• Measure your Business: 5 Tips for Making Figures your Friends

    If you want your business to thrive and grow, it must be cared for, tracked, measured, monitored…and nurtured. (1)

    How’s your business doing?

    How do you know? Have you measured your progress? Tracked your conversions, returns and referrals? Compared all numbers to previous periods?  Made adjustments and monitored their effects?

    If you’re like most business owners, you’re canned answer is “Good.” However, you probably have little evidence to back it up, and there’s usually one reason why:

    Tracking your business’s progress is boring and tedious. Plus, it makes you nervous; it’s much easier to coast along, assuming you’re improving every month. There is a fear that measurement will reveal areas that need improvement…or worse.

    All of this is understandable and natural. It’s comfortable to ignore what could be bad news and instead choose to live in the blissfulness of ignorance. However, if you want your business to be successful, to grow…you must measure what matters and use what you find to make adjustments. This is the most direct (and speedy) path to business growth.

    More than half of UK businesses don’t survive past five years,[1] and one contributing factor is the unwillingness of business owners to track their own progress (a.k.a. step on that virtual scale). Improvement is practically impossible without knowing what areas need improvement—and in what order and to what degree.

     

    Tips for Making Figures your Friends

    Tracking the progression (or regression) of your business can be a tricky habit to form. Not only can the undertaking be fear-inducing, it takes time. Here are some pieces of advice for getting starting and staying on-track with tracking:

    • Establish a starting point. Your second measurement will only give you as much information as your first measurement allows. So get going! Launch the analytics. Open a spreadsheet. Start recording this month’s net profits, new customers, returning customers, website visitors, new social media likes/follows/shares/Retweets, referrals, customer complaints, merchandise returns, lead time for order fulfilment, employee turnover, shipping costs…and whatever else will serve as an indicator of your business’s progress.
    • Define your focal points. Determine what three areas of your business are most integral to the fulfilment of its mission, then focus most intensely on those areas. Determine what number(s) will most accurately measure the performance of those areas. Put these at the top of your tracking list.
    • Set improvement goals. After you’ve gotten into the swing of recording your metrics of business performance, set goals for improvement. A 2% net profit increase or a 5% increase in employee retention over the next two years are examples of performance goals.
    • Stay committed. As your business grows, you will try new things and explore new markets. The only sure-fire way to know if any of this is working is to measure the results. AND the only sure-fire way to assign specific results to specific actions is to measure regularly (monthly). Skip your tracking exercises for even one month, and results will be skewed.
    • Utilise a syndicated service. As your tracking becomes more sophisticated, you are likely to benefit from the use of a syndicated tracking and measurement service. Google Analytics is just one example.

    It’s so easy to make excuses—to take a guess at how your business is doing. The unfortunate truth about this behaviour is that your business is likely to join the majority of start-ups laid to rest in the business graveyard.

    If you want your business to thrive and grow, it must be cared for, tracked, measured, monitored…and nurtured. Close attention to the numbers that matter will not only tell you if you’re on track, they will highlight areas in need of improvement so that your business can be the best it can be.

    Need more information on how you can track your business’s progress and use what you learn to grow it? Then let’s schedule a 30-minute consultation, in which we’ll discuss your unique business, your goals and the best way to achieve them. Contact me here.

    [1] RSA (a British commercial insurer)

  • Movie magic in the meeting room – get the popcorn out!

    35

    Business meetings have gotten a bad rep. Not all of them are pointless, but when you consider just how many are, it can be difficult to give the good ones any credit.

    In the U.S. alone, 11 million business meetings are conducted each day, and it is estimated that $37 billion is squandered every year on unnecessary meetings[1].

    So why all the senseless meetings? Why all the waste of time and money? My guess is habit and protocol. For millions of years, people have been coming together to solve problems—and at one time, when the ‘coming together’ was necessary to life and limb, they worked. There was a noted reason for the meeting. A problem had to be solved, or people would perish. As centuries and centuries have passed, the meeting has become less about solving problems and more about coming together just to say ‘we talked about the problem.’

    Action is no longer at the core of business meetings. The meeting has become the core of the meeting.

    How can you make your business meetings more productive?

    Think of it this way: We all love a good movie. We seem to learn more from a movie than we do from most business meetings, and yet the meeting is obligatory and the movie is for entertainment purposes. That just doesn’t seem right, does it?

    What if you could make your business meetings more like an engaging and entertaining movie? Do you think more people would actively participate and remain focused? Do you think more people would learn and go away inspired to make changes and achieve goals?

