Most business owners are in business to make a profit. It stands to reason therefore that as business owners, we need to be able to understand our financial indicators. Otherwise, how do we know if we’re achieving our objective?
We may have bookkeepers and accountants to help us get the numbers right, but we really need to be the ones reviewing the financial performance of the business, and making decisions based on those numbers. Read the rest of this entry »
When it comes to marketing, like most things in life, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Yet still I come across businesses owners from all types and size of businesses who look at me blankly when I ask them about their marketing strategy and plan. Given the vital importance of marketing to most businesses, I find this incomprehensible. Read the rest of this entry »
The last 15 years of so have been pretty turbulent from an economic point of view, and that doesn’t look set to change with the current Brexit deal / no deal / postponement / reversal / second referendum shenanigans! And throw into the mix the prospect of a possible General Election, just for the fun of it!
Don’t let the current uncertainty stop you from making plans for the future of your business. Doing nothing is NOT an option!
Economic recessions are the business equivalent to nature’s autumn and winter. It is the time things die off, cut back and regroup in order to grow again. During the boom years, successful businesses become over staffed, costs get out of control and careless deals are done, resulting in companies that, whilst looking good and profitable from the outside, under the surface are relying on constant economic growth to hide their weaknesses.
During tough times, many badly managed businesses will fail. That means there will be more opportunity for good businesses to flourish. There will be more good people available for employment, more premises to rent, more funding to be had from the banks, more customers looking for new suppliers. It’s your job as a business owner to make sure your business is ready to capitalise on the opportunities coming your way.
In my opinion, there are 3 key things that you need to focus on in the next 12 months to ensure that you are ready to weather whatever economic situation you may be faced with:
Understand your true financial position
You need to know exactly how your business is performing. For example, the profitability per product/service line, your cash-flow, debtors, creditors, operational efficiencies, sales and marketing key performance indicators. If you have delegated this task to an employee or outside agency then, make sure you understand what the numbers are telling you and review them on a regular basis. Remember, the buck always stops with you.
Know exactly where you are going
You need a vision for the future of the business, 5-10 year goal and a plan to get there. What needs to happen this week? This month? This quarter? If you don’t have an action plan, you’re going to be slow out of the gate, lacking in direction, miss the opportunities and find yourself no further forward in 5 years than you are now.
Make time to work ON the business not IN it
In order to see the bigger picture, you have to step back from the business. During an economic downturn, it is OK to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in, but if you keep on doing this, there will be nobody steering the boat and you will find yourselves on the rocks. So take the helm and start to chart your course to the future you desire.
One final thing – not all companies that will go bust when the next recession hits will be bad companies. Good ones will go as well, but only because they did not try to be better. As Tiger Woods said, “No matter how good you get, you can always get better.”
So go on, take ACTION, and ensure that your business is ready to face the future, no matter what the economic climate.
The great thing about playing competitive sport at a high enough level is that you get instantaneous feedback from the crowd. Do something good, and you are rewarded with cheers and shouts of joy and excitement. Do something bad, and the result will be just as quick, although not as enjoyable. If only the results were so obvious in our business! Read the rest of this entry »
That well-known phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London. It’s a principle that many businesses try to uphold, as it lets their customers know that they are always going to get good service. Read the rest of this entry »
As a business owner, the task of managing a team can completely take over your week. Dealing with day to day issues and niggles can drain your time, affect productivity and efficiency, and leave you feeling like you’re constantly firefighting. Read the rest of this entry »
The chances are, when you first started your business, you were incredibly passionate about it. Everything was new and exciting, and at last you had a way to make your mark on the world! You could do things your own way, set new standards, bring something new to the market, and help more people. In short, you were in love with your business, and the opportunities it offered you. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever wondered why reaching the top is not all that you hoped it would be, when you were lower down the ladder? The biggest reason that managers and directors find life at the top so hard is that the skills that got them into that position can act against them when they are there. It’s not like a sport, where you just get better at one thing. Everything changes when you get to the top of your business, and you are actually playing a completely different game. Read the rest of this entry »
Many businesses, regardless of their size, sector or maturity, are not achieving the success they could, simply because their teams are not performing to their full potential. This is no different to what happens in sporting teams. Just look at the England Men’s Football or Cricket teams – there is so much potential out on the field, yet the performance that is delivered often is woefully below our expectations. Read the rest of this entry »
Growing your workforce can be one of the most challenging aspects of running a business, and to be honest, I see more business owners who have got it wrong than have got it right. In fact, many business owners have actually given up trying to grow their teams altogether! Unfortunately, their past mistakes with recruitment have cost them so much time, money and effort that they can’t face going through the process again. Read the rest of this entry »