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Business Discipline

Over the last week or so we’ve discussed why people are scared to start a business, and we’ve also discussed some of the processes behind starting a website.

Once you get past the fears of starting your business, you need to know how to lead that business with discipline!

Discipline is one of those things that we’ve always hated while growing up, but then realized was necessary once we were grown.

The most successful people, organizations, and businesses are the most disciplined.

Examples of Business Discipline

Great examples of disciplined businesses and organizations¬†are McDonald’s, and the Military. Yes, there are always exceptions, but few can deny that these two entities¬†primarily operate from rigid discipline.

McDonald’s has an exhaustive quality control process¬†in just about everything they do. Each of their vendors have to go through a series of very thorough taste tests before they are even approved to supply for McDonald’s.

In addition, they go through ongoing taste tests (always done against a control) to ensure that a burger you taste in California tastes the same as in New York. Now, I don’t like McDonald’s food. If forced to choose a fast food burger, I would choose a Burger King Burger first.

I own McDonald’s stock because they are a well run company. Burger King is a privately held company now, but I wouldn’t have purchased them just because I could tell they were poorly operated.

Purpose of Business Discipline

My example above highlights why your business must be operated with discipline. Just because a company has a better product, or a cooler image, it doesn’t mean it will beat the competition.

You need to run with strict guidelines in place for:

  • Quality Control
  • Consistency
  • Organization
  • Punctuality
  • Customer Service
  • Support

Apple is a great company, but it happens because they have stringent standards much like McDonald’s. If you think starting a business means abandoning all rules and flying by the seat of your pants, then you will be looking for employment rather quickly.

The purpose for discipline is that it produces consistent results. Consistent results are measurable, meaning it will make it easy to locate inefficiency, and correct it. discipline will also mean you most likely have a business plan in place so you know where your business is, and where it is going.

Often, a business’ discipline can be used as a predictor of its success versus the competition, such is the case with Burger King and McDonald’s.

Importance of Business Discipline

I could speak all day on the merits of discipline in business, but examples abound. You can look at the banks that failed during the housing collapse of 2008. Undisciplined banks loaded up their balance sheets with toxic mortgages, and basically imploded, more disciplined banks had more responsibly balanced books, and experienced a lesser impact.

Operate your business with discipline, and you’ll see positive changes. Even if your business is well-established, adding new levels of discipline throughout your processes will yield results. There is one caveat to all of this.

Dangers of Being Overly Disciplined

It is possible to become overly disciplined, which happens to many well-established businesses. As a business sticks around longer, and grows more, they tend to make rules to maintain discipline.

When your rule book gets larger than the US Tax Code, you probably have a huge problem: Bureaucracy. It is important to ensure that your discipline doesn’t create a tangled web of inefficiency. Many, many companies suffer from this, and it can often be linked to customer frustrations.

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