how we can help or do more.
5. We maintain a positive attitude in everything we do.
6. We consistently improve who we are and what we do.
Turns out that the strategic planning “process” is just as important as the result. When you reflect on tough questions like “why does your business exist” and “why anyone should care about your business” well it forces you to reflect on core issues and can have a transformative impact on your business and the actions you take to ensure that your business really matters to your customers. For us, it has allowed us to expand our services and what we do for our clients with the goal of constantly adding more value. Keep in mind that this is always a work in progress, but the strategic planning and our stated mission has made us much more focused.
(ii) Morning Huddle
Pulling from the Rockefeller Habits and advice from Scaling Up, we have implemented a 10 minute team meeting every morning at 10AM. The purpose of the meeting is to communicate, discuss the days game plan and lay out priorities. Up until a few months ago I never did this and cant imagine how we operated without this daily 10 minute meeting.
Result: These brief meeting have had a tremendous impact on our team communication and efficiency. Its not foolproof, but has helped us become even more proactive.
(iii) Added Value – A direct result of our strategic planning meeting, our corporate purpose and values, we asked ourselves how can we deliver extra value for our clients. Sure we strive to provide the very best legal representation – but I am sure that many others also strive for that same goal. So, for us we have focused our extra value on enhancing our client services and responsiveness and providing unexpected supplemental services. Using our internal design and business development team we have been assisting some of our client in their marketing efforts with videos, print media and industry advice. For 2016 we have a lot more planned.
There are other steps that we have been working on and by all accounts I have not figured out the “answer”. However, as a business owner and entrepreneur like you, what I am learning is that there never is just one answer – rather success is a process and the small stuff matters. By the way in terms of superheroes, we believe Ant Man proves this point.