“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” — Will Durant
Every business is conceived with the goal of success in mind. Each enterprising entrepreneur sets out to realize their dream to the best of their ability. While some of them manage to achieve success, others flounder and never reach the heights they imagined initially.
What separates one from the other? What decides the business that prospers and the business that does not?
The simple answer is “habit.”
The idea of repeating actions until they become instinct is a timeless concept. From the moment we begin to learn, humans start practicing activities until they are second nature and intuitive. Walking and speaking are two we typically learn in infancy that, as we mature, are performed without a second thought. Attaining success in your business functions in a similar capacity; through rote application of seven key processes, you can elevate your business to the pinnacle of its excellence.
The first action you must take in order for your business to achieve excellence is to plan. Planning thoroughly allows your activity to develop more efficiently while avoiding the pitfalls experienced by entrepreneurs without a plan. “The 7Ps” summarizes this sentiment as follows: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. Asking yourself questions through the lens of the customer can assist in the planning phase. Questions like, “What is it that makes my product or service superior to that of my competitors?” and, “What does my customer consider valuable?” Asking these questions will help you focus your complete plan toward appealing to your target demographic and understand what resources you will need to reach your maximum potential.
Once the plan is concrete, the next step is to organize your resources. Proper allocation of your assets allows you to fill out the plan you laid out for your business, fleshing out the structure in order to appear closer to your desired end result. Bringing these together before making your first step toward implementing your plan is akin to bringing your forces together before launching a military campaign. In the military, there is a saying: “Amateurs talk strategy, but professionals talk logistics.” You must iron out the costs, labor, and other details before launching your takeover of the market.
The third habit to develop is selecting the right people. Like the Justice League and the Avengers, the people that make up your team determine whether your business remains mundane or becomes super. According to Brian Tracy, chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, “Fully 95 percent of your success as an entrepreneur or executive will be determined by the quality of the people you recruit to work with you or to work on your team.” Time and attention given to the makeup of your team reward you with a suitable return on investment down the road.
When beginning your business, you may often find yourself doing everything yourself. However, as your business grows and you bring on quality team members, you must develop the ability to delegate. The inability to effectively do this can stagnate the growth of your business, burn out overworked employees, and cause the business to be crushed under its own, dead weight.
Upon delegating a task, you must build the practice of monitoring the performance of the task. Make it a habit to check in on assigned tasks to ensure that they are still on schedule. Establishing a system by which employees can report when they have reached certain benchmarks is fundamental to the success of your business.
In order to generate the greatest results, a sixth habit of establishing measurable standards must be put in place. Reachable checkpoints and deadlines are required in order to ensure that your business plan is still on track. If a task is delegated to an employee, they must know exactly when it is expected of them to complete the task and what quality of work is viewed as complete.
The final habit that must be developed is the habit of regularly and accurately reporting results. Relay results to any and every person who has a stake in your company, whether they’re investors, your staff, etc. The transparency given to them will serve to bolster their faith in your company as time marches forward. Being “in the know” is a crucial aspect of any employee’s tenure with a company, aiding in boosting their morale and, ultimately, strengthening your business.
These seven habits, if employed, will help guide your business down the road to success. It is only through rote and repetition that you can drill these habits into the very DNA of your company, transforming it into an entity that can reach the upper echelons of excellence.
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