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CEO Coach Mark Moses Reveals the Four Most Important Questions to Ask About Success

Entrepreneur Mark Moses, author of the essential book for CEOs, Make Big Happen, knows a thing or two about growing a highly-profitable business.

His first company—which he started at age 19 in order to pay for college—was a franchise business called Student Painters, which sold home maintenance and repair jobs to homeowners. Moses handled the sales, and by its second year, Student Painters had earned $120,000 in revenue, netting Moses a personal profit of $35,000.

The success of Student Painters inspired him to scrap his goals to be an accountant in favor of becoming an entrepreneur. This first venture was so successful that after moving operations from Ontario, Canada to Southern California, he expanded the business to some 250 locations in just four years, eventually selling it at at the ripe old age of 26.

An early fan of “learning from people smarter,” Moses found his first mentor at 24 during his time running Student Painters. This mentor stayed with him and ended up on the board of his next company several years later.

Moses began his second business, a mortgage company called Platinum Capital, and, persevering through the challenges of the cyclical mortgage market, he grew Platinum Capital into a company that did $1.6 billion in annual business volume and had 550 employees across the United States.

About a year and a half after selling this second business in 2006, Moses began coaching CEOs looking to grow their businesses, and what began as a hobby to stave off boredom between ventures turned out to be the impetus for his next company, a CEO coaching business.

In the course of starting, growing and selling companies of his own and helping others to grow theirs, Moses has come up with some golden guiding principles that keep entrepreneurs on-track and focused as they pursue the concrete goals that turn profitable companies into businesses with epic successes.

His time as a serial entrepreneur served as a full-scale business boot camp, teaching him important lessons about delegating responsibilities to free up resources so he could better scale his companies. He also learned the importance of seeking guidance from those further along the path; a tactic he says should never ever be retired.

His four foundational principles come in the form of questions. Answer the following four important questions for yourself as you pursue the growth of your business and the process of internal interrogation can help to always keep your eye on the prize; growth, success, and incredible fulfillment.

#1: What Do You Want?

“If you don’t know what you want, I guarantee you won’t get there.”

The number one question that you must be able to answer about your business pertains to specific goals concerning exactly what you are looking to accomplish in that business.

Moses has a fun process—called the crystal ball exercise—that illustrates the importance of setting intentions and also incorporates the powerful tool of visualization. He advises that you imagine yourself celebrating at the end of the year, and to be very clear about exactly what you are celebrating. What benchmarks have you met and what goals have you accomplished?

Be specific, imagine the nitty-gritty details and have fun with this. Would you like to grow your business from a 500K success into a million dollar force by the end of the year? Imagine every single detail of what that would look and feel like and see yourself achieving it. Being clear about what you want is essential to helping you actually achieve it.

#2: What Do You Have to Do to Get What You Want?

As Moses likes to say, “What are you going to have to do to guarantee something will happen?”

A fan of specific and measurable actions to achieve “guaranteed” results, Moses likes to set the bar higher to ensure that he meets his goals. He asks himself questions about what specific, measurable actions he needs to take in order to meet specific goals (see question #1 for more about those).

He far prefers the word guarantee to less potent and definitive words like “try.” Moses is definitely not a guy to “try” to meet goals—he insists upon a guarantee. For example, if he needs 15 new clients in a month, he may set up 20 or more prospect meetings to be assured of hitting his goal.

The bottom line is, if 15 is the desired number of new clients, and the necessary number of meetings aren’t set up you will most likely fall short of your goals. It’s important to be absolutely transparent…with yourself. Write down what it is that you’re setting out to do to make measurable activities clearer and easier to accomplish.

Another great related Moses quote is: “If you can’t define it, then you can’t measure it. If you can’t measure it, then you can’t manage it.”

#3: What Might Get in the Way of Getting What You Want?

Answering this question requires you to have some degree of self-awareness, but if self-knowledge is not your forte, worry not. Question #4 is coming up to offer you outside help that will help to give you a greater perspective.

Things that could get in the way of achieving goals might be internal obstacles, like a tendency to be easily distracted or needing to work on communication skills. Maybe you have a few hires in place that aren’t quite a fit and yet you’re not taking action to correct the situation.

You may have clearly-defined objectives in place but if one of your team members is underperforming it may still be hard to hit your goals.

#4: How Do You Hold Yourself Accountable on the Way to Your Goals?

The previous three questions lead us to your number one best strategy for helping you to answer said questions.

Another favorite phrase of Moses’s is, “If you’re the smartest guy in the room, find another room.” This is a reference to his firm belief in mentorship and the value of availing yourself the guidance of those who have “walked the path” ahead of you. Mentors can help you to hold yourself accountable so that you can more readily meet your goals, and ultimately, to know yourself more intimately.

Moses says his mentors have kept him honest, challenging him by asking him the tough questions that keep him realistic and providing a much-needed sounding board. They have also “called him out” when necessary and offer him the benefit of a more seasoned perspective.

Moses Today

Eleven years down the line after the start of his CEO coaching career, Mark Moses is still coaching and inspiring entrepreneurs.

His company, CEO Coaching International, pairs entrepreneurs and CEOs who yearn to graduate from quasi-success to massive success with mentors who have been where they hope to go and can offer guidance gained through their own experiences. Through mentorship, CEOs wishing to guide their companies to big-time achievements can have the help that they need to keep themselves accountable and on-track.

Today the company serves entrepreneurs and C-level executives all over the world, offering guidance on innovation, strategy, team building, leadership, and cultural design to help leaders to become better equipped to dramatically grow their businesses.

Inspiration is, after all, an irreplaceable element to success and happiness.

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