The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article or any of the other articles in the series. Each of the articles after the first takes a closer look at one of the tactics.
Rely on peers and other professionals, including consultants, to help you. Be prudent about the costs of outside consulting, however. Much of my success in auto salvage came from ideas that I got from other operators who belonged to a peer-mentoring group I joined in 1988.
The participants in that group grew to have the largest and most successful auto salvage operations in the U.S. and all sold out for big money when public companies came looking. It was not luck or coincidence.
The members of that group had been sharing metrics and discussing the way the person with the best metric was achieving above-average success in that area twice a year for a long time when the buyout offers came. We were geographically remote from one another and had confidentially agreements, so we had no problem sharing the strategies, and tactics that we knew worked. We creamed the local competitors who were not learning from their peers at nearly as fast a rate.
You don’t know what you don’t know, but you can learn it from others in the same business. I currently facilitate peer-mentoring groups for auto salvage operators. I want to expand that practice to other industries because I know first-hand how well it works to explode the growth of the business owners who participate.
There are many ways to make your business better without spending much. Start by taking advantage of the opportunities to network within industry groups. Go to the state and national conventions and take the training classes. Socialize with other operators. I have learned a lot about the business by talking with peers at the happy hours after the presentations end.
Even today, I insist that ALL my employees attend seminars and I pay for them. Investing in your people makes them feel good about themselves and the company, and they always learn something that makes them more productive and valuable.
Think broadly about training. You have employees right now who could benefit from a course in Excel or in delegating more effectively or in setting priorities. Most employees are eager to learn new skills or improve old ones. The ones who don’t want training are not ones that have the right level of personal ambition for a growing firm. They likely will leave or their own or move naturally into positons of lesser importance because they lack the skills training would have given them.
If you are an employee and your boss sends you to seminars, don’t forget to thank him or her. If you are not being sent to seminars, take the initiative to find one or two you would like to go to and ask. Local seminars are generally not expensive, typically about $100 or a little more, so the cost should not be an obstacle. If your company will not support such growth, you may be working at the wrong place. Also, be sure to keep copies of the certificates you have earned and to update your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Sometimes the right answer is to call an outside consultant. I routinely do so when I am starting a new business in an industry that I am not yet expert in. The good ones have saved me far more than they cost. Starting up without an expert is like building a house without an architect. It is costly and frustrating.
As a small business consultant, I get at least one call per month from an entrepreneur who started a business a year or two ago and who has now lost their startup capital. Usually, they have been doing something that a good consultant in that industry could have told them not to do.
One last way to get inexpensive help: Share what you know. Speak at your industry’s local meeting or convention. By sharing what you know, you will become part of a virtuous circle that will cause others to want to help you reach a higher level of success.
Let me reiterate one of my favorite sayings: “You don’t know what you don’t know”. Fortunately, the world gives the ambitious lots of ways to learn by seeking help from others.
Remember only you can make business great!
Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can deliver wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies.
Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for- performance, and find new customers on the web.
As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.
To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625, ext. 232, rons@MrMissionPossible.com, 5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.