Paolo RuggeriBUSINESS ARTICLES LIBRARY
Andrea CondelloBUSINESS ARTICLES LIBRARY
Vice President Expansion OSM
No matter how messed up your business or your life may be, there is still a path for you to recover and get back in shape. Even if at this moment it’s difficult for you to see it. There are many entrepreneurs who are wisely looking for solutions, instead of being overcome by pessimism. These are some of the actions that they all have in common:
1) LOOK FOR INTERNAL CAUSES
In the face of less suboptimal corporate results “Looking for external causes” means blaming these results on the crisis, on the economic trend. These days for an entrepreneur it’s very easy to find the “external causes”, to justify the less than fantastic progress in his company. Just turn on the TV or read any newspaper and there they are, in plain sight, dozens of excuses to explain away the suboptimal performance of our businesses. Watching the INTERNAL causes, however, compels each of us to look for and fix what does not work within our companies. These internal factors, rather than the crisis or customer difficulties or the market, are what determine the unsatisfactory results of our companies.
2) GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
What is the “comfort zone”? It’s a cozy place, where you’re good, where you would love to stay forever. And what is out of the “comfort zone”? Hard work, commitment, fatigue, disappointment, stress, difficult choices… Now, why would anyone ever want to leave the comfort zone knowing that all of this is out there waiting for them? Leaving the “comfort zone” can seem impossible, but it’ s out of this area that we create value for ourselves and for our company.
3) START MARKETING (SERIOUSLY)
In a market like today where there’s an abundance of supply, and where there is less money in circulation and therefore fewer customers, one can not underestimate the power of promotion. In these new economic scenarios, the motto of small and medium-sized enterprises that are growing and making good profits, must certainly be “abundant marketing” in the sense that these companies devote communication and a large part of their energies and resources.
4) BECOME A “FANATIC” WITH REGARD TO FINANCIAL ASPECTS
You have to create a corporate dashboard that allows you to monitor monthly revenue, earnings and liquidity. If you don’t know how you’ve done in the past month, how will you ever know what needs repairing? If your company is losing money you need to know in near real time so as to be able to intervene and fix what does not work. You can’t afford to wait and find out six months later or at the budget evaluation. You also cannot delegate it to the accountant. You are the one that must know. Entrepreneurs who make good profits devote about 15% of their time to the financial management of the company, and to studying and improving the performance of sales, earnings and liquidity. Not keeping track of these statistics, or just “winging it” with regard to financial aspects, is one of the major problems plaguing businesses.
5) BUILD A COMPANY OF BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
The value of a business idea is directly proportional to the quality of the people who join you in your passion for it. Even if you have a brilliant and innovative idea, but are joined only by low to medium quality people, that idea isn’t going to take over the market. Companies that come to excel in the market first make sure to attract the best talent available in the group, the most capable and productive people they can afford, and THEN decide what to do next. Whereas companies that suffer first establish the WHAT (i.e. what are the goals that they would like to achieve) and then try to get help from whichever people they already have.
6) DO BUSINESS WITH COURAGE
The ability to dream and imagine, determination, passion and a touch of madness, go hand in hand with another important aspect of character that unites those entrepreneurs who are beating the crisis: they are, first and foremost, courageous. Courage is not the lack of fear, but an awareness of your own power, the value of your ideas and the great person that you are. Courage, vision, desire for victory, the willingness to be the first to accept a great challenge, and a touch of madness, are just some of the aspects of character that make not only great managers but, most importantly, great men. Accept a challenge to bring more value to your customers and remember that, in the words of Erasmus, “the best ideas come not from reason, but from a lucid and visionary madness.” Character is the secret weapon of every great entrepreneur.
6 + 1) REMEMBER THAT COMPANIES ARE ALSO MEANT TO BE FUN.
It seems trivial, but this tip is deeper than it might seem. If it becomes “just a job” or “just an economic activity,” if we no longer feel the PASSION to see the face of a client in front of our great creation, if all our company has become is a mere excel sheet or statistical chart, then perhaps we are missing an ingredient. You have to like what you do and you have to like a lot. Remember that even if someone earns well, people open companies above all to have fun, and when the fun ends… so does the company.
Everyone struggles at one time or another. It’s what makes us human. But now go out there and make your business grow!
Paolo Ruggeri CEO & Co-Founder OSM International Group