3 Success Principles that Lead to Business Excellence

Business ownership, ideally, is engaging, fun, profitable, and rewarding. All too often, it’s stressful and we end up wondering where the flexibility and freedom are that led us to business ownership in the first place. These three guiding principles, applied consistently to your business operations, will ease operations and have you reaching your goals consistently.

1.  Work with the best. Again, your business is your livelihood; why settle when you don’t have to? This applies to team members, distributors, your environment, equipment and business partners. All too often, I hear of business owners who keep poor-performing employees because they feel bad for the person. Guess what?! This is your livelihood, how you support yourself and your family. If you are in the position to consider their salary a donation, go for it. Otherwise, let them go kindly and find someone who is the absolute best, who will help bring your business to the next level.

 The “best” does not imply the biggest or most well-known; take the time to determine what best meets your particular needs and work with them. For example, Bankers Healthcare Group works exclusively with healthcare professionals; think they can share valuable data to help your healthcare business be more profitable, more efficient? You bet. Choose business partners with depth in the expertise you are seeking. Partnering with knowledgeable business partners who are the best in their industry means you can focus on being the best in your field.

 2. Go to the source. When you need information, go to the original source to insure that you get reliable, accurate data.  A medical practice client was looking to add a location to his practice. When a commercial building in an ideal location came up for sale, I encouraged him to call the town office to get zoning and permit requirements. He chose to call the realtor, instead; based on the information, he passed on making an offer. Once it was too late, we learned that the realtor gave him erroneous information. I’ve also heard business owners make assumptions about what their lender will and will not do. Why assume? A simple phone call or email will give you an answer from the source, which can then guide your decision making. Your business is your livelihood; don’t shortchange yourself – go to the source for reliable data that you can bank on.

 3. Get data. Have you heard yourself say “I’d guess…” or “I assume…” in the past couple of weeks? All too often, I’ll ask a business owner for data and I get an answer based on Google or what the “experts” say.  Estimates about their own business are often based on how it feels; it feels like they are busier than they were a year ago, it feels like they’re short-staffed. If operations are not running optimally, your practice could feel out of control, leading you to make assumptions about what your business needs. Conversely, unreliable data can lead you to believe your revenue is much smaller than it actually is, and you repeatedly ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong?” A business owner once hired me because he wanted to grow to $600,000; when I asked him what his current revenue was he guessed it was around $250K. I asked him to double check that with real data and the answer was almost double, at $450K! No wonder his operations were stretched!

Determine what four to six pieces of data will most tell you how your business is performing; average invoice, total number of invoices, and percentage booked are a great start for a medical practice.  Track those numbers on at least a monthly basis, preferably weekly. Know those numbers like the back of your hand.

Running a thriving, successful business requires you to focus on what you do best; be sure that you have the tools and resources – from reliable data to business partners – to make it as easy as possible.

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Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, has provided business and personal coaching for small business owners since 2000, providing online and face to face coaching for entrepreneurs, small business owners, start-up businesses as well as established businesses across the country. Clients come from New Hampshire, her home state, but she has also acted as a mentor to business owners in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, the Denver area, and closer to home in the Boston area. Helen helps her clients develop their small business ideas, create marketing plans, improve operation efficiency, build customer service systems, build management and leadership skills, and develop confidence as a business owner. Helen provides business tips and resources through her blog and her newsletter, where you can also find business templates to help your business prosper.