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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

5 Key Questions To Ask About Your Business

Today, more than ever, every minute in a business owner’s professional day must be focused. The workday, the goals, the appointments, and the priorities must be structured, focused and disciplined. When you plan each day, month and quarter combined with a commitment to execution excellence, you end up with a great year. It's always important to develop strategies and an approach, which gives you the best chance of keeping your business thriving and relevant through each year. It’s part of being responsible and in charge of your organization. Do you go on the offense and innovate new ways to approach the market or do you try to defend what you are already doing? As we head toward the last one-third of the year, these questions will hopefully get you thinking differently about your business and what opportunities you may have rapidly approaching.

1. Are you playing not to lose or are you playing to win? You are perfectly aligned for the results you are generating. If your results are flat to down, chances are that you are playing it way too safe. Your thought process may be scarcity-based and you may be thinking like our grandparents or great grandparents who always thought and acted too conservatively because the fear existed that the Great Depression was once again right around the corner. On the other hand, if you are experiencing growth, it's either because you are just floating on the wave of increased positive market conditions or because you are proactively trying to create a wave for yourself. Which do you think would be the best approach? What are the strategic and tactical moves you need to make in order to win big or simply to survive? Be wise, bold and strong! 2. Who are the 100 most important relationships to your business? You must always think relationships before revenue. Most people think about generating revenue to drive the business forward and to supply its needs. That is not wrong, it is right. At the same time, your first thought should be about whom you know and who knows you. In most direct marketplaces, there are about 250 people you should have in your power base contact list and around 100 of them will have a significant impact on you and your business. Some key questions: Who is a prospect for your business? Who can help connect you to your ideal customer? Who do you need to invite into your dream? Make sure these 100 important relationships are in some sort of database with a system that prompts you to contact these people regularly. 3. What are you doing to deepen and strengthen those relationships? According to influence expert Robert Cialdini, reciprocity is one of the most powerful dynamics of human behavior. There are several characteristics of this principle, which make it tremendously compelling when it is utilized to forge strong bonds in relationships. Reciprocity happens when you do something proactively for someone without them asking for it. Reciprocity is the feeling people get when someone does something for them; they feel compelled to return the favor. How can you extend something to your customers to create a deeper and stronger relationship with them in which they feel you truly care about them and value their patronage of your business. 4. How would you put yourself out of business? It's always been good strategy to attack yourself first. Especially in a world and marketplace where business models are constantly in flux and changing. Everything is being dramatically redesigned. What business environment conditions are evolving that affect your business model? Make sure you have systems set up to collect information on these vital areas so you can keep up with knowledge as it evolves. Put yourself in the shoes of your competitors and consider ways you would attack yourself. There is no better way to strengthen yourself than to figure out where you are weak and how to exploit it. If you are going to have to take a punch, punch yourself first. Then fix it before someone else invades your marketplace space. 5. If someone else were in charge of my business, what would they do? Sometimes, it’s an effective exercise to imagine someone else in charge of your enterprise. Quite often, this question exposes “sacred cows” or biases you have set up which deep down you know you should do something about or that you would be better off without. There are all kinds of reasons we do these things, but sometimes separating ourselves from these emotional attachments and sentimentalities by imagining someone else dealing with them helps us deal with these situations a whole lot better.

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