Three Critical Questions

By Rob Dale, Breakthrough Coach

I’m often asked why some business people seem to succeed no matter what they do, while others struggle from business to business and idea to idea. Are some entrepreneurs just that good?

While there are many factors that lead some to be continually successful, I believe one of the common denominators found among successful business people is a willingness to ask very specific questions about themselves and the companies they lead.

I want to offer you three questions that every business owner should be asking on a regular basis. In fact, let me suggest that these questions should be reviewed at least once a year, if not more often.

The three questions are:
1. What happened?
2. What’s missing?
3. What’s next?

Let me offer a little insight into each question.

1. What Happened?
Ever feel like you’ve fallen prey to the tyranny of the urgent, constantly putting out fires, and stuck working in your business and never on your business? If so, then you’re part of the majority!

It’s a vicious cycle. One that you won’t break free from unless you’re willing to hit the pause button long enough to ask, What happened?

Think of your business over the past year. Write down two big things or goals that you accomplished. Two major things that you feel you nailed. Now, ask yourself, what happened? What got you there? Why was it a success?

Are there steps that you can duplicate in current and future situations? Make sure you write them down and begin to systemize the process that brought you success.

However, don’t stop there. Consider one or two things that didn’t quite go the way you expected. What happened in those cases? What could you have done differently?

Successful business people are constantly reviewing their past successes and failures and evaluating what they can learn from them.

2. What’s Missing?
The second question you need to ask is what’s missing? In the case of this question, I believe there are a number of areas you should consider.

What’s missing in terms of the people you have around you. I am convinced that successful business people surround themselves with a “power team.” What relationships and strategic partnerships do you need to seek out and establish? Who do you need to recruit to your team? And, just as importantly, who do you need to remove from your team?

It might not come as much of a surprise when I suggest that one of the people you should have on your “power team” is a business coach. Obviously, I believe in the power of coaching and mentoring. A coach, along with other strategic partners, can bring to you a level of objective insight that you cannot develop on your own.

Another area where you should ask what’s missing is in the context of the knowledge you need to gain and strategies you should embrace. Perhaps there are books you should be reading, conferences you should be attending, or products you should be learning about.

3. What’s Next?
Remember, you can’t change the past. While it’s important to ask what happened so that you can learn from your past victories and failures, it’s equally important to ask where you plan on going.

I believe this is the most important question of all. However, it should only be asked once you’ve taken the time to consider the first two questions. If you don’t ask what’s next, you’ll get stuck analyzing your business without taking any action. Contrary to what many believe, knowledge does not equal power. At least not anymore. It’s too easy to gain knowledge today. Power, or success comes when we apply action to our knowledge.

Three powerful questions. Successful business people are willing to ask these questions on a regular basis. Doing so will provide incredible insight into your company and allow you to strategically plan out where you want to go next.

About the Author: Rob Dale, BreakthoughCoach

“I believe in people. In a world of mediocrity, where so many settle for average, I love seeing people breakthrough to their potential.”

Every business owner starts out with a dream – a vision of where they what they want to accomplish through their business. Along the way, challenges and obstacles deflate, discourage, and derail many of them. Through a dynamic coaching relationship that provides a plan that is personal to both the owner and their business, I strive to help owners stay the course and realize their business goals.

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