Is Business Just Common Sense?

08/15/2006 | 13 Comments

Is business success just common sense? A lot of people think so. They think if you’re smart and you work hard, you will be successful. But you know what? Most people are wrong because it’s not common sense to success in business.

How do I know?

First of all, most businesses fail, so it takes uncommon sense to win. The biggest contributor to the high business failure rates is that most people were never trained on how to really make a business run and grow. Most people were never taught what an entrepreneur really is. and who you have to be in your business. Because of that, there’s a major price that’s being paid.

The price is the overwhelming majority of businesses fail, and even those that very few that last and still survive most of them are just glorified jobs, with the owner working his / her butt off to make a salary. They’ve got no freedom. They’re probably working harder than they would ever work for somebody else., and have little to show for it.

It’s a fair statement to say that most small businesses, almost all small businesses, do not reach their potential. The big question is why? Why don’t most small businesses reach their potential?

And while the truth stings… the research backs it up, the main reason for the sad state of affairs for small business online and offline is the entrepreneur’s lack of skills and knowledge (Dunn and Bradstreet).

So what are you doing (besides reading this) to improve your entrepreneurial skills?

In my coaching programs Module #1 is completely focused on becoming a better entrepreneur, and many of my most successful clients have told me that right after that first session they already started thinking differently.

Here’s a few of the most recent comments about the first module from current clients:

—Tons of info. Very fast paced, with no fluff or filler. Very refreshing. My mind was totally engaged for the entire 2 hours.

—First time I’ve ever heard someone make sense of the skills and the process of growing a business, in two hours, where I felt like I really learned something cohesive.

—Excellent. Exciting. Informative…Rich seems to have the timing of the material very well orchestrated.

—I am impressed so far by the depth of the information given by Rich. For the first time ever – and I have been searching for that information a long time – am I finally learning what having and building “a business” really is about.

—An excellent overview on entepreneurship, business ownership, the various roles I need to play as my business grows. Instead of diving right into tactics, you start with the basics that MUST be understood before moving forward. Answering the WHY of what I’m doing must direct the HOW’s. But without being told that, it could easily be missed and I could be lead down a path of building a business that becomes something I didn’t want in the first place. Solid information for our first real call. Has me thinking a lot deeper about my business already.

—I feel like a just drank from a fire highdrant, it was a mindblowing amount of information. That being said, the information is absolutely life changing. I had these questions for years, and I had not found real answers until now.

—It was great and it was overwhelming and a little intimidating. Good – what an amount of information to learn, how many changes to make… Guess the best way is to follow your steps and do whatever you figured out to do first and then worry about the rest.

—In my opinion, very valuable information, and lot’s of it. The call was a great overview, and I plan on spending time going through the material, taking notes and answering the questions to have it really sink in before the next call. I could see my perspective changing even as the call was proceeding.

—We’ve worked hard at building our business and have some success, but we knew we needed a shift to get to the next level. Today I had the what, how and why laid out in front of me with the challenge to take responsibility and make it happen! What a great start!

—This call was great, TRULY FABULOUS, but I hope every call is not exactly like this. My head hurts.

—Thanks for sharpening the cutting edge of designing and building a highly profitable business!

—This call absolutely blew me away. The quality of the material was 1st class and the amount was nothing short of mind boggling. It was difficult to keep up at times and that, I believe, was the most powerful aspect of Rich’s unique and cutting edge style. I will be going over this stuff in my head 24 hours a day even if I’m not aware of it. This material is truly inspiring.

Keep your eyes out, I got some big announcements to make.

Deciding What To Do Each Day

04/04/2006 | 9 Comments

Gee, what do I want to do today?

If you ever started your day by asking yourself that same question then pay very close attention because the question above is the beginning of an ineffective day.

Strategic entrepreneurs don’t start out their day asking “what do I want to do?” They ask themselves “What are the most important, highest leverage activities that need to get done?” and create a list of the most important activities that answer the question.

After that, they estimate the amount of time each activity should take.

