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Taking your business from good to great

  • Wednesday, February 08, 2017
  • Anthony Berkman

When it comes to taking a business from good to great, American business consultant Jim Collins says this: “Some companies make the leap and others don’t”.

As a business owner myself I am always interested in the teachings and strategies of renowned entrepreneurs and business owners. Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t” resonates strongly with my beliefs about leadership and running a successful business.

Here I have outlined Jim’s Top 10 Rules for Success and what they mean for me, in terms of practical business advice for small businesses.

Jim Collins’ Top 10 rules for success . . .  and how you can apply them to your business

“Great vision without great people is irrelevant”

1. Always be interested:  For me, being interested in business is about looking for customer insights and improving your service offering. Discovering the most creative and innovative solutions usually comes from taking the time to get to know clients and really understand what makes them tick. However, don’t forget that customer insights can come from anywhere, so it’s important to listen to your employees and suppliers too.

2. First who, then what: While it may not always be possible to assemble your dream team before you begin your business, consider outsourcing the skills you will most need to make your business a success.

3. Have strong values:  I also believe that a clear purpose should be the fundamental reason that a business exists. A clear purpose not only connects your staff and their work to your business, but it helps to create a standard of excellence which remains steady in a competitive environment which is constantly changing. 

4. Persevere:  Many new businesses are sprung from a great idea and driven with passion and enthusiasm. Sometimes, the going does get tough but don’t give up. The key is to play to your strengths. While you don’t personally need to possess the business management skills to get you through the tricky times, you need to engage someone who does.

5. Be disciplined:  While you may have started your business with a clear business strategy and the best of intentions, as the years roll on by and the business environment changes, it’s imperative that you review your goals and modify or change strategies to ensure your business remains relevant for your customers.

6. Take time to think:  I also believe it’s important for all business owners to remove themselves from the nitty gritty and take time out to think. It’s good to get into the habit of identifying indicators which may be the precursors of change and often it’s only when you are removed from a problem that you can start to see it clearly. Never be afraid to seek professional advice – most often there are mitigation strategies which can be implemented if you act early.

7. Always deliver: Always delivering for your customers should be a central value of your business. If you are starting a business, it’s imperative you have considered all the factors that will enable you to deliver for your customers, from adequate cashflow, appropriate systems, stakeholder and supplier arrangements to available working capital and stock. Your business reputation depends on your ongoing ability to deliver for your customers.

8. Get the right people: In the words of Jim Collins, “great vision without great people is irrelevant”.  Always focus on employing the right people within your organisation as each and every employee plays their part helping your business achieve its goals.

9. Make the right bets:  While there is always a certain element of risk in business, you need to be well informed to make the most appropriate decisions. Having timely and accurate data and the knowledge to understand your financials can help you make the most appropriate decisions in your business.

10. Find your true calling: When you truly love what you do, I believe you will have success. When you truly love what you do, your client and your employees will feel it too.  

At Berkmans we specialise in assisting small to medium size businesses reach their potential   through integrated business advice and taxation services. As a business owner myself, with over 40 years’ business and accounting experience, I am well placed to help you.

If you would like advice on how to take your business from good to great, please contact me on 02 4351 2622 or email  

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