Political uncertainty, business uncertainty and far too much use of that word starting with ‘B’, are demonstrably reiterated by numerous so-called informed individuals and media channels. For us ‘normal’ folk, these are the kind of distractions we really don’t need, and certainly don’t want. Yes, it exists, it is real, and we sometimes cannot escape the insipid, stomach-churning, tit-for-tat rhetoric and dialogue presented to us every day. However, we can step up and take control of the things we do to create a strong position for ourselves in life and business.
This article is not about the virtues of ‘if’, ‘when’ and ‘what’ will happen. As business owners, we have little control over proceedings; ironically, something we can also attribute to those that spend their days in the dark and dusty halls of Westminster. If they aren’t in control either, who is?
I have one answer – it’s ‘you’!
In my experience, running a business is never about uncertainty and let’s leave that to the aforementioned. It is about absolute certainty and being able to put those tangible building blocks in place to grow, build profits and improve lifestyles. We all went into business to do exactly that and, albeit a rather divisive and unsettling time, the entrepreneurial spirit inside of us is still strong with the potential to solidify our status as successful business people.
“My advice is to distance yourself away from the incomprehensible fear and stupidity of others in order to focus on you. Focus, enjoy, improve and develop every moment of your business and personal life.”
So, what should we be focusing on?
For a true understanding of where I recommend you focus, allow me to tell you a little about the work I do with clients.
Building a strong business is based on tangible facts, knowledge, insight, belief and strategy. It is about planning your success by having absolute clarity. Do you have a business plan? Do you have a sales and marketing strategy? Are you in control of your business costs? Do you have complete understanding of your financial situation? Do you know how you need to scale your business? Are you feeling like you are in control of your destiny and looking forward to initiating that exit/retirement strategy?
…what position do you find yourself in now?
Every business is unique, and my coaching is bespoke to that business. However, I follow a process and much of that process comes from my own experience of building a large food manufacturing business. The experience I gained has been further developed from six years of coaching other business people. In fact, I continually develop my tools to help business owners grow their businesses. Here is a very brief overview of the extensive work I do with them....
Company figures – First and foremost we conduct an historical financial analysis of the business model. This is absolutely necessary to understand how the business makes its money. It provides absolute clarity on the current financial position, and demonstrates scalability.
Orbit map – The ‘Orbit Map’ is a unique tool to show how the current operational aspects of the business can be scaled effectively. Many of my clients have experienced a rather euphoric moment when running through an Orbit Map.
Cash flow and forecasting – We look at the current financial situation to assess the strengths and weaknesses in the business. Understanding your cash flow and forecasting cash requirements is critical for achieving growth.
This is a very brief analysis of the work we do initially but, at this very point, we have 100% financial clarity. My clients know how much it costs to run their business every 60 seconds. We have clarified the good, the bad and indifferent and this enables us to plan effectively. The Orbit Map has demonstrated the scalability of the business, and we now need to put some tools and further actions in place. These actions focus on a number of areas.
Costs – First and foremost, can we reduce costs to increase profitability? Streamlining costs can impact positively on the bottom line but not to the detriment of operations, efficiency and opportunity. We have gained financial clarity, so we know exactly how to cost the services and products we sell, and we look at pricing to see how we can increase profits. I develop some very sound and detailed financial tools to help price effectively to, at the very least, maintain profitability but ultimately increase it.
Analysis – We need to understand where the opportunities arise for scaling the business. We look at KPI’s. Remember, we want to maintain clarity and measure performance. KPI’s allow us to measure continually against forecasts. We also need to appreciate opportunities, so we look at creating a gap analysis by studying historic sales in relation to potential markets. Where are the opportunities?
Products and Services – How we perform in the market place in which we trade is absolutely key to our success. Can we make improvements, diversify, better our service offering or develop our product range? The task is to develop a greater understanding of who else will buy from us, and who may want to buy more.
Sales & Marketing – The lifeblood of any business. Are we influencing the market, generating leads but, importantly, growing our reputation? We need a continuous flow of new and profitable business, but we also need to make sure, in a content- and review-driven world, we are influencing sales and building a brand. At this point we analyse our market potential and put in place a tangible and affordable monetary investment to build our reputation through marketing and to support our sales.
At this stage, my clients have financial clarity, a full understanding of costs, may have developed their products and services to improve sales and have a fully planned marketing strategy in place. They have a range of financial, sales and marketing tools that enable them to maintain absolute clarity around their business position and performance. Importantly, they most certainly have the confidence to forget all about that word, ‘uncertainty’.
They have absolute certainty, and know exactly how to scale their businesses.