Next, they analyze the list of important activities that must get done and determine which activities they should do themselves and who they are going to get to do the remaining activities.

Then when they start work they tackle the most important, highest leverage task or activity first. They do not ask the question of themselves “which one of these task do I want to do now?”

Remember no entrepreneur is born effective you have to cultivate it and you do that by practicing the habits of effectiveness. You wouldn’t want an employee who worked on what they chose and you should respect your business at the very least as much as you want your team to.

Here’s a quote from the Harvard Business Review, June 2004 p59

“Jack Welch realized that what needed to be done at General Electric when he took over as chief executive was not the overseas expansion HE WANTED to launch. It was getting rid of businesses that, no matter how profitable, could not be number one or number two in their industries.”

Today be conscious of the choices you make when deciding what to work on.

Are you picking tasks based on what you want or are you picking your activities based on what your company needs from you?

If you pick the most important task to work on first you’ll be more effective, your company will be more profitable, and you’ll be able to work less so you can actually pick fun things to do outside of work instead of the poor substitutes you’ve been using to fill your work days.

So remember – it’s not what you want to do – it’s what your business needs done.

To Increased Effectiveness,

Rich Schefren

Analyze Your Time and Notice Patterns

03/27/2006 | 2 Comments

Being strategic and effective is all about getting the
right things done.

In order to become a strategic entrepreneur
you will need to build the habit of effectiveness. No one is
born effective – I repeat – it’s not an inborn trait, so…
if you never worked on developing the skill of effectiveness
you are not as effective as you could be or should be.

Therefore to build the habit of effectiveness you’ll need to
practice (consistent practice leads to powerful habits) the
five skill sets I laid out for you in the last post.

While the 5 skill sets above are all easy to understand,
they aren’t so easy to do well. In other words, you will
have to build and develop them (they don’t appear like
magic), just like you’ve learned how to do anything else
important in your life. You need to continually practice
over and over again until these five skill sets become
“The Way” you automatically go about doing your work.

Next week I’ll breaking down in detail how learning and
developing habits go hand in hand and the key distinctions
you must understand to be successful.

If you’ve been keeping up, today should be day 3 of your
time log. Is it getting easier? It should be by now, and
you should also start seeing how much time you’ve been
spending on tasks and activities other than your top

Scary, isn’t it?

Just keep up the good work, make sure that you spend as
little time (none would be best) multitasking as possible.

Stay focused on one task at a time. It’ll be easier to
record, and its the work process of highly effective

So just keep recording, keep focused and notice your
patterns, make today a super-productive day.

What Skills Are Important For Business Building?

03/27/2006 | Comment

There are lots of entrepreneurs who are quite knowledgeable;
however, effective entrepreneurs are much, much rarer.

it is the effective entrepreneur who succeeds in building
successful businesses.

As an entrepreneur, you and your company make no money for
simply knowing. You make money and build your business by
getting the right things done.

How to decide what are the right things and how to get
them done will be the primary focus of your upcoming

By highlighting both “what to do” and “how to do it” you’ll
learn (if you follow my lead and spend the few minutes each
day these emails require) what you do well, what you need to
improve on, what you are currently doing poorly and shouldn’t
be doing at all.

You’ll learn where you belong in your business, your niche and
your market.

Your first assignment:

(1) Take out a sheet of paper or open up a blank mindmap.

(2) Spend 3 minutes brainstorming what you believe are the
skill-sets an entrepreneur must have to be effective.

(3) Take 1 minute and rate your current level of performance
in these areas.

(4) Spend 30 seconds highlighting the areas you believe are
your biggest roadblocks to success.

(5) Take 2 minutes to answer this questions “What could you
do today (realistically) to be more effective?”

(6) Do the one thing you just decided would make you more
effective today.

That’s it for now, in the next post I’ll tell you what I believe are
the 5 skills every entrepreneur must develop to maximize their
effectiveness and truly be a Strategic Entrepreneur.

But for today, make sure to do one thing new or different that
you believe will make you more effective.