MY APPROACH TO BUSINESS VALUES
RICHARD CONWAY SHARES SIX MORE STRATEGIES HE HAS IMPLEMENTED TO ACHIEVE NINE YEARS (AND COUNTING!) OF SUSTAINED BUSINESS GROWTH.
Richard Conway shares six more strategies he has implemented to achieve nine years of sustained business growth.
C ontinuing on from last month’s column, where I discussed some of the strategies I’ve implemented during the growth of my business, now I’d like to continue to talk about our approach to values. While there are many lessons to be learned on the path to success, a few aspects are universal. So here goes.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
Cashflow is the lifeblood of any business. With today’s smart accounting software, such as Xero, there’s simply no reason not to fully understand your financials. Knowing your cashflow situation is the key to growth – not just to make decisions about moving forward with the business, but to ensure you aren’t borrowing when you don’t need to.
I’ve met many entrepreneurs who have all had great businesses on paper, but struggled with managing cashflow. This can lead to taking out loans to support yourself, or go as far as to dip into your mortgage to keep wage payments consistent. While cashflow problems can happen for many reasons, there are ways you can successfully keep on top of it.
Even worse are the entrepreneurs who put their head in the sand and rely on others to look and advise around their financials. Know your numbers!
KNOW YOUR PEOPLE
What is the most important thing in the world? A great Maori proverb sums this up perfectly: “He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.” It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.
You cannot underestimate the power and importance of great people in a business. Over the years, this has been one of our biggest assets – however, without a doubt one of our biggest challenges. I have made mistakes by over-promoting people – giving individuals roles or responsibilities beyond their capability – and not getting rid of ‘bad apples’ quickly enough.
While you have to accept you’ll always make these mistakes, the biggest piece of positive advice is to allow people to flourish. It is inspiring the number of times the people at Pure have done things or suggested things which have been fundamental to our success.
Give them responsibility and the ability to think for themselves, and your people will always help guide your business in the right direction.
THE TALL POPPY SYNDROME
There will unfortunately always be a segment of people who are quick to criticise and cut you down. It is really hard not to take this to heart, or have it impact on you in a negative manner. It is even harder when it is former employees whom you have only treated with respect and dignity. You can’t expect the world to be perfect, so the way I have dealt with this is to surround myself with my ‘tribe’, similar people who also have a growth mindset.
I have joined organisations like Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) and NZ Leaders, where I get to speak with other successful people and return my focus to motivation and inspiration.
You often become a product of who you surround yourself with, and positive people who want to see you succeed in your out-of-office life are just as valuable.
TIME TO REFLECT
We are often so caught up in the day-to-day things and looking forward to what we wish to accomplish, we forget to look at how far we have come and what we have achieved. If someone had told me nine years ago I would have a business spanning three countries, with 55 people relying on me for their income I would not have believed them.
Taking the time to reflect is important. I sometimes enter business awards as they force me to reflect and think about what we have achieved, and to further understand the strategies and values that brought us where we are today.
CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE
We are all in control of how we feel. It is easy to blame other people for problems and focus on the negative. But who does that impact negatively on? Ourselves and those around us.
Bad things happen that we have no control over, but what we do control is how we react to them.
A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to spend some time with an amazing woman, Debra Searle (https://www. debrasearle.com/), who has some great insights and tools about how you can choose your attitude. Focusing on the positive will help generate a solution-based mindset, rather than a problembased one.
How you judge the success of your day is similar to your attitude. We can have ten good things happen in a day, then one bad thing happens and we focus on that. This is only human nature, so it’s equally as important to put emphasis on the successes over the failures.
Celebrate the good events and feedback, and you’ll promote a culture that wishes to succeed alongside you.
Next year will be our tenth year in business and we will be looking to continue to expand, evolve and grow. I don’t know what the future brings, there will definitely be disruptions to our industry and we will need to pivot (again!).
One thing is for sure though; it will be a lot of fun and it will have its challenges.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.