This month, we sat down with successful entrepreneur, Richard Bell. He is currently CEO of Little Zak’s Academy with over 300 staff, and the Founder of Business Leaderz Group and received Sydney’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Finance category in 2020. Each year he mentors 20 businesses on a monthly basis - we asked him about what makes the difference to surviving versus thriving in the current market conditions...
Rich, what are your thoughts on what small business owners are going through right now?
Covid has been challenging for a lot of us. It’s probably challenged your ideas about life, ideas about business, your goals, your values, how you think about things, but don’t let it change your course. It’s so easy to get thrown off by something external whether it's a global pandemic, economic downturn, massive change in trade rules or government policy… it’s important that you as the business owner stay true to your course and your vision of when you started this thing in the first place - whatever it is.
Yes, these are uncertain times for a lot of business owners, if someone isn’t sure how to get back on track what are the two or three things you would recommend?
Great question - Uncertainty definitely creates a feeling of being lost, so whenever I’ve felt like that in the past, my go-to is to do whatever it takes to gain clarity on the path ahead of me, otherwise you will simply be wandering aimlessly.
1. “Business success does not happen by accident, it is planned and executed”
Get your bearings right and identify what true north is for you and your company. Think about every aspect and almost do a full day strategy and planning session where you look at; do you have the right people on your team, are you positioned properly within the market, are you actually solving a problem currently, does the current trajectory of the business point towards where you actually want to be? What do you need to start doing, stop doing, do more of, do less of?
2. “A successful business is the outcome of 1000 small things done well. Not one big seismic win or failure. It’s every decision, detail, process, plan and strategy that counts.”
Once you identify what direction the business needs to be heading in, it’s then time to map it all out, put a 12-month operational plan together, make sure you have the right people on the bus, you have clearly set the rules for the game (your company values) and everyone is pulling in the same direction. Map out every key project with the actions and who is responsible for completing those and get to work.
3. “Your business growth is directly proportionate to your level of thinking as a leader.”
Nobody in this world is perfect, we all have our strengths and our blind spots. But to be a leader, you need people who believe in your vision, your passion and your skillset to lead them to where they want to go. And for some people, this means upskilling in order to get that certainty. I would be lying if I said I managed to accomplish everything I have by myself, I’ve had multiple mentors and coaches that have influenced me. I’ve learnt that business growth is directly correlated with your ability to surround yourself with the right people.
What is the message you’d like to leave small business owners with?
I know of hundreds of businesses that have had to pivot, close, change their entire business plan completely during the last one to two years, me included, but what hasn’t changed is the commitment to the course.
As we start to come out of COVID, I want to leave a message to all the business owners that your vision still matters and that you still have that fire inside of you. If you have a business think about what you can do over the next 6-12 months to turn things around, to move the needle; rewrite your business plans, hire new people, raise more funds, expand, grow… don’t let the last two years throw you off what may be for some of you a 10-20 year plan.
Stay the course, you’ve got enough passion, you’ve got enough grit, you started this thing make sure you finish it.
Rich run’s Leaderz Club for businesses that are looking to have their best year in business yet. If you would like more information about Rich’s Leaderz Club, you can see more information here .