The very definition of common sense tells us that there should not be a need to discuss the matter further in any way. This means that it is accepted in our society as being true. Now the question begs: “Are there certain aspects to business that entrepreneurs, like ourselves, forget and not use our common sense to determine?” Are we missing the basic “Common Sense In Business”?
We all have that one ability, the ability to use our common sense, to accept things that are shared by nearly all of the people around us without the need to judge it or debate it.
In business you read many stories of business owners or entrepreneurs achieving success without a formal education. Think of Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Rachael Ray and many more! Did they use their common sense in business or did they achieve success by some dumb luck? I would think that they used their common sense.
Steve Jobs was famous for getting Apple back on the map with only 4 products, saying that the product offering must be simple and understandable to the user. I have written, from my experience, the top 4 items that entrepreneurs sometimes overlook when using their common sense to do business.
1. “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do” – Steve Jobs
This is probably one of the most important business quotes of the 21st century. Have you decided what you are in the marketplace? Do you do any and all of the work that comes your way or are you focusing on a niche and excelling at it?
We are in the technology age and you cannot be a jack of all trades.
You need to decide what it is you want to do and more importantly what you do not want to do. If you are an electrician, decide whether you wish to service the household, commercial or industrial market. You cannot become the best in your industry if you service all of these industries with mediocrity.
Choose one niche and excel at it! Be the best in the industry in your city and position yourself to be the electrician that is phoned and asked for assistance. Choose what you do not want to do for a customer as much as what you choose to do for the customer.
2. “The money coming in must be more than money going out” – Hein Buys
This quote comes from a dear friend of mine. He has one of the strongest and most unique entrepreneurial spirits I have ever seen. The one thing that I constantly hear from him when we discuss new business ideas or other entrepreneurial spirits is that the basics of business is easy.
With any business idea he always asks: “Will the money coming in be more than the money going out?”. I have heard many entrepreneurs say, “well the income statement shows we are profitable”. Profit is not as important as cash flow and it is one concept that he understands well.
As a small business, if you are unable to pay your suppliers you will not receive replacement stock, if you are unable to pay your cell phone bill, you cannot phone your customers. Every entrepreneur must know that cash is king.
3. “Your brand is only as good as your reputation” – Richard Branson
Now this is one entrepreneur that gets the importance of one’s reputation. Many times when I sit with a client and they wish for me to make a questionable business decision, I look at them and say unequivocally that “my reputation is more important than your business”.
Yes, I might make a few bucks on doing a questionable deal for them, but to the other party my reputation is damaged and I will never have the opportunity to rectify that damage. Ever! I would rather lose a deal than cause damage to myself and my brand.
Why would you shoot holes in your own boat? If you wish for your brand to be strong in the marketplace, be known for delivering on your promises and if you want your brand to be referred to other potential customers, ensure that your reputation is intact, because the old adage of “your reputation precedes you” is very true in business.
4. “Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard” – Guy Kawasaki
I think it is important that you read this headline a few times, let it sink in and then read this section. The most important action in any business is implementation.
You can obtain the best strategic plans in the world, designed by the best consultants with the most expensive MBA’s out there. However, if you do not implement what the plan says, it means nothing. I see it too often in business that an entrepreneur has an idea for growing his business, but does not implement the steps to get there or the entrepreneur already knows how to fix a problem, but does nothing about it.
He knows what he needs to do but just doesn’t do it. It’s not a lack of experience or a shortage of skills, it’s just an absolute lazy attitude to change the status quo. We are at the end of the day creatures of habit, and procrastination is a habit most of us have.
In a small business, there is no time for procrastination. If you have a hot lead, phone them! If you know what to do next, just do it! Just move forward and implement what is necessary. Do not wait for someone else to implement on your behalf, remember that they also have that common human trait of procrastination.