Gary and I celebrated our one-year anniversary earlier this week. It’s been a mammoth effort and we’ve learnt a lot along the way!
For all of those looking to start up on their own, or looking at improving efficacies within their practice, this is what we’ve learnt in this time.
1. Have clear job descriptions
For those of us wearing many hats in small business, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily rigmarole of working in the business. When do you actually work on the business? There are clients who need your attention, there’s work to be won, there’s the execution of engagements, then there’s looking after finances, and the endless admin – where does it stop?!
As we went through our EoFY strategy meeting, we formulated clear job descriptions. We know what we are responsible for in a consulting capacity (and as employees of the business), and we also know what we’re responsible for as Directors of the business driving it forward. This allows us to keep each other accountable and ensure (some level of) harmony. I believe that anyone who’s working both in and on their business should have two job descriptions in order to manage the separation of duties.
2. Play to your strengths
Gary and I come from different backgrounds and are at different places in our careers. Our paradigms mean that we have very different perspectives and personal goals in life. We also have very different approaches to matters and this means that we complement each other’s skills nicely.
From a personal level, my approach lends itself more towards ascertaining the feasibility of the (sometimes ludicrous) concepts that Gary raises and actually putting them into practice. Concepts that start as a ‘what if’ are now being executed well (albeit with continuous improvement) and this keeps us moving forward. And this is also included in our job descriptions.
3. Keep learning
The learning doesn’t stop. The way we do business today is significantly different to that of 20 years ago (or so I’m told). The way we do business in 5 years will be different once again. We need to keep learning and polishing our skills.
The learning doesn’t necessarily have to be formal. My mentor kicks me in the rear when I’m not thinking straight, and also (rarely) commends me for doing things right. Sharing ideas with other people with differing paradigms helps you understand what the perception of your offering is. Keep that circle of influence close and keep the inspiration coming. There are a plethora of articles on LinkedIn, videos on YouTube, audiobooks on Audible. We need to keep the ideas flowing.
There have been plenty of ups and downs – and they will continue. That’s life. We’ve had a great run and will keep driving this forward. There’s a heap of wonderful opportunities on the horizon and as long as we stay true, we’ll get there – as will you.