• Dave Fuller MBA, Author

Some entrepreneurs are all talk, no action

Updated: May 7, 2018

Wendell is a swell guy with a big heart and a large mouth, and can Wendell ever talk.

I had the opportunity to work with Wendell lately at a volunteer project. We were planting a garden and while I was breaking my back, loading dirt in and out of pickup trucks, Wendell would lean on his shovel and talk to me. I would be picking up sod and Wendell would be chatting, moving the wheelbarrow, and Wendell would be bantering away. I am not even sure what he was talking about, but as I meditated on Wendell's big talk, I thought that this is the same problem with many small businesses. Lots of talk and no action.

It's not that small business owners don't have great ideas. Many of the entrepreneurs I run into are not short on ideas. They can tell you what they need to do to build their businesses and grow their sales.

They can talk and tell you what they could do to reduce their stress in the business, and can pinpoint what keeps them up at night.

Many business owners know exactly what they would like to accomplish in their business and have dreams of how much they should end up selling their business for. The problem with small business owners does not lie in the talking about the possibilities. The problem lies in the follow through.

So what do small business owners need to do to ensure that they are successful? A 2014 study by Exact found that small businesses with a business plan made on average 20 per cent more profit and were 50 per cent more likely to achieve their business goals than those that didn't. To be successful in business, not only do we need to have an idea that we can articulate, but we need to put it down on paper and have a system of accountability to achieve the desired goals.

Numerous studies also show that companies that are able to communicate their plans to their employees and get buy-in from those employees will be more likely to succeed in reaching their goals.

This means that we need a culture in our organizations that enable dialogue and discussion around the validity of our goals. This can be scary for business owners who are accustomed to having the last word. However, enabling discussion and being open to other points of view in regards to our goals ensures that we get buy-in and as a result are more likely to have action.

But action doesn't happen without commitment. Not only do we need our employees to commit to doing the work, but we have to work ourselves. Standing and holding up the shovel all day isn't going to cut it.

Great leaders don't do all the work themselves but are able to motivate the workers.

While this requires talking, it also requires that we show that we are prepared for some hard work ourselves. The role of a leader is often different from the person holding the shovel, however, we need to be able to hold the team accountable and show that we have done our homework when it comes to having a prepared plan.

Having a plan to provide products or services that are designed to ensure that you add value for your customers while at the same time guaranteeing that you will make money doing it, enable companies big and small to remain in business for long periods of time.

However, the fact that many business owners don't quite understand that they have to create value and make a profit. Many focus on one or the other without creating the necessary balance.

Talk is cheap when it comes to business.

Ideas are a dime a dozen and businesses come and go because they have no formal planning to achieve goals. Planning for business success isn't rocket science, in fact if you fire me off an email, I will send you a template for coming up with a business plan that will help you get clarity on your next steps. Sometimes it's as simple as understanding who your customers are, what they are feeling, and what you can provide that will help them to solve their problems.

Are you like Wendell and find talking easy but getting things done hard? Perhaps you are digging away in your business when you should be supervising? Having a plan to ensure that you are successful and can get the jobs done is essential. It's easy to talk but action needs a plan.

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