Last week I wrote about the role of passion in business success in my article Business Lessons From Rio 2016. This week, I thought I’d explore the topic further, and look at why passion is essential for business success and what business owners with passion do differently to their counterparts.
When you find something getting done, anywhere, you will find a monomaniac with a mission.” Peter Drucker
So why is passion essential for business success?
The answer lays in extensive research conducted by Jim Collins for his book, Good To Great. Collins concluded that what he termed good-to-great companies founded their business strategies on a deep understanding of the following:
Have you, like me, been taking time out of your day to watch the Rio 2016 Olympics? I’ve had the games playing in the background while I do some of my more administrative tasks. I’ve re-arranged my schedule to watch some events. There was no way I was going to miss Charlotte Dujardin going for Olympic gold on super horse, Valegro! I also stayed up to watch the gymnastics and of course to see Andy Murray retain his gold medal in the tennis.
Post Brexit, national pride has been restored now that Great Britain is an Olympic super power. Phew!
It’s watching the passion, strength and dedication of the athletes themselves that inspires me – seeing their hard work over a lifetime come to a head on the world’s biggest stage. None more so than Nick Skelton, who in his 7th Olympic games, won gold in the showjumping.
While watching the events this year, I realised there are some important Olympic business lessons we can learn as solopreneurs and small business owners. In this post, I’m going to detail the ones that struck me. But first please forgive me if you’re not from Great Britain. I’m going to use several examples from Team GB to illustrate my points – because we’re a spectacular second in the medals table. 🙂
To celebrate Rio 2016 and the inspirational example set by our teams, here are some powerful words from leading athletes.
- “I’ve always considered myself the best and the top. I never considered that I was out of it.” Serena Williams, tennis player
- “Every time I go out and race it’s a goal to go out and run faster than I’ve done before.” Paula Radcliffe, long-distance runner
- “I’m proud of the way I’ve dealt with setbacks. It’s hard when you feel down and you think, ‘Why is the world doing this to me?’ But you have to pick yourself up again. That’s what makes you a better athlete.” Jessica Ennis Hill, athlete
- “Don’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the further you get.” Michael Phelps, swimmer
- “We’re all just playing our own game. I don’t see it as a rivalry. We’re just trying to play our best.” Michelle Wie, golfer
- “Failure I can live with. It’s not trying I can’t handle.” Sanya Richards Ross, athlete
- “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” Billie Jean King, tennis player
- “Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.” Bethany Hamilton, surfer
- “The pressures. God, the pressures – when I think of them now. As I say, it was a journey and a half. But the only way is to fight your way out and keep going until the dream comes true.” Dame Kelly Holmes, athlete
- “Hard days are the best. Because that’s when champions are made.” Gabby Douglas, gymnast
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About Denyse Whillier
I’m a business growth specialist with special interests in social entrepreneurship and helping businesses prepare for Brexit. A former CEO, I took a leap of faith when I left my 25 year corporate career to set up my London based business coaching and consultancy practice. Because of my practical experience in the trenches, hard work, warm, no fluff, down to earth approach, I’ve built a global reputation, and am delighted to have a client list in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
To find out more about the different ways of working with me, click HERE. If you’re familiar with my work and would like to discuss how I can help you grow your business, book a Skype coffee chat using this link. There’s no hard sell. Just solid advice and a straightforward, honest assessment of whether 1:1 business coaching or business consultancy would be a good fit for your business, the results you can expect and how to get started.
I offer a small number of FREE 15 minute power sessions each week where you can get my help. Click HERE to book. I also host a FREE private Facebook group, Business Champions where I’d love to connect with you.
According to the US Small Business Administration, 90% of service businesses will fail within the first five years. They fail not because they don′t offer great services and products, but in large measure because the owners are uncomfortable with traditional marketing and sales methods. They’ve not created a steady sales pipeline of prospects that will help them to get more clients.
Until I set up my own business, my job responsibilities had never really included selling. My aim in my first year of business was to have eight 1:1 business coaching clients. But until I hit upon Michael Port’s book, Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port, I wasn’t sure how I would achieve my goal. Book Yourself Solid sets out a system for generating sales that feels natural, non-pushy and achievable. It’s a great system for service based businesses to get more clients. But it could work just as well for product based businesses. Book Yourself Solid is on my list of recommended reading.
Since those first months in business, I’ve adapted the Book Yourself Solid system to suit me. This is how it goes.
Welcome to my July Business Review where I take you for a sneak peak behind the scenes of my business, and share what I’ve been working on.
