Laying The Foundation
Business is not something separate from our society. In a thriving trade-based environment, business and society are one. We buy our food from business, we live in homes built by business, we get dressed in clothes made by business, even government services are made available through funds generated by business. The process is not one way however. Business is shaped by society just as much as society is shaped by business. It’s an endless, upwardly spiraling cycle of one influencing the other, which ultimately serves to shape our environment. Most times this happens for the better, sometimes not, but always in the direction of growth. Leading the way are those visionary men and women we call entrepreneurs.
The work of the entrepreneur is truly the most exciting work there is. The process of giving life to an enterprise, of creating a useful, productive, and profitable contribution to society is tremendously satisfying. But an entrepreneur is not just someone who starts a business in the traditional sense, an entrepreneur is anyone who takes on the challenge of leaving the world a little better than they found it.
If you start a nonprofit organization for example, or if you are a musician or a teacher, you may not consider yourself an entrepreneur, and yet you may be fully participating in the entrepreneurial spirit.
This program is dedicated to the entrepreneurial spirit that lives in all of us. Its focus is on the development and growth of intermediate-sized businesses but the principles it contains are applicable to all entrepreneurial endeavours.
The Road to Success
Someone once said that the road to failure is paved with good intentions, but how often do people begin anything with bad intentions? Every entrepreneur starts his business with the best of intentions. Some succeed, some barely survive, and others fail. Why? What do the people who achieve massive success do differently from those who don’t?
The answer is so simple that we often overlook it in our search for a more complicated explanation. The fact is, good intentions alone are not enough. People who act on their good intentions succeed and the ones who don't fail. Obvious? Of course! Simple? Absolutely!
Easy? Not at all! Success is hard work. If it were easy everyone would achieve it. Nonetheless, people do succeed all the time. All sorts of people. Intelligent people, unintelligent people; creative people, uncreative people; all races, all religions; married, single, divorced; male, female; young, old; poor, wealthy; you name it. Certainly the road to success can be more challenging for some, but it's navigable by all.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
In every situation you have two choices; you can either act or you can react! Most people react. Successful people act. Successful achievements come to those who take action and follow through with their intentions. Brilliant ideas remain brilliant ideas until they are acted upon. Only then can they begin that glorious metamorphosis from idea to achievement. For example, if a book sits on a shelf, or remains in the realm of interesting conversation at the water cooler, then it will be utterly useless. It wouldn't matter how many good ideas it contains and how many people intend to make use of it. If no one actually does anything with it, nothing will happen.
This program is designed to take you from intention to action. That’s where the magic is. If you refuse to accept excuses from yourself, if you learn to harness the ultimate power of a single act of will, then you will learn what all successful people know to be true. That you can, and must, shape your own destiny.
Will there be tough days? For sure! Will you have bad luck? Absolutely! But if you refuse to give up and if you stay focused on your priorities, then you’ll accomplish things most people only dream about.
The power to act comes from the strength of a decision. When you make your own decisions, you implement your own plans. So practice making decisions. Don’t go with the flow unless it will take you where you want to go. When life asks you to make a decision, just make one. You’ll be in the top 20 percent even if you make the wrong decision. Heck, you’ll be there even if you do nothing at all, as long as you do it on purpose. The point is, you’ve got to run your own life. You’ve got to be alive; be conscious; be aware of what you are doing. Most people spend the majority of their time half asleep following, not knowing where they are going. It’s like paddling in a boat that’s being steered by someone else. The harder you work, the faster you go, but where? Are you headed someplace you want to go or are you simply helping someone else to get where they want to go?
I’m not saying that people shouldn’t help each other out. On the contrary. Great things are only accomplished when we support each other. We all need other people in order to realize our own dreams. Unconditional acts of kindness are both noble and necessary, but when you spend time, effort, or resources on someone else’s project, just make sure that you are doing it on purpose. It’s alright to paddle in someone else’s boat as long as it’s taking you where you want to go. It’s OK to help others with their dreams. But it’s important to work on yours as well. If your dream coincides with someone else’s, great. Do it together. But, do it on purpose.
Why all this personal development rhetoric? Because you are the undisputed leader of your business. Your actions and your attitudes will always be reflected by your business regardless of your staff, your customers, your suppliers, or your lenders. If you want your business to change, then you must change first. There’s just no getting around it.
Your business is the result of a set of ideas put into action, but ideas without action are powerless. The Wardell program will provide you with valuable business ideas, and will act as a launching pad for your own business ideas. It can teach you and it can inspire you, but it cannot make your decisions, and action them for you. Ultimately, that’s your job.
The mere fact that you own a business proves you’re already miles ahead of the crowd. But if something is stopping you from reaching your potential, if your profits are not as high as they should be, if you’re not spending enough time with your family because you can’t take time off, or if you don’t have the passion you once had for your business and you’re having trouble dragging yourself to work in the mornings, then I’m asking you to do what every top athlete must do when they hit a glass ceiling. Go back to the basics. Make sure that you and your business are in top shape. Then go at it again. I guarantee that if you go to the trouble of fixing your basics, your business will improve in ways you hadn’t even thought of.
No, it’s not the most glamorous answer and it’s probably even going to involve a bit of work on your part, but then you didn’t get to where you are in life by daydreaming. If you think about it, everything in your life that you are most proud of likely came through dedication and hard work.
If you own a business, then you’re no stranger to work. On the other hand, it’s easy to be busy for 60 hours a week and still not get anywhere. That’s because success is not simply a matter of working hard, it’s a matter of doing the right kind of work. Work that will leverage your efforts and allow you to do things that would otherwise be impossible.
Money is not a measure of the quantity of your work, it is a measure of the value of your work. In 2012, John Hammergren, CEO of McKesson a healthcare services company, earned $131 million. That’s around $65,000 an hour based on a regular work week. How does one man generate that kind of financial value? Certainly not by being a front line health care provider. John Hammergren has learned to dramatically increase his value by carefully investing his time. Maximum value yields a maximum return. Investing your time rather than spending it, will do more to increase the value of your work than anything else.