I used to think that success as an entrepreneur took an idea, seed money and of course, a “wing and a prayer”.
Until I came across a quote that read, “there is no finish line; there are only mile markers”. I can honestly say that leading and managing a business (your own or someone else’s), is an evolving process, and not one that has a specific manual to help young leaders pave the way to success.
In 1995, I launched MBM Investments Corp. out of Toronto to join the design aspect of construction with the understanding of commercial and residential trends throughout the industry.
When starting your own (or managing someone’s) business, it’s crucial to know your market and where you fit within the scope of your industry. That number one person? Be better than them. Find what they are doing and find a way to do it better. A way to do it cheaper. And a way to do it first. Staying “hungry,” as they say, will move – and keep you – at number one.
Something I still work on is understanding the labor market. For example, in the construction industry, unionized environments are not only something that need to be understood, but they also need to be effectively managed. Labor markets are something that aren’t taught, but learned, and they are so incredibly important – labor costs and markets being mismanaged often lead to companies spiraling out of control.
Speaking of control, cost management is vital to a thriving business. Always gather three quotes for any work that needs to be done. It keeps everyone honest and keeps you in check and responsible for what you’re doing. If young entrepreneurs can’t control costs, they can’t control other aspects of their business.
Another obstacle for any manager to overcome is micromanagement. It’s something every good leader is guilty of at some point in time, but a line that can be easily crossed when sharing your vision and goals for the business. Communication is key in effective management, and a trait that transpires through the test of time when referring to successful leadership. Provide your employees the training, resources and education they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability.
Finally, find a way to incorporate your passion and interests into your business. Whether its problem solving or communicating (or both) keeping everyone on the same page eliminates friction and keeps things transparent. Which, in turn, increases productivity. Love what you do, become good and it – and you’ll never “work” a day in your life.