Here in the UK, July was a tumultuous month as we tried to come to terms with the Brexit vote and work out its implications. The referendum triggered a series events, including the resignation of three party leaders, including the Prime Minister. The political fallout was immense, and damaging to our world standing.
Reflections On Brexit
I’m strongly pro- European. I have a degree in French and Spanish, lived in France for a year and have traveled extensively in Europe. Whilst I recognise the problems with the EU, not least the frustratingly slow and bureaucratic way in which it works, I believe strongly that we’re better in than out. The EU has led the way for a raft of positive legislation – including on Human Rights and employment law – which sets the standards for a civilised society. And I’m of the view that national security and organised crime are far more effectively dealt with at a Pan European level.
There are three elements that form the foundation of any successful business. The first is that we produce a high-quality product or service. If what we sell isn’t worth buying, no amount of good ideas, cool strategies, or slick marketing will help us succeed. Sustainable business success is built on delivering real value to the customer.
The second element is that we have a solid handle on your financials and take financial control of our business. There’s an old saying:
If you aren’t managing cash flow, you won’t be managing much for long!
Great companies with amazing products, brilliant services and loyal customers have been reduced to ruin and forced into bankruptcy by poor financial management. The most spectacular example of this is Lehman Brothers. But it’s the stats for small business that bear consideration. According to Dr Philip O’Regan, Dean of Kemmy Business School, half of profitable small businesses go out of business because they run out of cash!
On Wednesday, I delivered a presentation for my good friend Emma D’Arcy’s Marketing Success Summit in which I tried to join the dots between marketing, sales and the financials. My argument went like this. If you want to create the business of your vision, you’ll need a marketing budget. And to create a marketing budget, you need a firm grip on the financials.
Ask any business owner what they want, and they’ll say something along the lines of “I’d like more clients who spend more money with me, and to accomplish it in a profitable way.
So far so good.
But when I go on to ask the question “what’s your marketing budget,” there’s a deathly silence.
During my 8 years as a CEO, I was always studying and learning. I wanted to become a better leader. And I wanted to understand the keys to running a successful business so that I could apply lessons from the greats to my medium sized business.. My education took me to Cranfield School of Management, the UK’s leading business school. And I read extensively. With such a plethora of literature and advice on what makes a successful business, it can be hard to know where to start. One of the best places to start is with Jim Collins’ book “Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make The Leap… And Others Don’t.“ The book was written after an extensive 5 year research project, and explains what it takes to build an enduring company from the ground up. You can read my review here.
“The Seven Keys To Running A Successful Business” forms the foundation of my business philosophy and approach to business coaching and consultancy. The seven keys are mission, mastery, money, model, marketing, mindset and momentum. There is more to business than these seven keys, but for start-ups and micropreneurs, I think mastering these will take you a long way.
A common complaint I hear from potential clients is “I want more sales.” When I dig in to their marketing, I generally find that they don’t have an allocated marketing budget and their level of marketing activity is far lower than it needs to be. One of the most pieces of advice that I offer is to suggest they follow the ‘marketing rule of 7,’ a marketing truism that’s been around since before Madison Avenue became a hub for the world’s largest advertising agencies. But I offer this advice with a twist – as the ‘marketing rule of 7 by 3.’
The marketing rule of 7 states that a potential buyer is highly unlikely to see or hear a marketing message, or to even seriously consider buying, until they’ve been exposed to our message at least seven times. Why the marketing rule of 7? Why not the marketing rule of 5, 6, 8 or 9? The answer lies in the data:
- 2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
- 3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
- 5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
- 10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
- 80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact
What a turbulent few weeks we’ve had since the outcome of the EU Referendum and I wrote my article What Does Brexit Mean For UK Small Business! No sooner had the new leadership of the Conservative Party been resolved and a new Cabinet was put in place with Boris Johnson at the helm as our top diplomat than the world was shaken by another terrorist attack in France, the Turkish military launched a coup to oust President Erdogan and at least three police officers were shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. How can we future proof our business in a turbulent world? And what does this mean for business leadership in these fast moving times?
Tough times will always come and go. That’s a given. That’s why it’s important to be a storm proof leader, capable of both weathering the tsunami of change, and capitalising on the opportunities that will inevitably arise from this. Yes, it will probably be two years before Brexit is enacted, if indeed it happens at all. But far better to future proof your business now – and be in a position to make the most of new opportunities such as new trade agreements.