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Aaron Young

Aaron Scott Young, a Strategic Thinking Partner for entrepreneurs and business owners, has the expertise to quickly get to the heart of complex issues, see solutions and help to illuminate a path to forward progress.
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3 Keys To Lasting Success

January 12, 2016 / Leave a comment / by Aaron Young

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicked off last week in Las Vegas. Big news has been abound as the latest and greatest slew of must have gadgets are paraded before the public and press. We'll see fascinating products from new and innovative inventors as well as new generations of familiar stuff from the Multi-Nationals.

I’ve been following an attending CES for decades and I’ve seen a lot of companies come and go. I’ve seen great ideas go down in a ball of flames after a ton of media attention. It seemed as if they couldn’t lose and then months later, they were gone.

This is true for lots of good ideas, innovative companies and dedicated entrepreneurs. Maybe you have even lived through it.

Here’s the thing, what kills most companies is skipping the basics. No matter how awesome your idea is, if you ignore fundamentals you will fail. The key is to mastering the basics.

So, as you jump head first into 2016 here are three things to keep your focus on. 

1. Corporate Compliance.

OK, that may seem like a boring way to start but the truth is that if your business entity is shaky, then it doesn’t matter what you build on top of it, the whole thing is at risk. Make sure that you are treating your company like a separate legal individual from you and that you hold the appropriate meetings and keep the documents the government requires.


2. Watch Your Cash.

Too many people are focused on the profit and loss statement rather than the cash flow reports. Here’s what I know. You cannot spend profits. You can only spend cash. Your task is to figure out how to turn paper profits into spendable cash. This is done through imagining each expenditure as an investment rather than an expense. You will always pay attention to the returns you are getting on investments where as you might get sloppy about how you are paying bills. Cash is king. You must have sufficient cash. Without it, you are dead in the water.

 

3. Empower Your People.

The most successful companies, most beloved bosses, most heralded industries are dominated by the concept that you need to empower your people rather than lording over them. Most people will flourish in an environment where they can feel ownership of their job and have a clear understanding of how their successes and failures impact the company as a whole. When people know they can make a decisions without fear of punishment and when they can make the job “their own”, they will give you their heads and hearts. That is the beginning of real strength. (Check out this article we did on authentic leadership that creates impact.) 

 

Bottom line - the success of any enterprise is found in the basics, regardless of what your particular basics are. They are always important and they apply to a tons of different 'life' situations.

For me, I define my basics as playing by the rules, have sufficient cash and surround yourself with a powerful team. 

What are your basics that you live by in business? 

Business Coach 101: How to Choose the Best Fit for You

August 18, 2015 / Leave a comment / by Aaron Young

I've meet a lot of business coaches in my travels and I'm always amazed by the diversity.

There are specialized coaching for every little thing. Facebook Coach, Twitter Expert, LinkedIn Guru, Pinterest Maven. There are sales coaches, marketing coaches, financial experts, debt experts, and wealth experts... And that is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there are 575,600 new jobs created each year in the consulting industry. And trying to identify your perfect accountability partner can be a bit frustrating. After all, “Everyone needs a coach” and “Choosing the right coach will make the difference between success and failure”. 

Personally, I resisted the title of 'coach' and 'consultant' for a long time. I had hired a number of them for my companies over the years and I just didn’t want to be one of these people who swoop in and make a bunch of pretty recommendation, tell you where you and your team are failing and then sell you several copies of collected writings to study until the next quarter when they come back and do it all again.

But then (later in life) I realized it was time to start sharing some of the things I had learned from 32 years of running companies. I wanted to share my stories and admit my mistakes and maybe help new business owners have an easier time as they tred the entrepreneurial highway. I gave myself the title Strategic Thinking Partner and quickly earned the privilege of working with some very cool people.

Here is my take on choosing a consultant:

Most coaches have good intentions. Many have specialized knowledge and can go deep into their subject. Some seem cooler and can give a great talk and have excellent handouts. And there are a few who really have never done anything at all in business and provide nothing to their victims…I mean clients. 

My recommendation for the perfect coach goes something like this;

  1. Look for someone you like. Somebody you want to open up to.
  2. Look for someone who has demonstrable knowledge and has a track record on the subjects you specifically want help with now.
  3. Look for someone that can take you from where you are today and build things up from there. 
  4. Be confident that the person you're engaging has your best interest at heart because they'll give you a little piece of themselves as they work with you to build your dream.
  5. Remember what Wallace Wattles taught. The consumer should receive more in use value than what they have paid in cash value. In other words, your consultant/guru/expert/coach should be slightly over delivering on what you've agreed to.
  6. Get everything in writing. You have the right know exactly what you are buying. If a coach won’t provide that specific information, walk away.
  7. Always perform due diligence. You want to make sure they are who they say they are, and they can do what they say they can do. (trusted professional services are best) 

Once you have found the perfect coach commit to listening to them, weighing their counsel and learn to grow out of your comfort zone. 

A coach should be able to do two things: 

  1. To make you better than you are now.
  2. To test you and to track your progress.

Just as in sports the coach is not the athlete. They cannot run laps for you or shoot free throws or lift the weights. They teach and you perform. No matter how great a coach you find, nothing releases you from the responsibility of running your own business.  

When you've taken the time and found the right person the payoff is huge. Your burdens will feel a little lighter, your course a little clearer, and your successes a whole lot bigger because you took the time to find the right coach.