Tools for Success-Share, Listen and be Collaborative
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.
Share with others, listen, be collaborative – you simply don’t know what you don’t know. I wish I had done more of this when I was younger.
I was too autocratic in the beginning of my business career, though I make no excuses for it except to myself. I was relentless. My naiveté and inexperience were quickly overcome by my strong work ethic and willingness to implement ideas.
After I sold my salvage operation to Ford in 1999, I went to work at Ford. I recall sitting in meetings about how to sell more parts to the body shops. A dozen people at the table wanted my insights because I was an industry expert.
By the time it was my turn to talk, I was embarrassed by how little I knew. I was impressed by the quality of the questions they asked and how strategically the members of that group thought about the business issues.
I am proud of what I learned from my 18 months at Ford. I was blessed to work with some brilliant thinkers, including Dixon Thayer, Tim Milligan and Greg Winfield, all of whom are outstanding businesspeople and quickly became experts in auto recycling. It worked because we listened and collaborated.
Some of the most valuable sharing and collaborating for business builders happens at association meetings. Be sure you belong and attend annual meetings. The seminars and break out sessions are important, but so are the informal connections you will make at happy hour after the sessions are over.
When I parked myself on a bar stool, I always wanted to share new ideas and innovations with other operators. Trust me when I tell you that most ideas are not a secret. You will gain much more by sharing freely because other perceptive owners will want to reciprocate and share their best ideas with you. Be known as a giver.
Listen to your employees. They have first-hand experiences that can be the source of great ideas to make you more productive. Listening to them is a powerful way to show them that they are valuable members of your team.
Read business books. I try to read at least one business book every month. Use your commuting time to listen to a recorded book about an area of your business you want to improve.
The classics of management are sure to have a few ideas that will make your operation better and make you more effective. Read about marketing and advertising so that you can get better ROI for your spend in these crucial areas.
Attend seminars and send your employees to them. Helping your most valuable employees learn new skills will pay dividends in loyalty and higher productivity. Challenge and reward them for finding ways to use their new skills to make your business better.
Get your people involved. We keep post it notes on the table when we hold staff meetings. When I am curious about how much of a sales bump we will get form a new imitative, I get my people involved by asking them to write their estimate on a post it note. We tally the results. The group’s number is often more accurate than my solo forecast, so I get to tap the wisdom of the crowd and they get involved and engaged in making the new initiative hit the forecast. The numbers lead naturally into a discussion of ways to get more from the initiative.
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.