From successful to useful – 10 tips to grow your business

Last month my friend Pieter van Osch organised an event where Jim Collins was the virtual speaker.

Pieter was very enthusiastic after the event and especially about the bonus 15 minutes where Jim Collins talked about 10 To Do’s. Practical tips how you can become a great entrepreneur and excel to a great business.

Jim Collins Inspiring Ideas

Jim Collins is the author of a number of great books that I use, like Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t and Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (aff)

Verne Harnish was also very enthusiastic about the event:

“Collins led a highly insightful 3 hour opening session at last week’s Fortune Leadership Summit in Atlanta (and beamed to 9 locations around the globe). He capped it off with a top 10 list for growth firms.

10 To Do’s for growth companies

  • Change “what” questions to “who” questions.
    For great companies it has always been about people first, who. Who is your partner, supplier, customer. Then you can answer the what question.
  • Double your question to statement ratio
    Ask more questions. Forget being interesting. Be interested.
  • Embrace the “Stockdale Paradox
    Keep getting up when knocked down
  • Discover your personal “hedgehog
    What are you both passionate about and best at. What are you genetically coded to do better than most of your peers? Find out, and do it.
  • Set your vision based on three components: Core Values, Purpose, BHAG
    Core values that could last a lifetime, so you can stick to them in bad times. Purpose in the sense that you will be missed when you are gone. BHAGs not for the short-term, but for the next 15 or 20 years.
  • Establish a 20 Mile March.
    When you have the discipline to advance in predictable and sustainable steps go further, doing 20 miles every single day. Find your “20-mile” and march relentlessly. But above all, resist the temptation to go an extra mile today if it means jeopardizing the rhythm of your progress tomorrow.
  • Create a “Stop Doing” list.
    More than three priorities means no priorities. Say no. Learn to focus on your priorities. For every major ‘to-do’ on your list, you should have a corresponding item that you will stop doing.
  • Create white space: Turn-off electronic gadgets one day every two weeks
    Think. Give yourself white space on your calendar regularly. Shut computer, tablets and phones down.
  • Focus on getting a huge return on your next “luck event.”
    Luck just happens. We all get lucky many times in our life. Learn how to recognize luck when it comes. And get a huge return on it. Collins refers to this as ‘return on luck.’ “Have you turned your bad-luck events into a big part of what makes your company great? Are you squandering your good-luck events?”
  • Change from striving to be successful to be useful.
    By being useful you will be successful. Not the other way around. Successful is about you and useful is about others. Would the world miss you if you/your company was gone?

While I searched on the web for these 10 points I found more information and added these to the points above.

I am so happy that Pieter and myself will be organizing an event together, The Best Business Forever event. Actually that day, October 9, 2012, is the kick-off for the Best Business Forever community.

Credit photo HSM Brasil

To make it easier for your to spread these 10 tips or print here is an image I created:
10 tips for growth companies

(Click for full size – and back to return to the post)

By Erno Hannink

Sparring and accountability partner for entrepreneurs who create sustainable positive impact. Explores decision-making. Shares his insights on this in, articles, books (Dutch), podcast, newsletters, and tools. Has a life mission to reduce social and ecological inequality. Father of two children, husband of M., runs, referee for the national soccer league, and uses stoicism for calm. Lives in the Netherlands. Speaks Dutch, English, and German.


  1. A great team and great collaboration would be awesome boost for any company, and the combination of the above tips would bring great progress to growth

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