My five lessons in business by Mark Robinson, the chief executive of Market Harborough Building Society.
Here are Mr Roinson’s five business tips.
1. Keep going
The extra bit of persistence or effort often brings about the result you want. Really successful people know this – I remember a fantastic sale manager who kept chasing the target with as much energy from the off, right to the deadline. The also-rans had given up long before. Now he’s comfortably retired aged 50.
2. Be fearless
It’s scary when you don’t have the answer or even a clue as to what to do next. It’s easy to freeze. But toughing it out and improvising will generally lead to the solution.
A calm approach is good for you and for those who depend on you. Be decisive.
3. Listen well
Bosses love to talk but (real) listening is so much more important than making sub-standard “Churchillian” noise. Customers, peers, investors and staff all will tell you things that will help you succeed; if you are prepared to button up.
4. Be honest
Beware of the temptation to “spin”, as insincerity is toxic to relationships. Direct, honest assessments, properly delivered will win you friends and business. Face up to problems because they seldom go away if you ignore them.
5. Know your numbers
Understanding your costs, your breakeven and your profitability (and how they are moving) is essential. “What gets measured gets managed” is a cliché but is so true.
Successful leaders know where to focus for maximum benefit; whether its distribution costs, smart pricing or overheads. Clarity comes from knowing the numbers.
Spark Harborough column by Mark Robinson
Mr Robinson is chief executive of MarketHarborough Building Society which is one of supporters and sponsors of Spark Harborough.
For more details about the society, visit its website at www.mhbs.co.uk.
Follow the society on Twitter, @MarketHarbBS.