There’s a misconception out there that in order to run a successful business, you have to be be less human. Because if you show too much empathy, you run the risk of losing sight of the dollar signs you need to make a business succeed. However, we think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. While you don’t need to turn into a monster in order to make it, you’ve also got to be tough and almost scientific when you’re solving problems and setting goals.
Below, we’ve provided a check-list of sorts, that is tailored to help you check-in with where you fall on the Monster – Pushover scale when it comes to running a business.
HAVE YOU REEXAMINED YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION LATELY?
The best place to start, is at the beginning. Do your current goals, achievements and processes match-up to the big picture of things? As you grow it’s important to check-in to make sure you’re staying on-track with where you want to go. But you also want to check-in to make necessary changes as you receive feedback and data about your products and services.
For example, Forbes gives a great example of running a restaurant. If your opening weekend was terrific, but sales slow, you need to reevaluate your value proposition. Are your prices to high for the area? Is the menu too specific? Or too broad? You get to know who your customer is as you grow, which means things you may have originally assumed, hold to not be true.
ARE YOU GIVING AWAY TOO MANY HANDOUTS?
Simply put, your business is a business: not a charity. If you own a gym, how much money would you really make off of memberships if you gave freebies to everyone who found out you owned a gym? Then gave their friends freebies? Not much.
First, it’s important to look at what you really can afford to give away. Once you break the numbers down. Can you offer a person a free membership? Or a free visit? Or just a hat? Second, you’ve got to create some kind of limitation system, you have to decide who gets things and who doesn’t. It keeps things fair. Is your girlfriend/boyfriend the same as your third-aunt? Last, you’ve got to learn to say no. However, it’s all in the delivery.
ARE YOU TOO HANDS-ON?
When you run your own business your brain is always half in whatever you’re doing in the moment, and half in your business strategy. We get it. When a business grows, one of the hardest and quite frankly scariest things can be delegating and trusting a new employee to implement a strategy. Business owners are so used to doing everything themselves, that often they continue to try to do so when they hire employees, which is counter-productive. Being too hands-on can slow down processes and hurt your business.
Try to dedicate at least one day each week for a few weeks to letting your staff do what they were hired to without asking or interrupting the flow. If they succeed and nothing happens you will build trust and confidence in your team, and be able to relax a little. If they are unable to succeed without you, it may be time to make some new hires.
ARE YOU MANAGING AND PROMOTING EMPLOYEES AND LEADERSHIP BASED ON NUMBERS AND PERFORMANCE?
From hiring to promoting there are many unconscious biases that can inhibit our businesses to grow. Are you hiring this sales member for their charm? Or for their proven track-record? Are you promoting that manager because they are a kindred spirit who helped you adopt your dog? Or because you’ve evaluated and tracked their progress and they are a top-performer? For both new hires and promotions it’s important to have some kind of system in-place to make sure you’re making the right decisions. When you write job descriptions, simultaneously create an interview checklist that asks for specifics related to the job.
For your staff, implement some-kind of trackable performance management system that shows you clearly who is performing the best vs the worst. Although, a word of caution, keep this simple and track the values that really matter!
IS YOUR LEADERSHIP AND EMPLOYEE BASE DIVERSE?
How many times have you said to yourself “I just wish I could clone myself” while getting your business through the start-up phase? Once you got to a place where you could hire, chances are you sought out “another you” to help pick-up the load. However, as you grow even bigger, and begin to really understand your customer and your audience, it’s important to diversify and hire people who embody the personas you’re selling to.
Separately, you want to hire a team that doesn’t necessarily all look the same or come from the same background, or has all the same interests. How innovative can brainstorming ever really be if you’re with a group of people that all thinks the same way?