As many of you may know, being a small business owner is one of the hardest jobs you can have.
Not only do we need the skills to run a small business but we also need the right mindset.
This is where Frank Spevak specializes. He has an over 30-year long history in helping small business owners.
Frank coaches small business owners to develop the mindset they need to create a stable environment and, therefore, sustainable success. He recently came out with a book that dives into this topic as well.
Why Frank Wrote Principles for Sustainable Success
Growth is not a 10% increase in sales. It’s not a 20% increase in profits. Rather, growth is about growing yourself and your employees. When that kind of growth happens, the magic that improves your business happens too.
When you concentrate on just numbers, your employees will eventually get bogged down with “meeting their quotas.” When you think about sustainable success, though, you get away from that individual, “I gotta have money right now” mindset.
This is why Frank felt so strongly about putting his book out into the world. He wants small business owners to stop concentrating on the numbers. He wants them to instead concentrate on who they are and who their company is.
He knows that if you take these principles to heart, growth will become exponential for both the individuals in your company and for the company financially.
Frank’s Favorite Principles
Frank’s favorite principle is the first: continuous learning. Whenever his career has stalled, it’s because he stopped learning or took his learning for granted.
Consider how you can get back into that learning mode. It doesn’t have to mean continuing your formal education or getting your MBA. You just need to continually improve yourself. You need to question what you’re doing and always look for possible solutions in a lot of different places.
This happens when you are continuously learning because you don’t know where that learning may take you. It may take you on a tangent that helps you out more than your straightforward path.
Frank’s second favorite principle is number eight: whatever your best is today, it isn’t enough.
This may sound harsh but it’s a fact of life that tomorrow is going to be different. Tomorrow is going to change no matter what you do. You don’t know if there will be a new competitor tomorrow. You don’t know if there will be a new product. You don’t know if there will be a financial crash.
So you need to continue to work on yourself and understand that you have to be better tomorrow. It’s not like you need to be 100% different tomorrow but just add 1% a day to what you did before. That will ensure sustainable success.
If you Google scorecards, you’ll get all kinds of things on financials. However, the scorecard Frank recommends keeping has to be individual to your organization.
For example, include things like how many sales calls come in, how many callbacks your technicians have to do, how many callbacks you as the owner have to do for your technicians, how many times you’re out of the parts that are necessary to get the job done, and how many times people are out of the office. These are all much more qualitative than usual scorecards.
However, you can still assign numbers to these questions to help you understand what’s going on with your business. It’s still important to understand your financial position. The scorecard is simply where you start. You can’t make a change if you don’t know what’s the issue.
Frank talks about the “too busy mentality.” The first part of this is that you don’t have time to concentrate on the planning for your business. You’re not thinking about what success looks like for you, your business, or your employees. Instead, you’re always putting out fires.
The second part of this mentality is that many businesses are successful solely because the owner is working 100 hours a week. If this is you, you don’t have time to spend with your family, faith, or community.
In either of these instances, you need to implement worker-owner balance and work-life balance. Those are key.
Stop working 120 hours a week just to try and be successful. Instead, understand your limitations. Remember that there are other parts of life that are really important. Consider hiring someone else to do the things you don’t want to do so you can do the things you like.
Ask yourself, “If I knew I had six months to live, what would I get in order? What would I do differently?”
Living with Uncertainty
Stephen Covey had a great quote that said, “If there’s one thing that’s certain in business, it’s uncertainty.”
Additionally, Voltaire said, “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position.” That is true but certainty is an absurd position.
This is Frank’s seventh principle. Live with uncertainty. Never forget that life is ambiguous. You have to deal with that and learn to feel comfortable with the fact that life is going to change tomorrow.
You don’t know what the weather’s going to be like tomorrow. You don’t know how your ride to work will go tomorrow. It’s important to make the plan but don’t freak when it doesn’t go exactly the way you thought it would.
If you want to learn more about Frank’s principles for sustainable success, check out Episode 071: How to Achieve Sustainable Success in Your Small Business with Frank Spevak.