You may recall, I decluttered my office of many books over Christmas. Two books I am definitely keeping are The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber and Steven R Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People which I will be focusing on next month.
- The entrepreneurial myth: the myth that most people who start small business are entrepreneurs
- The fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does technical work
The majority of people when they set up a business have a particular skill or knowledge and want to focus on that expertise and enjoy themselves creating products or services in which they excel. Setting up, or running a business, means so much more than this and too often owners of businesses focus on their areas of expertise and don’t look at their overall business. The whole theme of The E-Myth Revisited is working ON the business rather than working IN the business.
Over the last 16 years, I have been hammering away that each business should have a basic business plan. From my reckoning, only 10/15% of SMEs have a business plan. Even if they do, very few use it as a working document focusing on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), the measurable objectives, which really matter to the business. I have evidenced a shift in the last few months that small business owners realise they are missing something and need to talk to somebody confidentiality regarding things that really matter.
So, what is an Accountability meeting? They can apply to individuals as much as companies, but I am going to focus on SMEs (Small, medium enterprises) today.
This starts with my business questionnaire which basically looks at why the business owner set up the meeting in the first place and how the business and owner are doing at this stage. Then we look at a life balance wheel (which shows how life is treating you generally) and a work balance wheel (which shows how well different categories of the business are doing). Whether the owner builds a brief business plan from this or not there is a basis of what the business owner should focus on.
So, accountability meetings are purely meetings every month, quarter, or even annually to assess where the business is up to and what happens next. So often the business owner worries about things they haven’t done, some of them being vital and others being non-consequential to the business. It is important that business owners enjoy their work otherwise why are they doing it in the first place? Generally, if people enjoy their work, they will do a very good job of it. However, we can’t be good at everything.
If the business is going well, then individuals with different skills can be brought on board. If this isn’t feasible, then many things like website design and maintenance, social media and accounts can be outsourced. So many business owners are good at providing their products or services but might not be good at the sales and marketing process including following up on quotations and keeping in touch with prospects on a regular basis.
The accountability meeting means the business owner has the opportunity to: –
- Stop and reflect
- Get things out of their head and have a confidential conversation
- Stop subconsciously worrying about the things they haven’t been able to do
- Pat themselves on the back for all the positive things they have done
- Share the company’s progress, or difficulties, with a trusted source
- Establish the key priorities for the next period of time
This is my simple version of working ON the business. If you want to read about it, buy the book which, although American and possibly a bit dated, is still so applicable today. If you are somebody that needs a trusted source or are connected to somebody who over worries about their business and could do with some support, please ask them to contact email@example.com