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  • Jeannie Doherty

Success Leaves Clues

I'm pretty excited to write this because I can be a little bit like a forensics person or a detective when I am out there observing businesses and the success that they're having or struggling to have. And today, I'd like to dive into Success leaves clues.

And, there are three key things that I have noticed. There are various factors, but there are three key factors that I have noticed that highly successful entrepreneurs are nailing in a kind of zero tolerance way. I have absolutely applied these in my own business, because I have seen that these three things is kind of non-negotiable if we want to enjoy profit, cash, and prosperity. And so if you're looking to do better in business, this is a great read for you.

Talking about success clues over lunch

Success leaves clues – it absolutely does, and I would absolutely love you to move forward from today's read as a fellow forensics officer in the world of entrepreneurs and brands. So as you are out there immersed in brands that you purchase from, whether it is the local pub that you have a beer at, or a shop that you buy clothing from, or even your supermarket, start to observe the finer things that these brands are doing that they're doing well. And, observe things that they should be able to get and that are just not okay, because there are lots of lessons there – lots of questions to be asked and answers to obtain to help you do better in business.

So, as you're aware, I am a strategic bookkeeper, and I'm also a business strategist.

I work with clients helping them do better in business by using Numbers Mastery, Business Mastery, and Habits Mastery. I've got a front row seat to all of this. And, the three things that I have observed that we can all learn from:

Number one,

being a great manager and a great leader.

Oh goodness, I could write a lot about this one for ages just because of the impact that I have seen it have in business. So, as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, you need to also be able to wear the manager hat and wear it well, okay?

You shouldn't always have to be the manager. You should be able to scale your business and recruit managers and probably move into more of a leadership role.

A manager has five key areas of focus. So they PLAN, ORGANISE, STAFF, DIRECT, and CONTROL. So you can hear that's quite linear. So I'm planning and then I'm staffing, and then I'm getting all that organized, and then I'm directing everybody, and now I'm controlling everything in my five-step model. As I've mentioned in other podcasts, it goes plan and then team, similar to how the manager has to plan and then staff once we've got the game plan in place, then we need the WINNING TEAM in place to win the game. Whereas a leader does something quite different. And that is the role that often an entrepreneur wants to sit in, but you have to wear both hats.

Even when you move into more of a leadership role like myself, you have to be prepared to pop the manager hat on. And when you do, you wear it 100%, you wear it well. The leader is about more big picture.

The LEADER sets the vision of the organization, and your VISION primarily is

what you want for your customers and your clients.

So our vision for our clients is optimal business performance, prosperity, and peace of mind. I set that vision that's in our strategic bookkeeping practice, and then we have a mission of how we get that, and that is up to date, accurate accounting records plus the education and support that you need to build your dream business and life. So that's an example of me as a leader setting the vision, and then I am going to inspire the team to bring that vision to life in all that we do.

It's more of a big picture role, and the leader role can be a little bit more creative and fun, but the manager role can be not so fun.

What I see is entrepreneurs who really don't like wearing that manager hat is because it is very structured and requires a lot of hard decisions, which leads into the next one. And so they fall into the trap of a people pleasing management style, because there's no one above them to blame. In fact, some business owners that I meet, they have been great managers in other businesses, but they're struggling in their own business. And I would suggest that's also because in another business, you are just kind of taking direction from the owner and simply it's like, well, don't shoot the messenger. But when you are managing in your own business, you are the messenger and your emotions can get in the way.

So what I educate my business owners to do is not feel like you have to be this manager all the time, all the time. I mean, certainly if you are the only one in the business, then you do. Once you start to bring on team, there are ways you can get them to self-manage. And there are ways that you can get other people helping you with this plan, organize, staff, direct, and control functions, right? Really important. Write them down because success leaves clues –

and the most successful entrepreneurs that I know are able

to wear the MANAGER hat and they're able to in a zero tolerance, relentless way,

plan, organize, staff, direct, and control.

Moving on to the second one,

making hard decisions.

I often say to the clients that I'm engaging around strategy: I won't necessarily ask you to work a lot harder, but I'm going to ask you to make harder decisions.

And I have absolutely observed that successful entrepreneurs are prepared to, almost in a way where they don't spend any real time thinking about it, make hard decisions. This is absolutely linked to leaving that people pleasing manager behind – there is no room for the people pleasing manager in the room. That will only lead to profit bleeding in your business! Let me give you an example which I commonly see play out in business.

Let's say you're a really lovely person and therefore you don't like being zero tolerance in terms of the way you plan, organize, staff, direct and control. And that leads to you accepting excuses from team members around why they don't give you 100% around time and task. So that is why they're not doing what they said they'd do, in the timeframe that they do it.

