As a business owner, take a moment to review the following questions. They’re designed to challenge the way you view your organization. At the end of this list, we provided responses to each question to give you additional food for thought.
- As a business owner, what are your top three priorities?
- Are you allocating your resources properly?
- Is everyone on the same page?
- What are your main performance indicators?
- How much business is concentrated among your top customers?
- Is your business scalable?
- As a business owner, do you know when to walk away from a sale?
- Is your view of the marketplace grounded in reality?
- How much time do you spend on things that don’t add customer value?
- Do you always discipline unethical behavior?
- Do you fight complacency or let your guard down?
- Do you aggressively reduce bureaucracy and red tape?
- Are your employees obedient or committed?
- Are your performance rewards consistent with your goals?
- Why are talented employees leaving?
- Is word of mouth working to your advantage?
- Do you lose to competitors or beat yourself?
- Do you set high expectations or tolerate mediocrity?
- Does your conduct promote or damage trust?
- Do you spend more time lighting fires or putting them out?
- Do you pay people based on performance or for just showing up?
- Do you learn from your mistakes?
- Do you take things for granted?
- What can derail your plans?
- Are your customers likely to refer you to others?
- Would you do business with yourself if you were a customer?
- Do you walk your talk?
- What changes can you make that will change everything?
- Are you too close to the business to see the obvious?
- What’s really holding you back?
How Do Our Answers Compare with Yours?
30 Questions Every Business Owner Should Answer
- As a business owner, what are your top three priorities? Stay focused. Trying to be all things to all people is a guaranteed recipe for mediocrity.
- Are you allocating your resources properly? If you spread your resources too thin, you’re failing to dedicate the attention that your priorities deserve.
- Is everyone on the same page? If you ask 10 employees to state your organization’s top three priorities, would you receive 10 different answers? When everyone shares common goals, people work together rather than at cross-purposes.
- What are your main performance indicators? Know your key vital signs and then track your progress. There’s great truth to the saying, “What gets measured gets done.”
- How much business is concentrated among your top customers? Are you overly dependent on a few customers? If you place all your eggs in one basket, any fall will be a messy one.
- Is your business scalable? Make sure your infrastructure supports your growing business needs.
- As a business owner, do you know when to walk away from a sale? Don’t accept business outside your expertise or you may jeopardize customer relationships as well as your reputation.
- Is your view of the marketplace grounded in reality? How much is your decision-making input filtered by others? When you hear things second hand, you’re one step removed from reality.
- How much time do you spend on things that don’t add customer value? If employees spend excessive time in internal meetings or filling out unnecessary paperwork, it’s time for a change.
- Do you always discipline unethical behavior? Would management protect a star performer if they committed a dishonest act? Compromising your principles, even one time, is a terrible mistake.
- Do you fight complacency or let your guard down? Achieving success is hard; staying successful is even harder. It takes so much to become successful, why be the cause of your demise? Complacency is the enemy of success.
- Do you aggressively reduce bureaucracy and red tape? If policies are outdated or overly cumbersome, change or eliminate them.
- Are your employees obedient or committed? People should take pride in and have a sense of ownership of what they do. If you want obedience, get a dog.
- Are your performance rewards consistent with your goals? If rewards aren’t consistent with your goals, you may be asking employees to do one thing and rewarding them for doing exactly the opposite.
- Why are talented employees leaving? If you don’t know why you’re experiencing employee turnover, it’s going to happen again.
- Is word of mouth working to your advantage? Word of mouth is a powerful tool. It can work for you or against you.
- Do you lose to competitors or beat yourself? It’s hard enough to be competitive without losing out to your own laziness or careless errors. Discipline matters.
- Do you set high expectations or tolerate mediocrity? People will rise to match your expectations of them. When you tolerate mediocrity, you get more of it.
- Does your conduct promote or damage trust? Monitor your behavior vigilantly. Trust is like blood pressure. It’s silent, vital to good health, and if abused, it can be deadly.
- Do you spend more time lighting fires or putting them out? Make time to think rather than spending the whole day doing. That will enable you to pursue new opportunities rather than merely reacting to circumstances.
- Do you pay people based on performance or for just showing up? People stop trying when there’s no benefit for being exceptional and no consequence for being mediocre. If you want excellence, treat exceptional people in an exceptional way.
- Do you learn from your mistakes? Practice makes perfect; this also applies to mistakes. Do you make the same ones over and over again?
- Do you take things for granted? Appreciate what you have, while you have it, or you’ll learn what it meant to you after you lose it.
- What can derail your plans? Don’t wait for a fire to find the exits. The truth is, problems are best addressed before they arise.
- Are your customers likely to refer you to others? Do you work hard to attract new customers but do little to keep them? It’s easier and less expensive to keep an existing customer than to attract a new one.
- Would you do business with yourself if you were a customer? If the answer is “no,” that’s a very telling sign. Fix it.
- Do you walk your talk? You send a message with what you say AND what you do. If your words aren’t supported with consistent actions, you’re not only confusing the listener, you may also be causing irreparable damage to your own credibility.
- What changes can you make that will change everything? Take some time off from the day-to-day grind to think out of the box. (While you’re at it, make sure to think BIG.) It’s better to be called out swinging than called out on strikes.
- Are you too close to the business to see the obvious? Many companies go to great lengths to cut costs. Yet they don’t make the time to determine how much intangible factors, such as apathy, are costing their organization.
- What’s really holding you back? Margaret Thatcher said it so well, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
As a Business Owner, What Do You Think?
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