I have been asked the following questions on many occasions:
- What does it take to build your own business?
- Is it true that is takes as many as 10,000 hours?
- If I have the reputation, skills, and connections, will I be able to grow faster?
I am going to ignore these questions for a moment and rather focus on aspects that I have found crucial in building and growing a business that will succeed (do not worry, I am answering each of the questions in the process…).
Why do you want to start your business / why does your business exist?
If your answer is to make money, to become famous or to be your own boss… I am sorry, but I need to tell you – you need to change tactics or not attempt it at all.
Profit is a result (so is fame and being the boss)… these will always be results and can never be the purpose. You need to understand the purpose of your business (your cause or your belief)… the reason why your business exists?
Why? It is tough to build a business, really tough, and if you are not in it for the right reason; chances are good that you will give up or quit the moment things get tough – when cash is tight, when a competitor beats you or when an idea or concept does not work out…
Why does wauko exist:
- Our vision is to empower every person and organisation everywhere with the cash flow management tools to optimise their return on investment.
- Our mission is to create determinable, distinguishable, and sustainable value through building long-term relationships with our people, clients and service providers; state-of-the-art technology; dynamic expertise; and innovation.
- We believe:
- That integrity is the foundation of everything we do
- That trust is earned
- In focus and simplicity
- In the power of true and authentic collaboration
- That profit is a result, not the purpose of our business
I believe businesses who understand their purpose have the ability to inspire those around them or find others who inspire them.
With whom do you do business?
The goal is to do business with people that believe what you believe – whether these are your employees, your shareholders, directors, clients, or service providers.
Simon Sinek said it well:
“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they will work for your money; but if you hire people that believe what you believe they will work for you with blood, sweat and tears.”
At wauko we apply this principle in every relationship in our business – even prospective clients undergo a due diligence process to ensure that we want to do business with them… yes, this means that we sometimes walk away from prospective clients and yes, we have fired clients in the past where their belief system did not align with our belief system.
It is really interesting to see this principle in action… it is unbelievable how the right relationships, the right mindset, etc. helps you grow, while the opposite has the ability to hold you back and reduce your capabilities.
I believe that each decision, each hire, each agreement in a business should be guided by the beliefs of the business.
Add real value
Warren Buffett once said in an interview:
“The best advice to a small business owner, or for that matter a large business owner is never stop thinking about how to delight your customer, not to satisfy your customer, but to delight your customer. When you wake up in the morning, start thinking about it. During the day, think about it. At night think about it, and then dream about it.”
At wauko we call this experience of delight wau! True wau! can only be achieved by targeting a level of service that will greatly impress our clients. To achieve this level of service however requires more than 10,000 hours… it requires passion, it requires you to be freakishly awesome, it requires you to be more than just an expert.
I believe that true wau! can only be achieved by adding real value (determinable, distinguishable, and sustainable) and to create a client experience so extraordinary, that clients turn into raving fans
This is a big one… especially today (generally this is very important, but during uncertain times it becomes a major differentiator). The level of trust in a business relationship is a greater determinant of success than anything else.
You can have a great reputation, amazing skills and a network filled with connections, but without trust you have nothing. Trust is a double-edged sword:
- If you do not have trust in your product, your service, your solution; potential clients will pick up on this (except maybe if you are a psychopath or narcissist) – it is thus important to test your product, service, or solution carefully before you take it to market. This will boost your confidence and the confidence of your team, that will in turn enhance the level of trust that you can earn from a client.
- Then there is the level of trust potential clients attribute to you or more frequently to your business. A new, unproven business typically means that potential clients will be cognizant of the risks (like succession and that most start-ups fail), will question your ability to deliver or may even be downright certain that you are a crook (out to steal their money).
I believe that trust is earned through hard work, transparency and through real and consistent actions… not simply good intentions. It takes time to build a brand that embodies trust.