How not to have an average business? 5 questions to ask yourself this weekend…

March 23, 2012

People who start their own businesses are effectively radicals.

They have turned their back on normal employment and chosen a path of insecurity and insanity. Some of these new business owners would have had supportive family and friends and some would not have. In either case, they have chosen a path of non-conformity.

Which is why it always strikes me as odd that this radicalism seems to soften within the confines of running a business or in the general business community.

If you are wondering what I mean, ask yourself this question: ‘how many small business owners do you know who are genuinely doing something amazing in their business, something that nobody else is doing?’ We can often laud big business (Apple, Amazon, Facebook) for the innovation and radicalism but can we think of examples in our local business community that are doing something as amazing (but on a local stage)?.

I sometimes despair at the lack of radicalism I see, maybe in myself or in the suppliers I do business with but it seems to me that when people start a business, they look around at other businesses and just follow the crowd. There are rules of doing business and these rarely get broken. The trouble is, if you want an average business, just do what everybody else is doing and you’ll end up with average results.

So, over this weekend – ask yourself these 5 questions:

1. If Richard Branson took over your business, what would he do?

2. Have you thought about doing something wacky or different but stepped back from it?

3. When was the last time that a client or customer literally grabbed you and said that your product or service had changed their life?

4. What one thing could you do that would genuinely be unique in your industry?

5. When was the last time you stirred up some controversy OR when was the last time that people were openly hostile about your success as a business?

I’d be delighted to hear any comments on this, or on how as a firm of chartered accountants we could be genuinely different….

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