Les McKeown Predictable SuccessWe’re all looking for the magic bullet of business success. If I do X, then my business will hit the big time. Or if I do Y, my business will never have a worry again. It was my pleasure to invite my friend, Les to be our guest host on #kaizenblog when we took on the idea that there is one must-have for business success. Les McKeown is the President & CEO of Predictable Success, the leading advisor on accelerated business growth. He has has started over 40 companies in his own right, and was the founding partner of an incubation consulting company that advised on the creation and growth of hundreds more organizations worldwide.He is also is the author of the WSJ and USA Today Best-seller, “Predictable Success: Getting Your Organization On the Growth Track – and Keeping It There”

So we jumped into this conversation with a framing post by Les, “The First Lego Piece” . The actual conversation started with How do you describe a great business? Les described “a great business is one that it truly sustainable – by which I  mean specifically it has 3 things: 1. consistently profitable; 2. mostly fun to work in, and…most importantly, 3. Not dependent soley on the founder/owners for its existence.”

  • Parissa Behnia: “a1 beyond profitable, ‘m not sure it can be described..but sometimes it can be felt…profitable but awful environment is not sustainable long term. there are human needs that are abstract”
  • Amber Cleveland: “A1 Great biz knows their Mission, Values,  -everything they do is in line w/ -they live their brand.”
  • Richard Winter : “A1 A great business to me is where vision leads to efficient execution resulting in profits”
  • Caroline Di Diego: “Profitable +++ with great group of people ~ the people make you profitable”

Since sustainability seemed to resonate with many of the chat participants, we wondered, What are the fundamentals of growing a sustainable business? Les identified, “focus, discipline, consistency, and perseverance. The underlying product or service & even the funding don’t  matter in the end.”

  • Richard Winter “A2 Scalable infrastructure, desirable product or service and a commitment to customer service”
  • Rayna Fagen: “might be 3 perspectives to this–what company mgmt views, what the customer views, & the employees”
  • Stephen Denny: A2 I think fundamental element of sustainable biz is “grow slow” – counterintuitive, but seems to be predictor”
  • Judy Gombita: “A2. Knowing the market before the (potential) customers/clients know it! (Boom, Bust, and Echo)”
  • Frederique Murphy: “A2 Passion, Loving your niche and knowing your why; your why is powerful driver, the fuel for a sustainable journey”
  • Linda Naiman : “A2 A great biz is also well designed: products, services, processes, biz mode, policies”
  • Cathy Larkin: “Q2 sustainable biz pillars? Great product,  a biz that knows its market/customers & adapts when needed”

During this question, there was an active conversation about passion and if it can be hindrance or help. Well worth checking out the transcript (Transcript for #kaizenblog – Whats1MustHaveForSuccessfulBiz) around the 5:30 mark to see the details.

Given the back and forth about passion and financials, What is the most essential building block of a great business? Les explained, “For me, it is incredibly mundane, It’s what I call…your ‘personal processing ecosystem’. In other words, the ability to handle 3 things: 1. Time management 2. Priority management and 3. Crisis management. Without those, you can’t grow a sustainable business, because you’ll be constantly derailed by the mundane.”

  • Stephen Denny: “Greatest building block is having the right people. The 20x developers, the core team”
  • Parissa Behnia “Q3 knowing you don’t know something and need help, seek answers”
  • Amber Cleveland: “A3 Most essential building block – MVV (Mission, Vision, Values) build your foundation from this”
  • Cathy Larkin: “A3 I think one over looked piece of yr 3 points is Attitude. not polyanna but positive I can SOLVE this…”
  • Richard Winter: “A3 A truly scalable infrastructure that doesn’t require significant hires in non-customer facing disciplines”
  • Elaine Rogers: “A3 trust in self as a builder of business is so important before all else (I believe)”

It was great seeing everyone really engage with the ideas being shared and exploring Les’ advice on developing a successful business. We moved a little deeper into the conversation by asking, How does the fundamental building block become the foundation of a sustainable business? Les described, “Time, priority and crisis mgt produce the right environment for growing your sustainable business. In business, challenges should be challengs. Without a personal processing ecosystem, *everything* is a challenge.” This response seem to resonate with everyone in the chat. The focus on implementation (or execution) really brought home how the ingredients of vision, passion, planning and the other business tools combine to create a sustainable business.

How would you answer the discussion questions?

What do you have in place that will lead to a sustainable business?