Tools For Success: Shine Your Flashlight for Results

The first article in this series listed more than 25 tactics to increase your business success, all of them based on my experience. I started with nothing and didn’t get to college, so I know you can achieve maximum success, regardless of your education. E-mail me to get the first article (or any of the other articles) in the series. Each of the articles takes a closer look at one of the tactics listed in that first article.

Things that get checked get done. Things we focus on get improved, fixed or understood. I know it seems overwhelming, all the things that need attention, but I learned early on to use my flashlight and focus, at least monthly. In my case, my main focus is financial results, so I spent more time on the financial statements than many others might. Ford forced us to close the financials by the fifth. We said it was impossible, but guess what, it’s simply not. Long before Ford, I required the metric reports on my desk by the 5th and the financial statements by the 10th.

If you delay using your flashlight until the twentieth or so, you won’t see any improvements until the next month. I am all about a sense of urgency. I want to be working on something by the tenth, so I can see at least two weeks of results in the month following the results I am studying. By doing this, I will get results in one year that it takes others two years to get. Multiply that by a decade and you wonder why your competitor who is on his game is so far ahead of you? Ten years ahead of you!

By the time you figure out that he put his salespersons on commission, he’s already been doing it a few years, has stolen a few of your best salespersons, and has increased his sales 50% or more, while you were playing golf. It’s not rocket science, and he doesn’t have any secrets. He just executes with his flashlight, fully engaged. Read my article about sense of urgency to learn more.

By the sixth or seventh, I had a metrics report.  I started asking questions about the numbers. Why did we process fewer cars per day than in prior months? And it’s the third monthly decline. I leapt up, grabbed my flashlight and was off to dismantling. Sure enough, I found several problems, and fixed them all. A forklift had been broken, waiting for a part for over six weeks. I called and had a rental unit delivered, and scolded the supervisor for not bringing this to our attention long ago. We had a new dismantler, and he was still moving way too slow. I scolded the supervisor for not getting him more training, and then holding him accountable for being as productive as his peers.

By the twelfth or so, I had financials on my desk. I got out my flashlight, and studied it. I leapt up, and was off to solve problems, labor costs were up for the second month, and utility expense had jumped unexpectedly. Within a few days, I had sourced, identified, analyzed, discussed, and solved problems.

Using your flashlight every month will yield positive results, over and over. You can’t do everything or you become frustrated. Focus and prioritize, make it exciting, like a game almost, a game that you want to win every month.

Remember only you can make business great!

Ron Sturgeon, Mr. Mission Possible, has been a successful business owner for more than 35 years. As a small business consultant, he can deliver wisdom and advice gleaned from an enviable business career that started when he opened a VW repair business as a homeless 17-year-old and culminated in the sale of several businesses he built to Fortune 500 companies.

Ron has helped bankers, lawyers, insurance agents, restaurant owners, and body shop owners, as well as countless salvage yard owners to become more successful business people. He is an expert in helping small business owners set the right business strategies, implement pay-for- performance, and find new customers on the web.

As a consultant, Ron shares his expertise in strategic planning, capitalization, compensation, growing market share, and more in his signature plainspoken style, providing field-proven, and high-profit best practices well ahead of the business news curve. Ron is the author of nine books, including How to Salvage More Millions from Your Small Business.

To inquire about consulting or keynote speaking, contact Ron at 817-834-3625, ext. 232, rons@MrMissionPossible.com5940 Eden, Haltom City, TX 76117.