Entrepreneurial Accountability

I was talking with an entrepreneur today about his business. We talked about a lot of stuff. His website. His networking activities. His 24/7 chat button. Pay Per Click. SEO. We talked about his hit rate. His qualify/disqualify rate. He’s been in business for eleven months, but fully engaged since March. At one point I asked if he had a business plan. He said, “Yes.” I asked if he was on target and hitting his benchmarks so far this year. He said, “No.”

That got me to thinking. Who holds the entrepreneur accountable? Who asks the business owner, did what you did today have anything to do with what you were supposed to do? Did it have anything to do with your long term goal? If you’re a one man show or a small business owner with a few employees, but you are the only key person. The rainmaker, everyone else supports your effort.

Who holds you accountable? Your banker? Your lawyer? Your accountant?

You don’t want those guys bugging you every day.

Your vendors? Competitors? Customers?………..No way!

Your employees? Your spouse?……….Maybe not.

You need to spend some time doing business development every day. Specific behavior that will accumulate and compound so that your customer base and consequently your business revenues and profits grow.

Maybe you should hire a sales manager to keep you in line, doing the stuff that you need to do?

What do you do? Who holds you accountable?

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5 thoughts on “Entrepreneurial Accountability

  1. This is spot on. My experience over many years of working with and knowing successful entrepreneurs has taught me that the great majority of them have employed advisors, consultants and coaches along the way. The purpose was always to infuse needed discipline, expertise and insight; few have made it on their own. By the way, made it means still being in business while achieving their goals 10 or so years after opening the doors.

  2. I have a sales/management coach. His name is Mike. He holds me accountable for those things we work together on. I also belong to a CEO group that meets each month to share ideas, issues and plans. We all hold each other accountable for the action plans we put together.Every Thursday, I meet with each individual that reports to me for a 1 on 1 accountability meeting. One of those folks wears a handful of hats, and performs the functions of customer service coordinator, office manager, and administrative assistant. She conducts a 1 on 1 accountability for me every Thursday as well.Between Mike, Gerri, and my CEO group, I’ve got a pretty good group of folks keeping my feet to the fire! With all their help, I feel pretty confident that I’ll make it.

  3. You’ve identified the hardest thing for me as an entreprenuer – something which held me back in my past business, and which is not helping my current business.Accountability is a great way of thinking about it. I use the term “external motivation” when talking about this problem with my wife, friends and peers.I’ve employed a business coach before to be the person to hold me accountable – but I didn’t give her the right power or access to do so. In the end I didn’t get what I needed from her – but I did get what I asked for.In my current venture I’m looking to my partner to hold me accountable (and vice-versa). But it’s tough when you’re co-equals to stay firm on accountability.I have heard this same story a lot of times from a lot of people. When externally motivated with hard deadlines we entreprenuers can move mountains. But getting internally motivated to do the petty, mundane, boring or scary things we KNOW we NEED to do to grow the business… hard. I’m starting to think that there’s a space in the market for a “Boss for hire”. Not a coach, exactly. I’m envisioning a boss who serves as an external motivator. Someone who is given the power to reward and punish the entrepreneur when he/she strays from the vision and the task list the entreprenuer has established.

  4. I am self motivated which is what caused me to start my business 10 years ago in the first place. The standards I hold myself to are very high but the question is how to stay on track right? This is a bit odd but it works for us. I forecast to my team every other Friday. I detail pipeline, what will close, win/loss rates, asp etc. I send that document to everyone in my business. We use open book management here so everyone sees how the business is performing. What this does is motivate me to keep that pipeline and forecast full. If I send out a forecast that is slim, my team may start to get nervous and I certainly don’t want that to happen! I also set a quota for myself. 15 prospecting calls a day. Doesn’t sound like much right? Well, some days I barely get them all in. My point is that you have to have a plan and execute on that plan flawlessly to succeed. Having a vision is a wonderful thing but executing on the vision brings the cha-ching!

  5. If you don’t expect much from yourself, how can you expect much from others?It’s not odd, it’s excellent and it works.Employees will follow leaders that lead by example and can walk the talk.Thanks for playing.

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