Peer Power Blog
This blog is about the power of peers in the IT space. It is designed as a place to share things I have learned the past 24+ years running a business as well as meeting the growing demands of business owners we experience leading the Heartland Tech Groups - a peer group network for IT business owners.
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Ten Key Things to Remember in 2012
As business owners we live with the constant tension between our dreams and the reality of how things actually are. As we head into a new year, here are 10 key points I want you to consider for the year ahead. Preparation and planning is critical to success, so take some time, get away from the chaos, and consider how you will enter the next year and succeed. Keep these things in mind…..
1. Leading a business is a marathon, not a 50-yard dash. It’s not how you start that matters. It’s how you finish the race. Sustainability counts more than speed. Keep your foot on the gas and keep moving forward. Don’t give up!
2. Leading a business is hard work. Even though you believed when you started your company that life would be better and simpler – by now you know that isn’t exactly the case. But remember that hard work always comes before reward. There is a payoff if you lead well. Surround yourself with some others who are taking the same journey for encouragement, and just persist.
3. There is no correlation between the size and strength of a business. Bigger is not necessarily better. Healthy is better. Make sure you know what healthy means. Focus on making sure your company grows the right way for the right reasons and forget about the Joneses down the street or across town. Keeping up with them is likely a sure way to fail.
4. Never compare your business to anyone else’s. Why? First, you can always find someone doing a better job than you and you’ll get discouraged. Second, you can always find someone you’re doing a better job than, and you’ll become prideful. Either one can sabotage your leadership. The real question is: “am I doing the best job possible to lead my company to success”. You can’t do any more than that. Sit down and do an honest assessment of your leadership. Get feedback from employees, customers and peers. It isn’t about comparing your company to another, but comparing where you are with where you could be.
5. Know why your business exists. Far too many companies have not taken time to identify their core values and define their mission and vision. Without those things in place, when the markets get tough we can tend to go into the weeds rather quickly. We need to be very clear in why we are in business and what the boundaries are that define us. Take time to do the hard work of strategic planning.
6. Never criticize another business. You don’t increase your own business by trying to tear down another. You have no idea what is truly happening in the lives of the folks in those other shoes. Too often we waste our time focused on competitors rather than fixing our own big problems. You’ll get a lot more traction if you look internally at your own warts and focus on them, than trying to make your warts look better by focusing on things at another business that are not perfect.
7. Be humble or you’ll stumble. Transparency pays big dividends. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses. Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less! The success of your business is not about you! Give credit where it is due – to your team – and lead them as a servant leader.
8. Be a continual learner. You don’t have all the answers. You don’t have it all figured out. And you certainly don’t have any silver bullets. Be willing to open some books, listen to some podcasts, attend some events, and learn. Spend time over coffee with peers and others who can mentor and share their wisdom. You are not as brilliant as you may think, so learn from others.
9. Remember all growth is seasonal. And it is also somewhat predictable. There are some very common trends in how small businesses grow. Learn what those are and when to expect them. Being prepared doesn’t remove the barriers, but it can certainly take the surprise out of them. Healthy growth takes TIME. There are steps along the path that have to occur. Learn what they are and start preparing to overcome them.
10. Businesses that explode overnight are not necessarily growing; you can’t judge the real success from afar. Circumstances sometimes make it look like someone else is doing so much better than you are. Forget that – appearances mean nothing. What matters is a consistent and steadfast approach to following your plan. Of course that means you have a plan – or actually four plans around business, leadership, life and legacy. You need them all to make sure you stay on the road.
We’re all in this together. We’re on the same team, and if we work well together we can truly make a difference in each other’s lives and businesses. We have to be go-givers and make the necessary time and relationship investments, but we can do much if we do it side by side. That is the HTG way! Never give up!
(Credit for this blog post, some of the content and ideas, goes to Rick Warren for a list similar to this about ministry in his blog)
- Arlin's Daily Thoughts on Scripture
- Aaron Booker's Varvid Blog
- Stuart Crawford's Blog
- Rick Bahl - Undone
- Steve Riat's Sales Blog
- Eric Ligman's Microsoft Small Biz Blog
- Ernie Sherman Blog
- Josie Koscis Blog
- Scott Young's Blog
- Robert Lindley's Blog
- Joddey Hick's Blog
- Brad Kowerchuk's Blog
- Dave Sobel's Evolutionary Business Thoughts
- Richard Tubb's Blog
- JoomConnect Blog