There’s a lot to be said for clarity. Especially since it is an advantage not many have. In consulting/coaching, I find very few people can clearly and definitively state their objectives, their targets, their means of measuring success, and even their goal for each month.
I frequently describe most people’s approach as “blind archery.” These days, small business owners are making this much worse with the fog of trying to manage every new media and marketing idea that comes their way by themselves, in addition to managing every daily aspect of their business. Most business owners find it difficult, even almost impossible, to keep things simple when it comes to running their business.
There’s a huge advantage to managing and keeping things simple. We regularly take what we do and who we are way too serious and put way too much pressure on ourselves.
It really comes down to working smarter rather than harder. You’ve heard it many times, yet few focus on doing just that; keeping things simple does just that. At my recent Repair Shop Profit Boot Camp, Quantum Leap Member Dave Justice mentioned that “it’s all about working smarter” when it comes to increasing shop productivity and profitability.
Unfortunately our focus is on too many other things rather than making our shops as profitable as possible. It’s all pretty simple if you take the time to think it through. The problem is there are far too many other things that we allow to distract us from exactly that.
Doing so in my own business became a huge turning point for me. I had my first repair shop and another business, a tavern, that divided my attention. Then I sold the tavern and bought another shop. At different points in all of that I had a catering company and residential rental property and… You get the idea.
At one point I realized all of those businesses were doing okay, but none was as successful as I wanted it to be. I needed to simplify things and laser in my focus. I decided the place I would do that was one shop that had the best chance for success.
I got rid of everything else and focused on what I needed to do to make that shop as successful as possible and set out to stay focused on that one goal. I did that by making that shop highly successful and I focused on constantly making it better and better. I wasn’t just satisfied with increasing sales; I wanted my profit numbers to be a good as they possibly could be. The other key was that I got help from several different sources, always making clear what my ultimate goal was, thus keeping things pretty simple.
Find and focus on that goal, and you win. Wander in widening circles away from it, you get lost, and you lose.
Most people are weak at doing this. They deal with anything, anyone and everything at random. This is like investing by dropping $100 bills from an airplane. A huge benefit my coaching/consulting clients identify from being coached by me is how I help keep them focused. Repeatedly, my clients ask me about a bunch of different things coming their way and my number one response is, “not now, let’s get back to XYZ and finish it or get it implemented or make it better”.
When Rudy Giuliani became mayor of New York City, he decided to focus on making New York habitable, safe, clean, and even hospitable, to position the city for a huge turnaround. Mayor Bloomberg has taken to diverting his focus to non-essential issues like regulating soda pop, breast feeding and gun ownership rights. New York today is slipping back again to dirty and messy.
What are you walking into your shop and working on each and every morning? I know your answer is “I have to…” Target your focus on doing whatever you must so you have the time to concentrate on growing your sales and your profits. Functioning day to day to keep your head above water has very little future. Get help if you need it; do what most aren’t willing to do.
Getting that focus and maintaining it is the best success advice I can give anyone. It’s really all about gaining clarity and staying focused.
Is there clarity or fog? Are you out to win, or just manage, or worse, just survive?