In an effort to start getting my new office set up, I was cleaning out some papers and found an article I had saved from 2006. I know. What the heck was I doing with a 10-year old piece of paper ripped out of a magazine?
The title of the article was “Only the Bulldogs Survive” and it was written by Jeffrey Pfeffer. Under the headline he writes, “It’s perhaps the most crucial ingredient of corporate leadership, and you can’t learn it in business school: The stubborn determination to get stuff done.”
I actually have two English Bulldogs. They aren’t very good at listening, snort a lot, and burn more calories chewing a bone than most of us do in a cardio class (they really get into bone chewing).
I’ve been thinking more about Pfeffer’s message because when you’re a business owner, you have to be the bulldog and stick up for yourself and your business. No one else will look out for you.
In a previous post, I discussed how I almost lost my business because I made a hiring mistake. This year, I also had to fire my accountant because he made some pretty significant mistakes both preparing my taxes and completing my monthly book keeping. Luckily those mistakes were in my favor and I didn’t owe the IRS or the State of North Carolina any additional tax money, however, it’s taken me several months to clean up the mess and amend my returns.
I bring this up, because if you have hired someone to work for you, don’t be shy about asking questions. If you’re writing them a check, you deserve a detailed explanation for the work they are completing.
I know enough about accounting to be dangerous but not enough to be lethal. I knew something wasn’t quite right with the work I was seeing from my old accountant. It seemed like he wasn’t reviewing the work done by his associates. Every time I asked a question, it was answered in a way that just didn’t seem to add up (no pun intended). And I ended up over-paying my taxes.
Now, I have a new accountant. If I ask him a question, he answers in plain English, which I appreciate. I’ve also been working with a new book keeper each month and together we review all transactions.
And most important, I have set up my books so they help me make decisions about my business. Each month I can see at a glance whether my net income is being driven by an increase or decrease in revenue or if it’s my expenses that have increased or decreased beyond where they usually are.
Is being bulldog-stubborn and a having a no-quit attitude the key to business success? You’re damn right it is! Without the conviction to follow your business plan despite all of the obstacles you can and will encounter as a business owner, you’re not going to get very far. But I do try to keep the drooling to a minimum—the studios are carpeted.
In my next post, I’ll discuss how much of a risk it is to be successful and why it takes courage to succeed in business. Heavy.
Until then, stay on your toes!