Happy Birthday to Tendo – 13 things I’ve learned in the last 13 years

Within the last week, Tendo turned into a teenager.  Yes, 13 years young.  Think stroppy, disrespectful and insubordinate teenager.

Not bad for a guy told he wasn’t great at strategy by his peers in corporate huh?

Statistically, if you are beyond five years old, you are one of a minority that make it this far.  Pat yourself on the back and ensure you celebrate.  Beyond 10 years, even better.

I have no idea where the last 13 years have gone but I’ve enjoyed every minute and never looked back.

I have reflected on my journey and I’ve penned the 13 things that I have learned in that time, that are key for every small business owner out there if they are wanting to succeed in business.

In no particular order:

  1. Understand the end goal and work backwards – less than 5% of owners have an exit plan.  When, how and with how much do you want to exit?
  2. Get clear on your purpose – figure out what you want to put fire in your belly everyday (your calling if you like), what lifestyle you want and what financial rewards you need
  3. Solve a problem – great businesses solve problems.  The greater the pain and the better the solution, the higher the pricing opportunity
  4. Listen and follow the data – great sales people listen, poor sales people talk.  Follow the data as it will tell you what, when and why
  5. Nail your positioning – get clear on why your clients should buy from you (in <15 words), exactly who your ideal client is and what you want them to say behind your back.  If you don’t, you’ll always compete on price
  6. Build an audience – having a tribe of advocates and followers gives you an opportunity to listen, debate and even sell to
  7. Customer service is a differentiator – the reality for 99% of all SMEs is that there’s plenty of direct competitors.  Your service before, during and after will differentiate you
  8. Surround yourself with experts – don’t figure out how, figure out who.  Make sure you are in the right room
  9. Build a dream team – you can’t do epic stuff with s**t people.  Build a team who can do what needs doing better than you, to free you up
  10. Hire slowly, fire quickly – take your time and don’t rush recruitment, but if they aren’t the right fit (attitude and values) get rid ASAP
  11. Never stop learning – every day is a school day.  If you are not developing your skills and knowledge every day, you are standing still
  12. Know your numbers – get clear on what you should be measuring to track success and obsess over the numbers.  Remember that cash is king
  13. Plan, plan, plan – you can’t get to your end-game effectively without a plan.  Ensure you have a simple written plan that is shared with your team and reviewed and updated regularly

These are the simple yet effective ingredients needed by any small business owner.  They are the ones I chat with and use with my clients every day to get them the results they desire.

Which ones resonate with you?

Which ones have you not got to grips with yet?

You will need all 13 in place if you want to maximise the results available to you.

I’m off to my bedroom to play Call of Duty, chat to my mates on Snap and hide all the cutlery and crockery.  Joke – I’m off to the park to drink WKD!