The Five W’s-by Preston Wilson


“The instructions you follow determine the future you create.” Let that sink in a minute. Take a quick journey of the mind through all the time that you have been in business. Throughout this journey you will recognize having adhered to instructions from beginning to the present. The instructions that you have applied have brought you into your current situation. You are receiving and applying good or bad information all the time. I am going to give you an old school way that I use to test information that I am receiving to make sure that it is something beneficial to my future. I call it the  The Five W’s.

Who do you allow to influence you? Are you being influenced by people that you would consider worthy of mentoring you in your business? Make sure that you are entertaining information from people that are familiar with and are supportive of your business. The absolute worst thing to do is adhere to the advice of a dominating and opinionated friend giving you information at a weekend cookout or in most cases, your hair stylist.  Seek information from people who have proven themselves in your particular  industry.

What are you listening to? What are you filling your mind with? Are you a computer guru that while waiting on the next repair to enter your business you sit around reading the National Enquirer? You would be surprised how the information that you put into your mind affects your focus and conversation. I am an incredibly busy and don’t have the time I want at this stage in my business to commit to reading,  so I always have a book or series on CD that I listen to in my travels. I can’t begin to tell you how this has influenced me over the past 12 months.

When do you decide to adhere to instruction? Are you a procrastinator? You don’t want to get a good glimpse of an up coming trend in your industry and wait to implement or market it until all of your competition has been doing it for six months. People are looking for businesses that are current. For a store front or retail business, it is said that you should change your look as often as every 7 years. I can’t tell you the amount of businesses in the South that are perfectly clean, but are uninviting due to the artificial plants, paneling, and green carpet. Don’t wait until you have lost half of your clientele to embrace change.

Where are you gathering your information? If you are always the smartest person in the room, I would suggest that you are hanging out in the wrong places. A bar stool to boast from may be an ego boost, but isn’t really doing anything for your business. You need to seek opportunities to be influenced by people that have proven to be more successful than you. I have a couple local mentors that I love to spend time with. One is in his 80’s and has been extremely successful in property investments and the machinery business. Often times he will call me to go take a ride with him. When he calls, I adjust my schedule and make time to spend with him. He will usually take me to a destination to discuss a project, but my reward is in the travel time when he shares with me wisdom and stories of success and failure. These opportunities must be sought out.

Why are you applying the instruction you receive to your situation? There is balance to applying information. You must take time to think through the information that you have received before you apply it. Is it relevant? I know of a local business that I have had the opportunity to work with on several occasions that will bring anything and everything into their storefront to sell, just to try to make a buck. This works great for a General Store, but not for a business named with a specific target. You will never find snacks and t-shirts for sale in my salon. I probably could make a couple extra bucks, but it isn’t the emphasis of the salon. Also, you will never find me selling or serving coffee in my salon. Why? My neighboring business is a coffee shop. Just because he is making money selling coffee, doesn’t justify me doing the same. The relationship that we have to influence our clientele as neighboring businesses is far more valuable.

Take time to think about the relevance and results of the instructions that you are seeking and applying to your business. Those instructions that you follow will determine the future that you will create.