Knowledge opens up new opportunities

When I ask business owners what is their No. 1 business priority these days, the answers are fairly similar — a combination of team issues, competitive sales and the ever-shrinking bottom line.

When I ask business owners what is their No. 1 business priority these days, the answers are fairly similar — a combination of team issues, competitive sales and the ever-shrinking bottom line.

Surprisingly, these responses aren’t much different than in previous years.

When you think back, you went into business because you wanted more — more freedom, added security and a better income. Maybe you had an entrepreneurial spirit, a burning passion and strong motivation to be successful.

So are you where you thought you’d be? Or, do you find yourself wearing too many hats, trying to manage everyone at all levels because, “If I don’t, it won’t get done.”

You’re working too many hours for too little reward. You have little work/life balance and it’s affecting your family.

Sound familiar?

When you started your business, while you were consumed by all the details surrounding the product or service you’d sell, did you take time to design a business that one day could run without you? This was probably farthest from your mind.

Consequently, over the years you’ve become so consumed with working “in” your business that you’ve never scheduled time to work “on” your business. The result is you’re stuck managing business operations because the place can’t function without you. And finding time to learn and implement necessary change never happens.

My experience is that most owners have some basic business knowledge. Many have learned on the job, from a close mentor, friend or family member.

Often I hear, “I’ve been in this business for 10 (possibly 15, 20) years and know what works and what doesn’t.” This reaction only maintains the status quo.

Very few business owners have had formal management training, let alone training in all of the functions necessary to successfully run a business. Best practises in the areas of management, marketing, sales, finance, human resources, customer service, information technology, systems and procedures are equally important.

In a previous column I stated that the primary difference between your income now and your income in five years will be the knowledge you gain and the choices you make along the way to apply it all.

Even though you may not be happy with the current situation, fear of something new or different pushes our comfort level. Taking action takes time and effort, and it’s easy to make excuses.

But consider that taking the time to learn something new and different may be your next best opportunity. Take a look at the following positive outcomes.

• Knowledge is empowering. Self-improvement boosts confidence. Whether it’s becoming more proficient with technology, or learning good problem-solving and decision-making skills, adding to your skill-level tool kit will bring added value to your business.

• Rewriting a compelling vision and planning a meaningful, clear direction for the future will renew your business focus. Statistics indicate that developing and following through with your goals (specific, measurable, achievable, results-oriented, time-based) are proven to be the keys to personal and business success.

• Becoming a positive role model earns your team’s respect. A fully engaged (and happy) team is more mindful and take better care of business — and your customers. You’ll get better and longer-lasting results. The potential for growth is more predictable.

• Personality analysis helps you to understand behaviour — yours and others. It assists you to place the right person in your business, working in an environment that suits them whether independently or in a group. Understanding human nature and interaction helps you to communicate more effectively both personally and professionally.

• Finally, the worth of a business is more than the business owner. Certainly a sound reputation attracts clients and is integral to ongoing success. But the true value of any company includes a top-notch team and the streamlined processes and systems that operate your business. It’s time to learn how to make your plan to get out of your business.

ActionCoach is written by John MacKenzie of ActionCoach, which helps small- to medium-sized businesses and other organizations. He can be contacted at johnmackenzie@actioncoach.com or by phone at 403-340-0880.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit
Two central Albertans charged with child porn

ALERT’s Internet Child Exploitation unit arrests 24 suspects

A child writes in their school notebook during a home schooling session in Cremona, Alta., Monday, March 23, 2020, amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of students in Calgary will shift to online learning as of today in a bid to curb rising COVID-19 infection rates in the city. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta begins rolling out AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for those 40 or older

Alberta begins rolling out AstraZeneca COVID vaccine for those 40 or older

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
A CN rail worker stands on an idle locomotive as protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion block rail lines, in Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, November 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
CN makes rival bid to CP Rail’s offer to buy U.S. railway Kansas City Southern

Offer tops proposal made last month by Canadian Pacific Railway

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

The controversial Super League is materializing after Madrid and 11 other clubs announced its creation on Sunday. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)
Super League a ‘longtime dream’ for Madrid president Pérez

League created because coronavirus pandemic left clubs in a dire financial situation

San Jose Sharks centre Patrick Marleau (12) skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, in San Jose, Calif., Monday, March 29, 2021. Marleau is skating in his 1,757th game. Only one other player in NHL history has hit that mark. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Tony Avelar
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s record for most NHL games played

Marleau was set to suit up for the 1,768th time Monday

FILE - In this Saturday April 17, 2021 file photo, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II follows the coffin in a car as it makes it’s way past the Round Tower during the funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip inside Windsor Castle in Windsor, England. Now that the Royal Family has said farewell to Prince Philip, attention will turn to Queen Elizabeth II’s 95th birthday on Wednesday, April 21 and, in coming months, the celebrations marking her 70 years on the throne. This combination of events is reminding the United Kingdom that the reign of the queen, the only monarch most of her subjects have ever known, is finite. (Leon Neal/Pool via AP, file)
Queen enters ‘twilight’ of reign after farewell to Philip

Charles’ increased role began gradually

This combination photo shows Oscar nominees for best actress, from left, Viola Davis in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Andra Day in “The United States vs Billie Holiday,” Vanessa Kirby in “Pieces of a Woman,” Frances McDormand in “Nomadland and Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman.” (Netflix, from left, Hulu, Netflix, Searchlight Pictures, Focus Features via AP)
Oscar predictions: Can anything beat ‘Nomadland’?

Best actress race is perhaps the biggest wild card

Letters
Letter: Restrictions have nothing to do with religion

Many have framed the closure of GraceLife Church near Edmonton by Alberta… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Thanking volunteers in Red Deer

National Volunteer Week is April 18 to 24. At the Canadian Cancer… Continue reading

Letter to the editor
Letter: Good on MLAs for speaking out

This is a letter in regard to MLAs not standing united behind… Continue reading

Most Read