There’s a personality test that goes like this: Someone is knocking at your door, the baby is crying, the phone is ringing and you’ve been expecting an important call, the water is running in the sink and it’s starting to rain on your fresh dry sheets hanging outside on the clothesline. Stop and think about these individually and prioritize these events. Do not put any other parameters on the scenario. Place a number beside each in order how you personally address this list, we will get back to it.
It always begins with a vision. You picture in your head of owning your own home and having a family, working, and maintaining the lifestyle you envision. Then you realize that the leading role of the true-life motion picture you created is much like the beginning of this article, and so it is the same with business management.
The niche market of vinyl graphic installation was once only an in-house operation for print production shops. Now it is a full-fledged legitimate business. Setting up a wrap shop and seeing Ferraris, Bentleys and Aston Martins being transformed into works of art right before your eyes is a dream you can announce to the world online. Transforming that dream into ownership of the reality is a process.
As entrepreneurs, you have the innate responsibility of creating a business environment that emulates who you are and your purpose. Visualizing the idea and having the skill to install vinyl yourself is one thing, managing others to scale up your business is another. Ambition multiplies the risks and rewards along with managing the growth of personnel and responsibilities to customers that intensifies the equation. Author Simon Sinek says to Find your Why. Find Your Why is the follow up to Start with Why, the global bestseller and the subject of the third-most watched TED Talk of all time. With so many different styles of management, the Keep It Simple Stupid or KISS method is the best method from large to small companies. Steve Jobs said, “Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” Vehicle wrapping is simple, isn’t it? Simply figure out the least number of steps and time to deliver a quality product that brings value to the customer, the community, and the wrap industry.
Start at the end
The next step is to start with the end in mind. Starting out without having a goal is no plan at all. How will you ever measure success? Your exit plan could be as simple as amassing a fortune and liquidating your business assets upon reaching a predetermined amount necessary for the remainder of your lifetime. The plan could be to create wealth by selling it outright or merge with a complimentary operation. Leaving a legacy for the employees, family member(s) or successor is also an option. The future may not be clear in the beginning, but as Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Awareness of the planned direction and setting a course toward a destination is always the best way to get somewhere. The end can simply be altered along the way according to situations that arise throughout the life of the business.
Setup is key
Company setup is tantamount to establishing simplicity upfront. For example, if you start mingling your personal and business finances and must go back at some point to separate everything to set it right, you have lost an irreplaceable commodity, time. A business is recognized as an entity separate and apart from the owner(s). Companies can be established legally as a sole proprietor, or a business of more than one person: the partnership, the corporation, the limited liability, or a cooperative. Business has a platform of products and/or services offered for a profit, based on supply and demand using productive personnel. It has a face or a salesperson, marketing person, website, or social media presence. There are internal functions such as accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and taxes. It also has a reputation and values to uphold. Businesses can start, grow, expand, rebrand, downsize, hire, fire, and retire. Management of all these processes must align with the vision and goals of its owner(s), members, or shareholders.
‘The Dash’ is a touching poem by Linda Ellis that is about the dash on a tombstone of a friend. It asks the reader to remember the time between the two dates was spent by the departed and reflect on their own lives. Once you have a vision of the beginning and the end, you must fill in the dash for your business. Take a break, evaluate your priorities, your vision, and your why. Understand where you want to be in the end and what you want remembered.
Business dreams will not become reality if they are not clearly set attainable mutual goals. Everyone in the organization needs to know the company’s goal at the very end and the plan of action to reach it. Business management simplified takes an enormous amount of hard work. It is countless hours dreaming, researching, thinking, learning, calculating, teaching, relearning, recalculating, rethinking. The mental and physical calisthenics required by business owners and managers is not listed in the company manual or job description. Truly managing is an endeavor for persons with tenacity, patience, and a very big heart.
Now go back to the beginning of this article and evaluate your personalized list looking at what you placed as your first priority. Answering the door first says that friends and relatives have a high priority in your life. Soothing a crying baby indicates that your family always comes first. Answering the phone shows dedication and a strong commitment to your job. Turning off the water in the sink represents money is very important to you. If you ran out to save the sheets from the rain, maybe sex is at the top of your priority list. Some of these may not hold true in the world we live in today. Our phones are attached to everyone everywhere and probably very few of you reading this have a clothesline. What is interesting, is everyone numbers these items differently. So, I ask you, what is your priority?