If I Knew Then What I Know Now - Part 3
20 Pieces of Advice for any Business Owner
I recently had this discussion with regards to starting and running a business with a group of business owners of various size and experience. The answers were so pragmatic, direct, and spot-on, I feel compelled to share for all to benefit.
The result is a list of 20 different pieces of advice, spanning five different areas.
Too much for one article. So, I’ve broken them into the following general areas and will send them out one by one over the coming days. You can access parts 1 and 2 at the links below.
As you read this, I am curious, what might be on your list?
Part 3: People & Team
- It's easier to change the people than it is to change the people. The adage, hire slowly and fire quickly, is easier said than done – and should be. When you let someone go, you are disrupting lives, and you should never take this lightly.
Furthermore, if it isn't a fit, who is at fault? You, or someone within your team, made the hire. It's your hiring approach and process – or lack thereof - that failed.
However, people typically do not change. Indeed, we can develop and improve skills and knowledge, but the values, motives, and characteristics we bring to the table rarely, if ever, change.
The time and energy spent by business owners and leaders attempting to change people are mind-boggling. It's tirelessly discussed, ruminated, and debated over - only to end up in the same spot you knew you would eventually end up regardless.
Bottom line: If you know, you know. When it comes to someone who isn't working out, quickly make a move you know you need to, assess where it went wrong in the hiring process, make improvements, and move on.
- Don't want it more than the person you want it for.
This lesson is challenging. As business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs, we are an optimistic, goal-driven, and passionate bunch. When team members or employees don't share that ambition at the same level, it is frustrating.
Motivation is a pull and not a push kind of thing. I frequently observe leaders trying to drive change by pushing people along in the hopes of a different outcome. Stop doing that.
Bottom line: People do things for their reasons and not ours. Please get to know your team members and learn what drives them to achieve. Once clear what motivates them, leverage that to drive the behaviors required and enjoy the benefits of an engaged, motivated, change-ready team.
- It's WHO before HOW.
Benjamin Hardy and Dan Sullivan wrote a great book by a similar title. It's excellent and will help you clearly understand how surrounding yourself with the right people accelerates success. I highly recommend it.
Bottom line: If you don't have who, then how does not matter. Instead of asking yourself "how" to get something done, begin asking yourself "who" can help you get that done. Delegating and outsourcing is a lot like compound interest. It will require time and financial investment, but the payoff and leverage will be there if you stick with it.
- It's the people on your team that will bring you success.
While it may only take one person to start a business (and I would fervently challenge that notion), it takes a village to run, grow, and successfully exit one. This idea is reinforcing the above idea of who, not how.
A challenge for most entrepreneurs I observe is moving their business beyond the first stage (where the founder is virtually everything to the company) to the second stage and beyond (founder increasingly less significant) – and it's because most often they are in the way.
Bottom line: Your business' evolution will not happen without delegating, collaborating, and working with strategic resources. Set your vision high, communicate it often, and add talent that is motivated by the picture you've created. Then, lean into the areas of the business where your skills are best suited. This is a recipe for shortening your time to success and advancing your business - versus creating a job you own.