Had coffee today with a partner at PWC and we got to talking about what makes a successful business. I gave him the benefit of all of my own well aired opinions on business… vision, planned exit, build to sell, leverage etc etc. “It’s not rocket science,” I blurted. “Lets face it if I can do it anyone can, I was an advertising copy writer who knew nothing about business… I just learned how to plan an exit and then I executed the plan”. He looked at me with what appeared to be a mixture of intrigue and I think a hint of admiration. “You’re wrong…” he said, ” you had clear focus and determination, traits not shared by all who venture into business”. Then proceeded to tell me of his own experiences with business owners, from the perspective of someone who sees hundreds of businesses in all sorts of stages of growth. He told me that he sees business owners he knows will make it happen and business owners who he knows won’t. “The difference” he said simply, “is discipline”. To see a vision, to determine where you are going to take this business, put a plan in place and then make it happen… these are not the every day approach to business sadly. You can teach people the tools, he told me, but you can’t give them the discipline it takes to execute it.
I thought about this on my way home. He’s right you know. The difference between those that make it huge in any field and those who muddle along at it… is the discipline required… to study, to learn, to invest, to plan, to work at it, practice, stick to the plan and to do what it takes to make it happen. This is the real quality of the successful athelete, investor, writer and of course, the successful business person.
So … how disciplined are you??