There are probably as many reasons we get into business as there are businesses in New Zealand! For most business owners, it started with a dream – freedom from a boss, more time with friends and family, more money, helping communities. But small business failure rates tell their own story. Most new business owners are good ‘technicians’ but aren’t great businesspeople. The business of business is not the same as being a good tradie, or a baker or a café owner.
The good news is that realising your dream and achieving your ambitions is entirely possible using a proven and progressive, step-by-step approach that helps clarify objectives and produces consistent profits over time. It’ll take hard work and dedication, because there is no ‘silver bullet’, but it will be incredibly gratifying and is the only way I know that will give you the level of control to get what you want from your business.
The first thing to do is to eliminate chaos, ‘master’ the foundational elements of your business and take back control. Building the fundamentals of a commercial enterprise and making sure your business delivers profit and productivity with enough information to make great decisions is at the heart it. Imagine that your business is a table, with four legs called Direction (knowing where you are going), Money (knowing what drives profit and what numbers to measure), Time (learning what is urgent and most timely to boost productivity) and Delivery (the process of building consistency into what the business produces and delivers to customers). If any of those legs don’t measure up, you are going to have a very frustrating dinner!
You have to walk before you run, and we also have to take operations as they are in reality, not as we hope they are or wish them to be. Part of mastery is getting the business out of delusion and re-focusing attention on drivers that impact overall performance.
Cash is king! So, the next step towards your dreams is to make sure you have consistent cashflow, because that is the lifeblood of every business. I venture to say that in these Red Light times, disrupted supply chains have played havoc with most businesses, so creating predictable cashflow and operating from a position of no price competition is essential. We recently worked with business owners in the construction and hospitality sectors, looking at their marketing so that it showed their points of difference. Together we identified their niches (so they never have to discount, because their USPs – unique selling propositions -are clear) and decided the offer (to their specific, targeted customers) and developed the copy. Not every message worked 100% of the time, but that was quickly known because both business owners tested and measured and adjusted through the process. Marketing may sit under Expenses in accounting, but when it is done right it is an investment every time!
Once you’ve got control back and your business is predictably profitable, its time to implement (or review…) systems at every level of your business. By leveraging the power of a good system (one that is usable, high quality and accurate), you’ll be able to ‘systemise the routine and humanise the exceptions’. 80% of a typical company's operations are routine at some level. Systemizing that 80% frees up resources - mainly the owner's time - toward more productive functions. Having Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and a good structure with clear goals means you’ll now know what to manage so you can get to the ‘nuts and bolts’ of your business. It can be time consuming, but the backend benefits massively outweigh the time spent upfront. To quote an initially sceptical builder we worked with over the past two years , “I really never thought I could run my business without having to do everything myself. The 60-80 hours every week were really grinding me down. Now I realise every second was worth it, because I’m working much less, making more money and I actually have the data I need every day!”
People, when part of a motivated, well-oiled team, provide the structure for business growth. To keep your dream alive, once you’ve got the first three steps (the business’ basics) in place, its time to focus on to keys to building a winning team. Strong leadership toward a common goal, knowing the rules of the game and following a plan of action where everyone knows 'who needs to do what by when.' Team building also fosters an atmosphere that encourages risk-taking - with the expectation that team members participate 100% of the time with 100% of their efforts. Rugby provides great examples of this, with the 2011-2015 All Blacks and the 2019 Springboks standouts. Leadership from McCaw and Kolisi (on the field), teams all fully committed to something bigger than themselves and clear on their roles delivered when it mattered most. Both of these teams (all three, really) had a synergy within them that allowed them to function towards their maximum potential. In business, that synergy is a by-product of an integrated system that works to produce the ultimate result of a business - consistent profits on a consistent basis.
Taken together, having a winning team and synergy across the business means the business owner has choices she or he may never have had before. More free time? Expansion into new markets and locations? An asset that pays for your lifestyle even when you aren’t at work? Who knows? Here’s what I do know: ‘Letting go’ after decades of ‘doing it all’, having a business that works so they don’t have to, has been hugely rewarding for business owners who have put in the effort and time into learning and adopting this approach. If that is you, well done. Now enjoy your rewards!
If want to grow your business and achieve your dreams, give me a call (0222 332 669) or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to see what in my 25 years of business experience can ‘shift the dial’ n your business. To become part of the Centre of Business Excellence community and benefit from regular insights, go to https://www.facebook.com/centreofbusinessexcellence and be sure to ‘Like’ the page. Sign up for my newsletter at www.centeofbusinessexcellence.com/insights