How to Be Successful in Business by Using the Seven Pillars of Profit

I’ve climbed a ton of small business ladders. But mostly I end up climbing the wrong walls. In other words, I’ve failed many times. But I keep climbing and believe wisdom comes more from failure than success.

Then there’s the “hit a wall” analogy. If you’re like me, you know the feeling of the bruise when we hit hard, especially the head. Businesses often fail because business owners hit a wall. What causes this to happen? For one, it’s because they don’t see the wall in front of them. Walls tend to appear when business owners don’t know how to properly grow their business and as a result — yup, you guessed it — the business fails. The primary reason owners can’t grow their business is because they don’t know how. Either they don’t know what they don’t know or they think they’ll master what they’re not good at, which, for the record doesn’t happen.

In order to prevent a failing business, owners must first accept that they don’t know everything. If you’re a business owner, you first have to acknowledge your weaknesses and then you need to decide if you’re willing to get help from those who do know what it is you don’t. You must do proper research and hire the best talent you can find. Make sure to hire the right talent, not the cheapest, and allow them do what you hired them to do; trusting who you hire is incredibly important.

If you’re not sure how to identify your strengths and weaknesses and ultimately fill in the missing pieces in order to be successful at business, use the model below as a guideline to ascertain these personality traits. I developed the model to allow business owners to understand and assess what their strengths are and what still needs work. Knowing your core competencies and outlining them around The Seven Pillars of Profit will allow you to acknowledge those strengths and weaknesses.

Consider the seven points below and asses on a scale of 1 to 10 your knowledge, confidence and ability in each. Make sure to be honest with yourself because otherwise you won’t gain anything from the exercise and will be further holding yourself back from success. If you rate yourself below a seven on any pillar it’s probably a good time to seek help.

The Seven Pillars of Profit

  1. Strategy: The essence of a great strategy is knowing what NOT to do. Focus on doing one thing at a time rather than attempting to do too many things at once and risk poor production. This will allow you to focus and put the proper attention on your business.
  2. Planning: You need a written, strategic plan of action in order for success, otherwise you won’t have any way to assess where you’re going and your team won’t be able to keep up with you to do their part.
  3. Leadership: Think of this in terms of flying a plane. You, the owner or CEO, are the pilot and you fly well at 60,000 feet. However, you don’t know anything about fixing, cleaning or fueling the plane. As a result, the plane, passengers, customers and employees suffer; you need good leadership to stay off the ground.
  4. Management: This is about hiring people to effectively accomplish their assignments. Some people can self-manage but not all. The only way your business can grow to the next level is by having talented managers and employees.
  5. Marketing: In the early 2000s, marketing became digital. Most CEOs today don’t know a thing about digital marketing. So rather than learning, they hire an SEO specialist or buy marketing automation software at a seminar and wonder afterward why their sales don’t improve.
  6. Sales: Many people don’t like selling due to the reputation sales people have garnered through the years. However, sales is imperative to your business if you want to obtain and retain customers. It is important also to make sure to hire an experienced professional to manage your sales team.
  7. Finance: The income statement and balance sheet of your business reflect the success of your business endeavors. If you don’t have responsible bookkeeping, accounting and tax professionals working for you, that could cost you a lot.

Now that we’ve established that the number one problem for failing businesses is you, the individual, because you’ll never know what you don’t know, the most important question you can answer honestly is, “What will it take for me to get out of my own way?”

Every big business leader who broke the $1 million mark in revenue assessed and answered this question. In order for the aforementioned scenario to become attainable for you, you need the right plan, people, processes and systems set in place. Then you must make a concerted effort to get out of your own way by continuing to hire competent professionals to help you.

Then, and only then, can you fly your prolific “leadership” plane at 60,000 feet and avoid putting yourself, your team and your customers at risk.