The High-Growth Entrepreneur’s Toolbox
If you want to seize your maximum potential, you need to put these resources to work.
Entrepreneurs are by their very nature gamblers, risking time, money and pride on their dreams. It’s never a sure thing.
Luckily, there are resources you can use to increase your chances for success. Here are some indispensable tools that can stack the deck in your favor.
A Coach Who Understands Your Unique Perspective
Just as every athlete needs a coach to achieve top performance, so do entrepreneurs. Coaches with the right skills and experience can steer entrepreneurs around a multitude of pitfalls and instill the essential disciplines necessary for success.
Hire a coach with entrepreneurial experience relevant to your business. Don’t pick someone who has only owned his coaching business and no other businesses.
A Clear Dashboard
Pilots depend on proper instrumentation with real-time information to fly a plane. Successful business leaders use something similar: a dashboard. In most cases, this is a software solution that will automatically track key performance indicators in real time.
Dashboards ensure entrepreneurs have the actionable information they need to guide and navigate their business. Access to sophisticated business intelligence dashboards with integrated business information is no longer limited to leaders of large corporations. New tools are making dashboards a reality for every entrepreneur at prices anyone can afford. You cannot manage that which you cannot measure.
A High-Functioning Team
A business can only be built with people. All entrepreneurs need a team that helps them design and build their vision. It is very important that entrepreneurs hire the right people and place them in the right seats doing the right things.
Create a job function, create a score card for the position, create the right personality profile for the position and start the recruitment process. The clearer you are about the functional requirements for the position, the more successful your employee will be.
Every hire and every employee need to be measured for two things: attitude and skill. An employee with a great attitude but poor skills or a skilled employee with poor attitude are poison to the organization. Consulting with a talented, experienced recruiter can help you with this.
“Who” by Geoff Smart is a must-read for every employer going through the hiring process. And local firm Culture Index (www.cindexinc.com) offers a psychometric test that can help you find employees who behaviorally match your open positions.
A Vibrant Relationship with a Bank
Most banks offer to lend you money when you don’t need it. They tend to operate on historical data while entrepreneurs are focused on the future. That’s why you need to be working with a banker who understands entrepreneurial businesses, who will be open to considering your vision. Find a banker that you can be brutally honest with.
One tip: Bankers don’t like surprises. Always give bankers more information than they request and always do so in a timely manner.
Business Operating Systems
Your computer won’t run without an operating system. The same is true for your business. Business systems—the consistent processes and procedures used to operate your company—bring alignment to the entire organization. These systems help you establish the habits, rhythms and processes that ensure every employee in the organization moves in the same direction toward the company goals and mission.
Two terrific books on the topic are “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish and “Traction” by Gino Wickman. You might also check out the websites for Petra Coach (www.petracoach.com) and EOS (www.eosworldwide.com).
Legal and Insurance Support Services
Many entrepreneurs will get entangled in litigation as they grow and scale. You need legal representation that can defend you—or even help you avoid conflicts in the first place.
Personally, I’ve had great success with smaller and medium-size law firms. They tend to have great integrity. It may take some time, but finding the right law firm can save you millions, I repeat millions, of dollars over the life cycle of your business.
Also, you need a great insurance agent. Do be generous in your insurance coverage.
I don’t believe entrepreneurship can be taught. You either are an entrepreneur or you are not. However, key skills can be honed with the use of the right tools coupled with ongoing learning and experience.