A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: Great business questions

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Over the last few weeks I've invited a number of business leaders around the world to contribute to a brand new guide I'm releasing soon called 'Priceless Business Wisdom'.

I selected business leaders in a number of countries and a wide range of industries. (I invited each leader to answer 7 questions and I am sharing their answers in this new guide.)

A number of these business leaders have told me how useful (and enjoyable) it was for them to take a few minutes and answer these 7 questions.

So I thought I would share these same questions with readers of my Herald column as well.

These are great questions to ask successful people in business as you'll get some valuable advice.

(They are also well worth answering with regards to your own business as well.)

Q 1: What type of business are you currently involved in and how long have you been working in this field?

Q 2: If you were starting again in this type of business what are two things you would do differently and why?

Q 3: What were the two most valuable pieces of business advice you ever received and how have you used this advice in your business career?

Q 4: What are the two most useful business books you have read and what was a key lesson you got from reading each book?

Q 5: What were your two most valuable learning lessons in business?

Q 6: What are two important pieces of advice that you would like to share with a business person working in your field?

Q 7: If you had 30 seconds to share one key idea with a business person wanting to get started in your field what would you like to tell them?

Let me share the response to one of these questions from Richard Koch the best selling author of 'The 80-20 Principle'.

Q: What were the two most valuable pieces of business advice you ever received and how have you used this advice in your business career?

"When I was straight out of university, I went to work at a Shell oil refinery. I absolutely hated it. But I did learn one invaluable lesson, which was given to me by a guy called Dan Rawlinson, who ran an in-house consultancy there. He was a great fan of Peter Drucker, who started the idea of "Management by Objectives" (MbO). The basic idea was that managers shouldn't be controlled directly by their boss, but by objectives that they set and agreed jointly. And the key thing was that what mattered wasn't inputs, but results. Nothing should matter but results.

This idea is so powerful and is really the basis of the 80/20 philosophy, except that 80/20 adds the idea of getting great results with as little energy and money as possible. As soon as I grasped the importance of achieving personal and incredibly ambitious results, I left Shell.

The second idea is one I've picked up from Warren Buffett. I've never met him, but his sayings are so wise that they strike an instant chord with me. He once said that working with people you don't enjoy is like marrying for money - not a very good idea in any circumstances, but if you're already rich it's totally crazy. He also said that you become like the people you work with - so choose the best and most fun. Nothing is more important to our happiness than working with people we like and admire - and I have tried to follow this course religiously."

I learned a huge amount of valuable ideas from reading what Richard and other business leaders shared with me in their answers to these 7 questions...

And I am sure you will get great benefit by answering them yourself as well.

'No one is without knowledge except him who asks no questions.' - West African Saying

Action Exercise:
Take some time and answer these 7 questions for your own business.

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email him at the link above.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

Read more by Graham McGregor

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