I remember growing my career in management with a large Fortune 500 company when my Executive Vice President told me something one day. He said, “Ted, execution is the one thing that separates the good from the great. Let me put it to you this way. If you don’t execute, you’ll be executed.” I guess it’s hard to forget that, but it still rings true in my mind today. Some of the best leaders and managers in business don’t achieve peak results because they simply don’t execute the plan.
If you like to read, I highly recommend that you pick up a book written by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan called Execution. There is a wealth of knowledge in this book about execution, and how to be very successful at getting things done. Here are three mistakes new entrepreneurs make when it comes to execution.
- Changing the plan too often– One of the sayings I love is that focus beats brilliance all the time. In your first year of business, it is very easy to get distracted by five more new money making ideas that you see as ventures that can put additional dollars in your pocket. The problem is that if you lose focus on the plan you put together when you started the business, this can confuse your employees, potential investors, and even you as the owner. As hard as it will be to this, try to refrain in the initial stages from changing the game plan you laid out for you and your employees as this will be a bottleneck in achieving execution of your game plan.
- No benchmarks and review process- Since the first year of the business will fly past you in the blink of an eye, it is crucial to have a dashboard against the major metrics you are trying to achieve in the business. Whether this is a gross revenue number or a certain amount of new clients, it is truly important to have a score card so you can on a daily or weekly basis see how you are doing against plan. In an effort to decide how to channel your time, energy, and financial resources, this dashboard and regular review process will allow you to make the best decision on where to execute. Then, you can step back (or you and your management team) and decide the best way ‘how’ to execute.
- Poor communication – Since you are the visionary of your business, it will be very easy for you to connect your actions against what you see being the end in mind. However, day to day, it can be very difficult for employees in your organization to understand the why behind what they are doing because they cannot connect dot A to dot B. You need to make sure you are overtly clear on linking the strategies you are putting place for the organization against the vision on where you see the company going in one, three, or five years. One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make is in the area of communication with their employees and their investors. This can be a big problem in trying to execute your main initiatives in the first year.
This is part nine of a ten part series on entrepreneurship. During the first couple of years in business, you will constantly be challenged with the bicycle pedals of motivation and discipline. When motivation weans, discipline must kick in to keep the bicycle moving. I have always felt that those best at executing a game plan manage to have incredible discipline in doing the things that have to be done even when they don’t want to do them. Execution is all about that analogy. Stay disciplined against your strategy and only turn the bicycle when it needs to be turned or you’ll end up with a flat tire
Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 1 – Being Undercapitalized , Lesson 2 – Incorrectly Pricing Your Product Or Service, Lesson 3 – Know Your Role As The Owner, Lesson 4 – Avoid Rookie Mistakes, Lesson 5 – You Must Hire Professional Consultants, Lesson 6 – Poor Staffing Decisions, Lesson 7 – Milking The Business, Lesson 8 – The Marketing Plan
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Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS® Co-CEO and Founder oXYGen Financial, Inc. Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Advisor Services, LLC (NFPAS), Member FINRA/SIPC. Oxygen Financial is not affiliated with NFPAS.