OK so this is the second time I’ve written about this but the more clients I work with and the more I learn, the more I think this message bears repeating. For all the advice there is out there about how to run a business, there are 5 very basic things that every business needs to do well. And yet, I find very few businesses that have all of these nailed.
I’ve worked in, and with, businesses of all sizes. From multi billion pound blue chips that exist in hundreds of countries to kitchen table enterprises that are just getting off the ground and literally everything in between. And only a handful have all 5 of these things down pat. They all do some of these things, and some of them do all of them to some extent but none do all of them, all of the time.
I thought when I started working with small businesses and start ups that they would be hugely different to the big corporates. And they are, massively different – there’s far fewer bullsh*t meetings, no global reporting, no office politics and they’re all the better for it. But what’s driving that difference is often a need for independence and freedom from the conventional way of doing things. Unfortunately though that’s also the downfall of many a business that tries to make the move from start up to grown up because unfortunately a lot of the things we associate with ‘corporate’ are exactly the things we need to run a sustainable business.
At the heart of it, all businesses exist along the planes of some very simple economic principles and ultimately in very basic terms that makes every business the same. Businesses are like people – every single one is different but at the core, are some very basic systems that determine how they operate.
The 5 things outlined below will make the difference between long term success and failure, impact your financial stability, increase your chances of securing funding and drastically improve the engagement of your team.
Whatever stage of business you’re at, these are the things you need to be thinking about. Granted, at early start up stage they may feel a long way off but to make the move from start up to grown up they are must haves.
So here’s my advice on how to keep it simple - 5 things, you need in your business to make it run brilliantly:
A long term vision
You need to know where your business is going and how you’re going to get there. You need to be able communicate this clearly to suppliers, customers and your team and you need to have it ON REPEAT. No decision should be made in your business, big or small that doesn’t go through your long term vision as a filter – does it get us closer to where we want to be? No? Don’t do it. Thinking of going through a funding round? This needs to be NAILED DOWN.
Know your numbers
I used to work for a demon GM who would pick people out during meetings and shoot spot questions at them about our business targets and numbers for the year. We all hated him but he had a bloody good point – you HAVE to know your numbers. The first step is to know your key numbers - you need to know turnover, revenue, cost and profit as a minimum. And every grown up business needs a very clear profit focus and a strong understanding of capital efficiency. You need to know how much it’s going to cost you to grow and where the money’s going to come from to fund it.
Think full chain
I worked for a huge corporate business in my early career where the sales team were so heavily bonussed on selling volume that they very rarely stopped to see if what they were selling actually existed. It VERY often didn’t exist. Cue, very unhappy customers, very unhappy suppliers and a huge amount of wasted money and effort. I became an expert in negotiating all the way down the chain to ensure we came to a solution that everyone was happy with – tough gig.
You know better than this – step back and think about every thing you do. Can it be done?
Get the right team
Your dream depends on your team…. Recruit your team depending on where you want to get to, not where you are now. And don’t wait. Recruit before you think you’re ready. No one ever worked out that was recruited out of desperation!
Think about the impact that new hires will have on your business beyond their wage bill. Chances are they will make you money, or save you money or time.
This is a whole blog in itself but seriously, leadership is absolutely EVERYTHING you do. Every decision you make, every conversation you have and every action you take, you are leading your business and your team. You absolutely MUST invest in ensuring you are the best leader you can be to create consistency, credibility and confidence.
If you can get these 5 things right you will ensure the success, profitability and sustainability of your business.
If you need help to implement any or all of them simply and effectively I’m here to help. Why not book a 30 minute call to see how I could help you using the link below: