Chris Daems explains the six business principles which guide him as a business owner

    Lets start with a question…

    What are your principles?

    What are your fundamental truths which you use to help you make decisions?

    and

    Do you have certain principles which guide your decisions in business as well as personally?

    I’ve got a few principles which help guide me make decisions in a number of areas of my life. As a man, as a dad, and as a business owner.

    For the purposes of this article let me tell you the six principles which guide me as a business owner…

    One - if there's someone in my team who is better at a specific task it should be on their desk and not mine

    The reality is that most of us whilst capable of many different tasks are better to focus on what we’re truly the best at and build a team around you who are strong where you aren’t.

    I’ve found that I’m at the most value within our business if I focus on a surprisingly small number of things and ensure that we encourage, train and develop the members of our team to perform the tasks where they are far better than you.

    There are a number of things that get in the away of this delegation process. Sometimes it’s the assumption that this job is better done by you. Sometimes it’s the fear of the job not being done correctly if it’s passed to someone else within your team. Sometimes it’s just that you haven’t got the resources within your business to delegate tasks and sometimes ego just gets in the way.

    However I’m now a little better at delegating what I’m rubbish at and focusing on what I’m good at and this has had a positive impact on both how our business works and bottom line profitability.

    Part of my role as a business owner is to empower and encourage the people we work with as well as invest in our staff.

    However I also believe we should never forget…

    Two - We only have a business because our clients either want or need our service

    This one sounds too simple.

    ‘Of course we only have a business because of our clients Chris!’ you might be shouting at your screen…

    However businesses large, small and everywhere in between have failed due to not having a focus on one thing…

    Having services that our clients feel benefit them and therefore they want to buy.

    Whilst you don’t hear much about many of the small and medium sized businesses who fail the graveyard of failed businesses is littered with a bunch of larger businesses who although once successful found that they provided products or services their clients didn’t want or need anymore.

    For us this means we need to continue to do a decent job of explaining how our services can help support both our corporate and personal clients but also listen to our clients about what they like about our service and how we add value.

    However there are some once prominent businesses who once had massively successful business who have now faded into obscurity. Which brings me onto my next point…

    Three - The only constant is change

    Whilst our services are in decent demand today one thing we want to actively avoid is being complacent about the fact this could change.

    In a number of different industries and sectors, and especially in recent years when technology has had a fundamental impact not on all of our businesses but on all of our lives.

    Therefore we’re always looking at what we need to improve as a business and how we can continue to innovate to ensure we at the very least remain relevant and at best make the most of future opportunity.

    Many of the challenges (and opportunities) which inform our decisions may not happen immediately. Which brings me onto my next point…

    Four - We're playing the "Long Game"

    Every decision we make is based on the fact that we’re trying to build a business over the longer term.

    We’re a relatively young financial planning business and I’ve still got at least a couple of decades of my professional life to go (and that’s if I hang up my boots really early which knowing me…I won’t!)

    Therefore every decision we make, from recruitment to investment in systems all the way through to selecting the sort of clients we want to work with are informed by the fact that we’re in this for the long haul.

    However whilst we have a pretty long time to build something we can be truly proud of it’s also important for us not to waste time on irrelevance. Which is why one of the other principles which guide us is…

    Five - Are we doing stuff which 'makes the boat go faster'

    One of the key principles we adhere to as a business is consistently trying to focus on stuff which makes our business better. When I look back at my career I reckon there’s been plenty of times where I’ve been ‘fake busy’ instead of ‘productive’ and now the focus every single day is ensuring my team and I are doing stuff which will make us a more efficient and more successful business both short term and long term.

    This means constantly looking at improvement across the business. This includes how we market our services in a more effective way, how we select and recruit the right people to join our business and how we continuously (often using technology) improve our systems and processes.

    Sometimes it’s tough using our time as efficiently as possible which is why we try so hard to…

    Six - Ignoring the noise (and often the news)

    We find that ‘ignoring the noise’ is relevant in a number of ways. Firstly it’s about not making emotional decisions based on whats going on today.

    The obligation we have to our clients is to help support and guide and not have gut reactions which will negatively impact the decisions we make, and therefore the recommendations we make and therefore our clients wealth.

    This also means ignoring much of what we read in the press both national, local and financial.

    Also, whilst I love social media it also means ignoring much of what goes on and trying not to get involved in debates which are often better conducted in more depth face to face or via a better medium than twitter.

    So, there some of the business principals which guide me…

    …what are yours?
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