I think a lot about going from good to great, as would any entrepreneur committed to excellence. What does great look like? How do I get there?
I have the privilege of monitoring many businesses and getting a good peek under their sheets. The harsh reality is that I have never seen a perfect business. And, frankly, I am not sure one exists. Not mine. Not one that has 1,000 locations. Not one that has $1 billion in revenue. Perhaps, in business, perfect will never exist, because perfect would mean too much for those involved.
But great can exist. And I have seen a lot of good companies working toward being great with daily adjustments and enhancements. There are two things that I find in common with good businesses moving toward greatness: People and action.
I know business is much more complicated than providing two simple solutions, but I feel everything great comes from those simple, one-inch-of-difference steps.
First comes action.
Every good business started somewhere. Someone made the decision to take a leap and launch their idea. In the franchising world, that idea relies on many partners to carry on the traditions and processes of the original idea. Often times, franchisees fail to deliver on action, whether that is cooking product the right way or putting the banner up the right way or using the right logo or, worst of all, creating action around local store marketing.
If they would just go out and shake a few hands in the community, they might win more at the local level.
I believe we, as humans, are afraid of action not for the potential of how big the dream could become but because of how hard failure will feel. What if we try to shake that hand and they reject us. Rejection causes action to go back into hibernation. When a business hibernates, it loses.
So, if you are willing to take action, you are setting yourself up for the chance to win.
After action comes people.
You are only one person and as one person, naturally you will have limitations. Great businesses are built from great people. If you realize you cannot do it all and are willing to loosen up the reins, you have a shot at winning. Surrounding yourself with great people and great talent will allow your business to take new shape. Not just the original idea and not just the original action, but that of your team’s.
Great people are tough to find. Many seem great on paper, and may have the sales-y type personality, but if the action is dead behind the talk, then that walk looks pretty ugly.
How do you find great people? Persistence, perhaps? Or risk?
At my last job, I showed up to my interview with hoop earrings, a leather jacket and a red Mustang. The image I presented was that of cockiness and sales. Somehow, they saw past the first impression and focused on the potential.
Perhaps great people can be found by taking a few risks on potential and allowing people to prove to you their greatness.
Great people make great businesses, but before they can be great, they have to take action.