Reducing the Performance Dip
By: Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (The NIIC)
Recently, I have talked a lot about issues that face current business owners. But I would be remiss not to mention imperatives pertaining to starting a new business. Here are 3 very practical things you need to take into account before you make the leap (with the goal of reducing the performance dip – both the # and time in the dip) caused by problems, obstacles, crashes and difficulties you might encounter during the start-up phase of your business.
- Do you have the entrepreneurial talent? This one may sound obvious, but plenty of well-intentioned people go into business without having thought this issue through clearly. The ability to sell is a talent that easily comes to mind. Sales (defined as ABC – Always Be Closing) is the lifeblood of any venture. Regardless of the industry, the outlook does not look promising if the owner/founder lacks the ability or willingness to do the day-to-day work of the business. If you haven’t taken the Gallup EP-10 you should. The NIIC can help coach you and your team around the 10 entrepreneurial talents most highly correlated to greater levels of entrepreneurial success.
- Know when to call in the experts. If you are going to start a company, you must not only have passion for the difference your product/service/solution will make in the world, but you’ll need to have business savvy and perseverance to work through the tough times, or at the very least, a team of people you can call on to take care of necessary management functions. For example, if you run a coffee shop, you’re going to be doing much more than brewing coffee. You’ll need to handle duties like scheduling, ordering supplies, accounting and marketing. While you might be able to handle some of these ancillary functions in-house, it’s always a good idea to explore how do you use trusted advisors, how you might partner with your suppliers and how you might collaborate with other companies looking to expand into the space. After all, they say you should try to spend more time on your business than in it. So, remember, experts – consultants, advisors and coaches – when properly ‘chartered’ can be a great source of management team augmentation. NIICs Business Coaches can help you craft a strategy to maximize this pool of experts, and figure out what you are “best” at doing.
- Know that with growth comes the need to let go. You must remember, if your business is successful, it will grow. Growth is a mindset, and that’s a good thing! There will come a time when you’ll need to delegate doing the primary work of the business to others, stop growing or hire someone to run the company while you continue to handle the primary work of the business. Before you embark, know which path you’ll take. Be prepared for transitions and inflection points. Set benchmarks or “triggers” for critical decision-making activities. For example, what level of consistent sales results do you need to achieve before you hire a CFO? What level of investment must you have before your moonlighting freelancers become full-time employees of your company?
In general, robust prior planning and triggers can help you execute better on your strategic priorities. Make sure you have put the time in to think about these three practical imperatives, and you’ll thank yourself later.