Do you talk the talk or walk the walk?
There’s a lot of people around that spout the latest (or their latest) business management theory and will jump at the opportunity to advise you how you should be doing your job or running your business. In fact, since social media came of age, there’s more than a ‘lot’, there’s a swarm of wannabe advisors out there.
So what’s wrong with that? Well, if you’re looking for someone with, say, marketing expertise and you find someone with extensive experience and a track record of success in marketing, there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you’re looking for someone who can proactively help you grow your business and assist with almost anything you can throw at them, you don’t really want someone who’s never run their own business and built it successfully themselves, do you? And most wannabe advisors haven’t done that.
It would be rather like a tennis professional being coached by a club tennis player, or a football team being managed by an avid supporter.
The trouble is that many people who’ve worked at a senior level in larger businesses perceive that they know all about running a small business. Whereas frankly, they know diddly-squat. The challenges of running your own show are so broad and so significant, that no-one who hasn’t done it themselves can really understand.
We’re not talking theory here. If the sales leads don’t come in next month, there’s going to be a big gap in revenues down the line which may make the difference between survival and failure. If you don’t get the share option scheme organised and implemented effectively some of your key people might be leaving before long. If you don’t make sure that a major customer’s complaint is resolved quickly, effectively and diplomatically it could be devastating. If you don’t plan and manage cashflow accurately, the bank could be calling in their loan next month and you’ll be out of business. This is the real world. In the world of entrepreneurship there isn’t any protection. There’s no large corporate business machine grinding on regardless of the mistakes you make or the jobs you don’t do.
So next time you’re selecting someone to help you with your business, in whatever role it might be, don’t choose the person with the slick polished presentation (unless that’s what you want them to be doing), or the person that talks eloquently about what they would do for you. Instead pick the person with the track record, who may be in some ways a bit rough round the edges, who’s not the same as everyone else, who has the experience of building a successful business, and knows a lot more about walking the walk that he or she cares about talking the talk. That’s why this week’s article is deliberately short.