Monday, September 27, 2010

What's your mantra?

When I spoke on a panel at a small business event a few years ago, the moderator asked me to offer my best advice for business owners, compressed into a three-word mantra. After thinking for a moment I came up with, 'Make the Call,' which I still think is a pretty good answer. Don’t worry about what might happen, don't wonder about consequences, set aside the fear that you’ll be turned down — just pick up the darn phone.

On Sept. 20 I asked 10 new business leaders for their best advice mantra. We were at the Prince Hotel in Toronto for GrowthCamp, the invitation-only management conference for the entrepreneurs on the PROFIT Hot 50 list.

I was moderating a roundtable discussion with 10 GrowthCamp attendees, all of them business owners struggling with various challenges and eager to share solutions with each other. After we had exchanged shared best practices for managing people, attracting new talent and filling the sales funnel, I asked one closing question:

What final three-word mantra would you offer other business owners?
Their responses, I think, address most of today’s key business challenges:

• Protect your reputation.
• Be proactive, not reactive.
• Persistence is everything – never give up.
• Focus. Niche.
• Personal relationships: know your clients inside-out.
• Monitor your reputation. (If you want to protect your reputation, this entrepreneur said, you have to first know what other people are saying about you, so you can defend your good name. Think Twitter searches and Google Alerts.)
• Listen to your employees and your customers.
• Drive your dreams. (When I asked what that means, the entrepreneur said, “To attract talent, they have to believe in what you're driving for.”)
• Protect your time, and plan. (This entrepreneur wanted his peers to understand that time flies away if you're not guarding it; make sure your workday is well scheduled to give you the time to make reasoned, thoughtful decisions. “Being effective,” says this entrepreneur, “is more of a technical challenge than we think.”)
• Empower your People.

What’s your three-word business mantra? (Take up to six words if you need them.)

By Rick Spence,FROM CANADIANBUSINESS.COM - September 21, 2010