I had a really interesting chat with a client last week about why we don’t always do what we know we should when we run our own business. I told him why I think this occurs by relaying the story below from when I was an employee.
Many years back, I was a sales executive with Telstra and had a monthly sales budget (I needed to make $120k of new sales every month).
What motivated me to achieve this budget was simple; If I didn’t reach it, my job was in jeopardy, and if I did reach it, I was rewarded with bonuses (which multiplied each time I exceeded my target).
Catching the train to work one morning, I was listening to a CD by Brian Tracy.
He said, ‘Why don’t you go to work today and ask your boss; what it would take for them to pay you twice as much and give you a promotion?’
I remember the excitement and fear that built up inside me when I heard this. Could I really go and ask my boss this question?
I decided to face my fears and booked a meeting with the boss that day.
I swallowed, smiled, and with a nervous touch to my voice, asked, ‘What will it take for you to pay me twice as much as you do now and give me a promotion?’
Steve (my boss) looked quite shocked at this question.
After what felt like ten minutes of silence (but was probably only thirty seconds), Steve replied, ‘Andrew – give me 200% of your sales budget for the next six months and I will double your pay and ensure you get a promotion within the company.’
I was so excited; I could hardly believe it could be so simple. Finally, we confirmed the agreement in writing, and my 6-month goal was set to begin the following week.
Six months later, I achieved my goal and was so pleased when my boss honoured his side of the deal, and I received a 100% pay increase and a promotion.
Within two months of taking the promotion and with growing confidence, I decided to quit my job and start my own business as a coach.
And this is where the trouble started.
Like most people, I started my business journey full of excitement, believing I would now ‘live the dream.’
The problem was, I didn’t have anyone giving me a set target, nor did I have a structure that said, ‘make this X calls, and you will get these results.’
I didn’t have a plan describing what activity I would do to get results.
If I didn’t do the work, there was no one to tell me my job was in trouble because I wasn’t doing the work.
There was no one to keep me accountable, ensuring that I hit my budgets and goals. As a result, that first year in business was one of the toughest years I have ever been through.
My plans completely backfired.
Like many people, I went into business because I wanted the freedom to do what I wanted in my own time.
The truth is, running your own business sounds great, but it can create a BIG PROBLEM. By taking advantage of this freedom, I almost went broke in the process.
I see the same scenario being played out all the time.
Farm owners can move from being an employee, where they have a set of KPIs and objectives, to running their own business because they want the freedom to live a great life.
The problem is, they, like me, don’t hold themselves accountable and therefore don’t do the things that MUST be adopted to run a successful company.
We ALL get caught up doing the things that are EASY but not $$ productive and then wonder why we haven’t achieved the initial dreams we set out with.
Did you know that people who are held accountable are 90% more likely to achieve their goals than people who aren’t?
That is why I decided to invest in accountability from my 2nd year.
I couldn’t afford it but knew that was the exact reason I needed to do it.
My first accountability mentor knew what KPIs I needed to set and what activities I needed to do.
Very quickly, my business had positive results because I was doing the right things again. I was back on track. Nine years later, I still invest in accountability and always will. There are three types of accountability in my life;
2. A mastermind group, and
3. I speak to some mates in business monthly, and we help each other set goals and review what we have been doing.
I believe a psychological shift happens when people move from Employee to Business Owner.
We need to re-create our role as if we are still employees, i.e. write our job description and put some KPIs around our role.
We then need to get someone to help us review this and help us stick to it. The results will come quicker than you can imagine.
Have a profitable week,