Business Planning & Growth Specialist
Sweat Makes a Job … Systems Make a Business
As businesses grow, the natural pull on the owner is towards day-to-day fire-fighting.
The day can clog up with exercises in crisis-management which suck in huge amounts of time for little reward other than – at best – having staved off whatever calamity was closest to hand. Perhaps for this reason, resilience is such an important and prevalent character trait amongst business owners I meet.
Steven R Covey (of ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ fame) referred to this as focusing on the Urgent rather than the Important.
Whereas Urgent tasks are re-active to daily events, Important tasks are proactive and preventative. They make business life better in the future. When something is urgent the implications of not dealing with it are likely to be material and immediate. The negative implications of not tackling Important tasks in any given week are zero.
Until they become Urgent – which they inevitably will.
You Can’t Wait for it to Stop Raining to Fix the Roof
Say you’re too reliant on word-of-mouth marketing and don’t get round to building an effective, scalable marketing strategy to create customers profitably. If you don’t do that by Friday – no drama. But one day your business will hit a dry patch and you won’t have the solution.
Say your team grows organically and you don’t put a management structure in place: reporting lines, job roles & goals, ‘how to’ manuals, meetings & appraisals etc. If you don’t do that by Friday – no drama. But one day the person you want to stay will leave – and you’ll be left with the rest.
In short, my role is to get you working ON the business rather than IN it. To get clear on the priorities, goals & actions that will bear fruit in the future.
The more time you spend doing that, the fewer emergencies will hi-jack you in the future.
These are the 7 Key Areas I focus on – depending on the needs of the business:
Your Business Identity: Do you still act like you did when you were self-employed? Do you view yourself as a business owner? An MD? An entrepreneur? Could you be a better manager? When should you start to worry about leadership? How you view yourself impacts the tasks you think you have to do which impacts your productivity.
Mastering the 4 Business Basics: Your business is only as strong as the foundations – how you manage your time; how you manage your finances; how good you are at business planning and goal setting; how well you deliver your product.
Building a Scalable Sales & Marketing Strategy: Differentiating yourself from the herd and establishing the marketing activities which are best suited to your business – and then building them into a strategy. If a marketing activity generates a customer who spends more than it took to get them, that marketing activity is an investment. Otherwise it’s a cost.
KPI (Key Performance Indicator) Dashboards: I’m always intrigued and excited when I get to know a new business – how do you measure the productivity of one employee against another? Which are your most profitable customers? Products? Regions? Are you getting better at customer service? A KPI dashboard answers these questions and creates a target to work on.
Creating High Performance Teams: If you’re the only innovative superstar, how far can your business go? You’ll need a recruitment process an environment that attracts, trains, motivates & retains high quality people.
Implementing Performance Systems: In short giving your team the tools & framework to work up to your standards – how to handle customers; how to deliver your product; how to get great testimonials / referrals; how to get paid on time – to name a few. If it’s not enshrined in a system that gets followed – you’ll be drifting towards inefficiency.
Working on the Business Valuation: Every business owner should get paid twice – through annual dividends and when they sell the business as a going concern. Valuing the business is an important tool for gauging overall progress and keeping you motivated.
What’s next? If this strikes a chord simply get in touch.
I’d suggest a 15-30 min phone call will tell us if there’s value in meeting up and looking at it in more detail.
In business it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind, constantly reacting to events and fixing other people’s problems with never enough quality time to proactively implement positive change.
It’s what Peter Drucker described as ‘sacrificing the future on the altar of today’.
This is why we created our quarterly business planning day – or GrowthCLUB. It gets you out of the office and amongst like-minded fellow business owners and gives you the perspective, education and focus required to create a bespoke step-by-step business development plan.