Business is like life; there’s both good and bad times. The difference is, a lot of the time with business, those lulls can be avoided.
A national survey of accounting firms revealed some of the reasons why businesses suffer. Here’s what they found:
- 55% had poorly designed business models & inexperienced management
- 46% insufficient capital or inadequate access to borrowings, preventing growth
- 37% failed to seek professional advice
- 35% expanded too quickly
- 32% didn’t plan for volatile costs
- 27% wouldn’t adapt to changing markets
- 26% had inadequate financial management
- 25% didn’t market themselves (sufficiently or at all)
And we would like to add one more from our own observations over the last 11 years – owners and decision makers are suffering from the busy disease. No time is actually allocated each week to thinking, reflecting, planning and most of all DOING!
At Kiikstart, we talk about the importance of having a continuous start-up mindset, no matter what stage you’re at in business. The importance of giving yourself the time to develop your business and work on it, not just in it.
Entrepreneurs are different beings. We like to continually create, challenge the norm and have courage to leave behind the old and tired. Entrepreneurs have the ability to improvise and respond in real time. There is self-belief, focus and absolute grit when times get tough – and they do get tough. Entrepreneurs are willing to take opportunities (not “risks”) that others are not.
The three keys to success
Business can be done in millions of ways.
Managing these details can be boiled down to three key things which make business successful: Lead, leverage and lift.
1. The Lead Key
This is all about leadership and development rather than just management 101. By the way define what leadership is for you, your brand, your staff and most importantly your client.
Leadership is such an overused word we rarely stop to ask what is it and how do I show it through my business?
Some factors that underpin the lead key include:
- ‘Vision’ (the ‘why’) for your business
- ‘Mission’ (the ‘how’) of your business.
- Your business values and organisational cultures – there’s not just one culture.
- Your business model and time spent on developing it with changing times and trends.
- Setting boundaries and standards for yourself and your team.
- Building relationships and how you do this – both internal and external customers
- Willingness to seek help from others outside of your own network.
- Choosing the right team and deferring on expertise where needed.
- Adding value to others and adopting a client centric attitude.
Improving your skills in these areas will help you better manage the next two keys.
2. The Leverage Key
This is all about productivity and efficiency which will focus on maximising outputs while minimising inputs. Leveraging is all about maximising what you already have within your people, place and product without going into major debt and gaining a head full of grey hairs in the process.
It does however often requires a change in how you do business and re-invention as part of the process. Some of the details you need to get across before you plan the leveraging process include:
- The level of efficiency and effectiveness in regards to current business processes.
- Productivity of both humans, processes and systems.
- Profitability of the business – not just the revenue.
- The current talent and skill level of staff – where are the strengths but key skill gaps in performance?
- Processes for utilising your human resources to their full potential.
- Current distribution channels.
- The quality and value of current strategic partnerships.
- Methods on maintaining health cash flow including cost management and control.
- Control of inventory (or current client work in progress).
- Commitment to innovation and continual creativity.
- Processes and systems in place to measure and review quality control.
3. The Lift Key
This is all about the sales and marketing activity which will lift the turnover of the business.
Details to get across include:
- Your value propositions and Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
- Your UEP this is the unique emotional proposition and how you want people to feel as a result of their interaction with your business.
- Products and services – current mix.
- Your brand and the style and manner in which it’s expressed
- Customer segments and the level of focus and detail.
- Profitability by customer segments.
- Customer relationships and end to end experience – not just service 101.
- Customer channels – how accessible is your business? This relates to how you deliver the end to end client experience and relates to staff attitude and level of responsiveness across all channels.
Leveraging the time and resources you have
We can’t forget the 80/20 rule. Put your time into those 20% of activities that’ll garner 80% of your results. Make sure you’ve got the resources and processes in place to review where you’re getting the most results. This will require you take time out, review and reflect on the current clients you have and how you actually service them.
Manage your commitments, prioritise and plan your daily tasks, and leverage the time you have. You can achieve this by structuring your business, making your processes more efficient, deploying technology and outsourcing. Value your time.
Remember you cannot “manage” time, it will move on regardless of you, but you can certainly have more respect in terms of how you use it.
At Kiikstart, we’re dedicated to helping people have more choice, influence and control about how they live, work and learn. If you’d like to hear more about what we do and the benefits for our clients contact us today on 0428 593 400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.