This week I wanted to expand upon the subject from the last transmission. It generated a great response and focused on the words ‘confidence’ and ‘clarity’ and why those who look for business support need both a coach and a consultant to maximise the advice they are given, and opportunities going forward.
The response I received was very interesting, and presented more questions that I felt needed further explanation. Having confidence and clarity is an obvious place any business owner needs to get to, but understanding how a coach helps to condition the mind of the business owner, and how the consultant analyses the potential within the business needs further explanation.
I have been working with many businesses throughout the region, and as you can imagine every business is totally unique. Longevity, size, industry, various levels of success and of course the personalities of the business leaders differentiate hugely, and each business requires a completely bespoke service, but an injection of the same fundamentals that make a business successful.
Start to take control
The first part of the job for me is to get a comprehensive understanding of the business. Looking at the concerns and ambitions of the owner (confidence levels) alongside a full set of financials helps to fully understand the position of the business at that time (creating clarity). The first meeting very often highlights opportunities which are sometimes significant, creating a ‘light bulb’ moment for the owner, demonstrating immediate opportunities that can be exploited very easily.
It is firstly important to look at the current trading status of the business, and very often I uncover opportunities to improve the trading conditions, looking at the cost structure, gross profit, net profit, any profit centres, innovation and potential areas which need greater focus. It isn’t until we look at the Orbit Map process that we really start to uncover the potential of the business and put some tangible and realistic goals and strategies together. At this point, you can visibly see the increased confidence in the owner, but also the first signs of an owner realising that taking greater control over the destiny of the business means you need a much stronger knowledge around your financial situation.
It’s not about fear, it’s about clarification
A fear of the financial situation is totally untenable but in fact fear very often turns into focus when the reality of the financial situation is fully analysed and understood. This process can seem negative, but on the contrary, it is extremely positive - uncovering areas where the business isn’t as efficient as it could be and therefore potentially losing revenue. A simple re-evaluation followed by rectifying the issue leads to a problem solved. However, the exciting aspect of looking at the finances is uncovering potential for greater profits, or areas where the business could do so much more by strengthening its offering, or indeed it could be something as simple as maximizing its conversion rates by injecting added value to the business model. It is rare that I come across a business that doesn’t have immediate potential to make significant improvements without having to make wholesale changes.
Simplification is a key term I use and businesses, as they age, do become more complex in areas they don’t need to be. Unravelling the complexities, and formulating efficient operational changes around the processes the business adopts, is actually very interesting and satisfying in equal measures. It’s amazing just how much time is wasted on tasks that can be simplified and, when you adopt new methods, people become more engaged in cutting out wastage which in itself produces clarity.
Now we fully understand the finances and opportunities going forward, what’s next?
This is the element of consulting I simply love working on. It’s the time where you start to see the confidence of the business owner grow significantly. Having analysed the finances, uncovered significant opportunities, and devised a strategy going forward for the business, you need to maintain that focus with as much simplicity as you possibly can. If you have ever studied a P&L, Balance Sheet or set of monthly management figures derived from your typical accounts package, you will know just how frustrating this is to really understand the position of your business, but importantly to forecast future performance. My role is to help create that control which these normal accounts packages cannot provide, and then to extend the control through an excellent set of tools an owner can use to FULLY understand their business moving forward. Now you have that focus, you want to be able to measure the figures against your strategy easily.
What tools do we put in place?
For those that work with me regularly on their businesses, they will fully appreciate my use of extremely informative tools that cover cash flow forecasts, budget forecasts, costing sheets, stock management systems, improving purchasing systems and operational procedures and the many other bespoke tools I adopt specifically for their business. These simplify the process of taking control over your business, and probably the most important tools any business owner can have in their arsenal. The point at which the owner fully understands that they have the tools to manage what may have been confusing in the past is a hugely positive and powerful tipping point within the business. It isn’t just about the control aspect, it is about how the business owner has confidence in pushing forward knowing they can fully understand where they are, measure how they are performing, and benchmark their business model for the future. At this point any fear they had starts to fade rapidly.
Confidence comes with clarity
How many of you truly understand your business model, or have the level of control you need to be absolutely clear on your direction forward? How many of you have a comprehensive understanding of the financial aspects within your business? Can you identify wastage, operational issues and other negatives within your business that need rectifying, and positive solutions moving forward? The success of your business is based on your understanding, your confidence and reducing any fear you may have around your potential. This is exactly what the combination of coaching and consultancy provides!
If you would like clarity in your business, and you feel that lack of clarity is breaking down your confidence levels to move forward positively, allow me to help you to find clarity and build your confidence towards achieving significant growth.