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“You are not your business.  Your business is an entity in and of itself. Yes, you created it, but in order to find success, you have to turn it into a self-sustaining organism.”observes Gino Wickman, author of Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business.   As he points out what he teaches is simple, but not simplistic, with the focus on six areas of your business.

  • Vision – Successful business owners not only have compelling visions for their organizations, but also know how to communicate those visions to the people around them – staff and clients alike.  To get to your vision, ask yourself what are your core values?  Do you have a core focus?
  • People – Successful leaders surround themselves with great people.  Ask yourself are all of your people the right ones for their jobs?  Do they have the skills set to take you where you want to go?
  • Data – Instead of getting mired in managing personalities, egos, subjective issues and intangibles, Wickman says you need a score card – a weekly report containing five to 15 high level numbers for the organization.  This gives you a pulse on the your business on a weekly basis, and you can quickly identify when things have fallen off the track.
  • Issues – Regardless of the business or how long you’ve been plagued by your problems, ignoring them doesn’t mean they go away. Wickman encourages you to take the time to address a problem.
  • Process  You will not get your company to the next level by keeping your processes in your head and winging it as you go, cautions Wickman.  Ask yourself whether you have documented the way you want everything done in the organization?  Do your staff know what processes they are following and why?
  • Traction – This is often the weakest link in an organization, reports Wickman.  It boils down to accountability, with everyone in the company having goals and priorities that keep them focused on what is most important,

While much of this book is aimed at small businesses with staff, the information is just as useful for the entrepreneur working alone, because as you build and grow your business, you will need these foundational pieces to move forward.

Most business books tell you what you need to do as a business owner and why it is important.  Traction does that and more – it gives you the tools to do it, with check lists, probing questions to ask yourself and exercises that help you come up with the answers you need to build a strong business.  You can also download many of the forms they recommend from their website, making it much easier to implement and take action.