What efficient, effective businesses know.

Ilona Way  By Ilona Way

My business experience emerges from a diverse background. My early career taught me that any business can be successful when it is operated from a strong value system. In order to run a successful business, you start with and consistently demonstrate sound people values: you need to know the value of nurturing people. Too many industries are all about profit and don’t see their greatest resource of all – their people.

When I first volunteered with SBMS as a mentor, I wanted to see how I could use my experience from a wide range of industries to help business people take the next step, to apply big business thinking to start up and small businesses. I was impressed with the diversity of people I met and the ideas and concepts they presented during our mentoring sessions. During the mentoring process, I coach business owners to take their own ethics and values into consideration when making decisions. This has become increasingly important in business and becomes their point of difference. When you stay true to your values, people want to work with you.

Mentoring includes showing people how to set up their business using practical tools like a solid business plan and effective marketing strategies and clear monitoring mechanisms. Start by imagining what being successful would be like. What does it feel like? What does it look like? And write it down in present tense, as though it is happening RIGHT NOW. Return to your vision on a regular basis so that it remains firmly planted in your mind. That way you can see if you start to go off course. You can recognise when the results are being achieved and you will not sabotage the process.

Hold on to your vision with tenacity. Don’t let other people’s opinions get in the way. A recent example was a young woman who came to me with a concept for a business. She had been to another coach who told her to forget her idea and “go get a real job.” Undeterred, she stayed focussed on the vision she had created. I recommended that she undertake thorough research to understand her market’s needs and keep working on her goals so she could understand more clearly what she wanted to happen. Each time we met, we kept tweaking the plan.

This young woman went on to win the Telstra Business of the Year Award and continues to create amazing outcomes. By staying true to her values and refusing to let other people get in the way of her goals, she realised success. She looked for people who could support, guide and challenge her thinking. In effect, it was like having her own board of management where she had the freedom to analyse and bounce ideas.

This is what effective, efficient businesses know:
1. They create a vision based on their values; don’t take on board negative views; they do their research, and do what is required and continue to make the calls
2. They look for a strong sounding board; they know that they may not see what’s obvious and a fresh pair of eyes can help; they ask for help and constantly fine tune the vision

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