Many businesspeople around the UK woke up shocked on 24th June when it was announced that the country had voted to leave the European Union by the slimmest of margins. A lot of people from all walks of life immediately jumped on the hyperbolic bandwagon despairing at the result - they focussed on the negatives. I did, however, notice a lot of the savvier businesspeople out there keeping quiet. Leaving the EU may seem like a disaster but, to be a successful businessperson, your focus should be the growth of your business.
A negative mind set won't see your business moving in the right direction. Depressing yourself with potential ifs and buts will make your business suffer. No-one knows the long-term, or even mid-term, impact of Brexit. If you're a business owner and leader, you should focus on what matters and what is within your control - your actual business.
More than anything else, if you have a positive and proactive attitude to your business then there is no reason to dwell on economic change. Instead, focus on your business and your growth.
The Entrepreneur's Mind Set
The entrepreneurial mind finds strengths and advantages in any situation, particularly in adversity. You see new business opportunities everywhere and find a way around even the trickiest situations. Look at Wrigleys - best known for their chewing gum, right? But back when they started out it was all about soap and baking powder. It was only when William Wrigley Jr noticed the free sticks of gum he gave out were more popular than his products that he saw the next move for his business.
There is a big difference between someone running a small business and someone who has the mind set and behaviour of an entrepreneur. The big differences between entrepreneurs and regular business owners include:
- Risk Ready: entrepreneurs thrive on risk taking and the chance to try something new or take that gamble that could be life changing
- Revolutionary: whether ideas or behaviour, entrepreneurs do things differently; sometimes they do so in new ways, and in some instances create brand new ideas and inventions.
- Backed by research: despite a perceived maverick or revolutionary mindset, most entrepreneurs do not go into their ventures blind. Solid research, business plans and a thirst for knowledge and self-improvement are behind even the most original of ideas.
- Scrap the Negativity: this doesn't mean repeating a positive mantra to your reflection in the mirror (it works for some, but not for many); it is about understanding your own inhibitors and overcoming them. (Read on for how you can do this.). "We need negativity to know what positive looks like" so its about being real and real again.
Moving on from the Nation of Shopkeepers
The idea that Britain is a nation of shopkeepers was never meant to be something to be proud of, yet some people see it that way. There is a sense that UK businesses are 'held back', not driven to grow; they're not pushing themselves as hard as they could to reach that next level.
The potential in this country alone for accelerating business growth through more effective sales processes, higher revenues and lower costs is huge. And that means more profit, more jobs, more opportunities along the supply chain, and a thriving business culture in the UK.
However, the small business mindset is worsened by the fact that many businesses still don't have websites and others neglect online activity altogether. Although more businesses are seeing the benefits of using social media and building an online presence, they need to be looking at growing their business through more sales.
And this is the stage where many businesses become paralysed as they struggle to comprehend how they can make that transition to the next level, and why they feel incapable of it.
Keep it Positive
Negativity gets you nowhere in business which is why dwelling on the state of Europe and the UK's position is counterproductive. You can find inspiration everywhere for a more positive outlook and evidence of dynamic businesspeople doing their own thing and doing it well.
A positive outlook isn't something you can achieve overnight if it isn't something that comes naturally to you, but you can start by avoiding these common self-imposed inhibitors which could spell the end of your business:
A clear vision is key for succeeding in business. Without a clear and exact vision of where you want to get to, even if you don't end up there, is essential for moving your business forward. If you're unclear, you will have vague expectations and hopes but no convictions. It's obvious that there will be inevitably much less of a chance your business will grow.
People with an entrepreneurial mindset sometimes find it hard to stay focused on their core aim. This can be due to there being so many innovative ideas coming to them or simply because they don't have the skills to turn their vision into a strategy. Stay focussed on what matters and cut out distractions. If you're having lots of ideas then great...but if they're not relevant to your business or aren't going to grow your business, then write them down and save them for later in the day.
Most entrepreneurs are self-starters but there comes a time in every business where other talents are needed. Finding a way to access relevant and engaged employees or freelance support for your business is a defining moment of the next step in your growth. And be sure to acknowledge where your expertise really lies - find other hungry talents to fill the gaps as necessary.
Effective execution of business plans and strategies is the final piece to complete the puzzle. If you aren't effectively carrying out your day-to-day business activities and your plans for growth, then you can't expect to move on from your starting position. You get what you put in, in business and in life. And the more you do to push your business forward in an effective, researched and calculated way, the more rewards you can reap.
Find the Space for your Business
Entrepreneurs tap into problems in society and in existing products, and find solutions for them. It doesn't have to break the bank and you don't have to let money be a stumbling block. Huge enterprises such as Dyson started on a shoestring, as well as so many mobile apps. The nature of modern technology now means you may be able to achieve more than you thought without a huge initial cost. After all, if you're serious about realising your dream then you are in it for the long haul; that's where profitability comes into play, not making a fast buck.
Similarly, there are other aspects of your business that can be streamlined so you can focus on those areas which truly matter to growth. Some aspects of running an effective business may not be your favourite activity, meetings for example. But there are ways and means of turning these pet-hates into something effective and productive for your business.
Going into meetings or any business event with a negative mindset is simply counterproductive. Come on - wake up! You can easily make them more effective - perhaps only attend those meetings that can directly grow your own business or, even more straightforward, simply set an agenda, stick to it, and agree clear action points with timeframes for each. Otherwise, what is the point in having a meeting at all? Just remember that Smart Output = Profit, and that Profit = a happy business and a great life.
There is no such thing as the right time in business. Being risk averse can be the worst decision you make for your business. You can't expect it to grow if you're not prepared to take risks for opportunity. Many people claim they're waiting for the 'right' moment but as I've learned throughout my career, any moment can be right if you truly want it to be.
Only you can push your business forward and it is only you who is making excuses (moral licencing) to compensate for lack of growth. Rather than blaming the state of the economy, lack of time, or anything else going on in your life why not focus on your business strengths and work towards your vision of a bigger and better enterprise?
Good Fortune to you and thanks for reading; I hope I have assisted in your mindset and approach to business and life.