Think of all the businesses you know. Chances are, most are in crowded sectors. So what is it that makes the good ones stand out over the others? Execution. A lot of other factors come into play, but fundamentally, it all boils down to execution.
1. Get good at execution
Execution is critical. You can spend all the money and time you want on marketing, building your digital platform and drumming up interest through public relations, but it’s all a waste of money if you can’t deliver.
Ultimately, the key is not the million-dollar idea but the million-dollar execution. Personally, I’ll always take a mediocre idea that I know something about and can execute well over a great idea that I know nothing about and will execute poorly. The knowing how and the execution are the single most important aspects of success in any business.
If the machinery isn’t working properly, if you aren’t paying attention to execution, you might as well just close the door and go fishing.
2. Hire people who are excited to work for you
If execution is the single most important ingredient for success, you’d better make sure you have the staff to make it happen. Hire people who really want to work, and reward them.
Find people who can provide the skills you need. Only hire staff members who are eager and willing to work hard, then pay them well and earn their loyalty. As a leader, you need to hire managers who can execute your ideas and ensure they get the job done. Steve Wozniak knew about computers; Steve Jobs didn’t. Apple was only possible with both their skill sets.
3. Train them well and reward them
Train your employees and give them the tools for success. If you don’t know how, bring in someone who does. Good employees and managers are determined to succeed, so do everything you can to encourage that determination by creating a vertical ladder of opportunities.
If your team is excited and willing to work hard, they never watch the clock. This should be an opportunity for them. They need to be proud of their jobs, and to care about what the customers think. If the staff don’t want to work, if no one cares about service or quality, when people are only interested in their paycheck, the success of the enterprise flounders.
4. If it doesn’t work out, let them go
If employees don’t want to work or don’t care about service or quality, let them go. Remember, execution is the key ingredient for start-up success, so you must have staff with the focus and drive to help get it right.
If your employees aren’t getting the job done, fire them. It might sound brutal, but you can’t be trapped by personalities and loyalty. Give a new employee a fair and thorough try, of course, and start by being specific about what they need to do. If they struggle to do their job well because they simply don’t know what they’re doing wrong, bring in someone to help them. If that fails, there is only the door. You’d be surprised how many entrepreneurs get tied to ineffective staff because they like them or feel bad about firing someone. You’re in business to create, build, and add value. Don’t waste your time. Only keep staff members who are determined to work hard and care about success.
I’m a seasoned start-up entrepreneur and property financier who built built businesses worth over $200 million. Since 1992, I helped start a bank credit department, founded a mortgage company, and built the largest single-branded real estate company across five countries in Central Europe. I also developed a portfolio of shopping centers and hypermarkets in Eastern Europe, constructing over two million square feet of retail space.
Today I am involved in the entrepreneur community, trying to share what I’ve learned and I serve as a mentor for startups.
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