An example, let's say they're a tardy and they need to put their time sheet in every day, and they keep telling you, oh, I'm really sorry, I forgot. But the thing is, you don't understand. I'm under a lot of pressure and I'm trying to get the job done and I just can't do it.

And that leads to you not being able to do your job costing, therefore you don't really know how profitable your jobs are. And then as the business grows and the business is struggling in terms of its profitability, even sometimes making a loss, you can't see financially why that is really happening, which actually leads into the last one around tight financial controls.

This decision to not be ZERO TOLERANCE and make hard decisions and wear

the manager hat – these first two things has a domino effect in your business.

One of the things I do with my entrepreneurs is I say, I'm not going to ask you to be something that you are not all the time, but I'm going to educate you around the success leads clues.

And then what I'm going to say to you is, when you are in a situation where you are called upon to be a manager, even if it's just for 10 minutes... With my team, sometimes I need to pop that manager hat on, and I absolutely am a kind person that can have the habit of being a people pleasing manager, but I know better now. I imagine myself putting the manager hat on, and I say, it's now time to plan, organize, staff, direct and control. And this is done in a very controlled manner with zero tolerance for excuses.

Another example of a hard decision is just simply when you have to make the decision to let a staff member go. One of my values is fairness, and it's a value that so many people hold, right? I would suggest that everybody that I work with, all of my clients, all of my team, we all share that value, fairness. And so if we have to let someone go, we're going to make the tough decisions. So just think about how that relates to you.

Are you making harder, tougher decisions, or are you avoiding hard, tough decisions?

Because, this is your business life and the person that you are in your personal life – there has to be a line. And I remember once that someone observed me and said, Jeannie, at home, you're like a marshmallow. And at work you're like Hitler and Pink. And someone actually also said, which is the real you? And I said, my VALUES are exactly the same.

I don't think that we change at work and at home. If you're a nice person, you're a nice person at home and at work. I'm a fair person at home and at work, I'm an absolute softie, but I know that to be successful in business, I just need to do the linear things. I need to be the manager when I need to manage. I need to make hard decisions even though they're hard. That's why they're called hard decisions.

So the third thing is

tight financial controls.

So success leaves clues, and that is that successful business owners have tight financial controls early on that might be keeping a handle on the smaller things, like REVENUE and even CONVERSION rates of leads to sales, because early on that's really important. And then, it could be cost of SALES and making sure that they're really working around regulating their PRICING to make sure that the gross profit is there and everything's profitable, but that slowly migrates as that business grows and expands into bigger and tighter financial controls.

So, financial controls around the OPERATIONS cost and the critical drivers of PROFIT and the critical drivers of CASH FLOW – it all sounds fancy and complex, but these business owners reach out for support.

They recruit people to help them with this because it would be ridiculous to think that they could do it all themselves. So they make sure that they've got a great bookkeeper in their pocket, a great strategic bookkeeper in their pocket, a great income tax accountant in their pocket, and that they invest in ongoing financial controls.

I'm going to keep this blog really short and sweet: I'm going to summarize again and say that success leaves clues. And of everything I have observed, I mean, I could tell you I've seen different things around lead generation. I could tell you amazing stuff I've seen around cash flow, and it's like, wow, how did that business get that so right? And all of these things. But of everything that I have observed and the rabbit hole that I have gone to go, well, yeah, that business is doing it and that business is doing that, and there's not much difference.

But then, I looked for the key things, and those three key things are:

  1. The decision to wear the manager hat well when you've got wear it – no excuses, zero tolerance with your team.

  2. The decision to make hard decisions, even though they're hard. Just do it like ripping off a band aid. Just do it and keep your values intact. Remind yourself, even name it to tame it. And you can even say, I'm going to take my friend hat off right now, and put my manager hat on. Hard decisions overall, not just when it comes to team hard decisions. Another hard decision is to be proactive rather than reactive. The easiest thing in the world is to keep being reactive, to go to your desk first thing in the morning and look at your email rather than work to a structured agenda. So a hard decision is to form really good HABITS. Another hard decision is to, rather than make excuses, to take ACCOUNTABILITY and RESPONSIBILITY, and actually do something different rather than doing the same thing and expecting different results.

  3. And then that last thing is tight financial controls.

So in terms of how you can take action, well, you can absolutely decide today that when you walk into your business tomorrow, you are going to wear the manager hat. Plan, organize, staff, direct and control, and you're going to expect the people around you to be accountable for time and tasks. That is the TRUST piece.

The next thing is you can absolutely know that courage and fear exist together, not separately. And you can decide, I'm going to be accountable, and I'm going to make the hard decisions when I have to make them. I'm not going to think about it. I'm going to go with my gut and I'm going to make the hard decisions.

And in terms of tight financial controls, well, that one's kind of easy because you can always call me and talk to me about your business journey.

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