Dave Lavinsky is a serial entrepreneur who built his own company from the ground up. His book, Start at the End, was a #1 Bestseller on Amazon just one week after it was released. The goal of the book is to learn how to work fewer hours and be efficient when working at a new job or starting a business.
For innovation practitioners, here are his top 12 tips:
1. Start at the end – if you don’t know where you want your business to go, you’ll never get there.
2. SWOT analyses are obsolete; realize there will always be threats and company weaknesses that don’t warrant fixing. Rather, focus on opportunities that leverage your strengths (SO analysis), and build your strengths further so they give you sustainable long-term advantage
3. Forget your P&L; that’s short-term thinking; need to also think longer-term; building business assets that allow you grow your business and reap better P&L later and forever.
4. If your business doesn’t have a scorecard, you will lose EVERY time. Your scorecard needs to include the detailed KPIs that underly your revenue and profit results.
5. If your business doesn’t operate without you, it’s not a business; it’s a miserable job. You must systematize your business so it works for you, not vice-versa.
6. The most important marketing metric in a business is PPI – profit per impression. To maximize it, you need a fully optimized marketing system.
7. Business owners don’t need more leads (even though all of them think this will solve all their problems). Rather, they need a better marketing system that converts leads into lifelong customers.
8. Most business owners don’t have even one organization or “org” chart when in fact you need to have 3 to succeed.
9. Successful business owners don’t run businesses. They have employees that run their businesses; they grow them. To be successful, you need to build an org chart that includes the necessary personnel and structures to allow your business
to run without you.
10. Because of poor management, most small business owners’ employees focus on the wrong things. Ask your employees how they think their performance should be judged, and make sure that agrees with your thinking. If employees don’t understand what success is, they can’t possibly achieve it.
11. Business owners should stop innovating. Rather, do more of the things that are proven to work and less of the things that haven’t worked. Avoid shiny object syndrome of constantly wanting to try the latest thing.
12. Humble yourself by building an advisory board. You’ll be amazed by what other successful people know that you don’t.