    So why not fashion your business meetings after movies? Here are a few things you can do to make this happen:

    • Schedule only necessary meetings. No one goes to see the same movie 52 times. So why would you hold the same, useless meeting every week of the year? Start by decreasing the frequency or the duration of these regularly scheduled meetings. Then, move onto scheduling meetings only when necessary.
    • Create a hook for each meeting. When every business meeting is announced, stir up anticipation by hinting that there’s something important to discuss, or that there’s something exciting to announce. You can be vague or specific—the choice is yours. The suspense will get people’s attention, even before the meeting starts.
    • Know your ending. At the beginning of every meeting, state the purpose of the meeting, along with what you intend to accomplish. This will keep attendees focused and motivated to achieve stated goals, and you will remain driven in a particular direction, with one specific goal in mind.
    • Stick to the plot. Make every attempt to stay true to the plot you’ve created for your meeting, and avoid going down rabbit trails. In order to accomplish this, manage the discussion to ensure that it always relates to the meeting’s goal. Getting sidetracked not only meddles with your meeting’s purpose, it eats up valuable time that you could be using to accomplish great things.
    • Choose a narrow cast of characters. Choose attendees in accordance with the purpose of the meeting. Not everyone needs to be involved in every meeting, and when you limit attendance to a need-to-know basis, individuals will feel more responsible for the outcome of what is discussed.
    • Encourage conflict. Every good movie has conflict and resolution…and learning by all involved is a predictable result. When a disagreement or difference in opinion arises, do not discourage it. Instead, ask attendees to weigh in on both sides so the full spectrum is represented. This is how change and forward movement happen.
    • Create a sense of urgency. Like an action flick, every meeting should generate a level of excitement that motivates people to move forward and enact the change that’s been talked about. Positive outcomes should be discussed, so everyone has a clear idea of what completing their tasks will do for themselves and for the organization. Make it clear that the sooner these tasks are completed, the sooner good things will happen.
    • By the end of the meeting, have a sequel in the works. People should not leave the meeting without a clear set of tasks to accomplish before the next meeting. Its purpose is to facilitate action, and therefore change. This can only happen if everyone understands his or her role and the importance of completing their assignments by a set deadline.

    Ideally, every meeting should be unique in that it won’t need to accomplish exactly the same thing as the meeting before it. If you’re hosting reruns, then something needs to change. One meeting should be titillating enough to spark action.

    Are you tired of serial business meetings that are simply perfunctory, with no real purpose? Are you wondering how you can make them more interesting, more productive…something that people look forward to and that feels like a wise investment of time? I encourage you to put the above tips to work, and then schedule a 30-minute consultation with me to take your business meetings to the next level. I think you’ll be thrilled at what a few changes can do to advance your business strategy.

    [1] http://meetingking.com/37-billion-per-year-unnecessary-meetings-share/

  • From Vision to Reality, with ACTION

    Business-Vision

    Search for advice on how to write a business strategy, and the results are overwhelming.

    Look for advice on how to take action, how to implement that strategy…and the results are as disheartening as hearing that 87% of businesses fail to execute their business strategies[1].

    This number is shocking, particularly when you consider how much effort is put into writing a business strategy…and how exciting the big ideas created there can be.

    But it’s not as shocking as this number:

    For every $1 billion spent on business strategy development, $109 million is wasted through failure to execute[2].

    Where does the excitement go?

    Why aren’t businesses converting that energy into action?

    Even among companies that don’t fail—companies that are considered to be “high performance companies,”—33% report delay in action, 34% fail to consistently address a lack of action, and 11% tolerate inaction on a long-term basis[3].

    And to repeat: they are the ones doing well. If your business could bring down those percentages for itself, just think how much you could accomplish.

    How can you do that? How can you create a culture of action among your team members, so that all of the great energy built into your business strategy gets translated to ACTION that increases efficiency and profits?

    Here is a bit of advice for taking the action necessary for implementing your business strategy:

    • View ACTION as a necessity, not as an option. There is only one thing that can bridge the gap between vision and reality, and that thing is targeted action that is aligned with the SMART goals you have set forth in your business strategy. Begin to view action in this way, and you’ll be less likely to procrastinate or to avoid it altogether.
    • See ACTION as more important than your business strategy. Yes, you read that correctly. Think about it: Isn’t a mediocre business strategy that is implemented more valuable than a brilliant business strategy that is not implemented? Just imagine the results you can experience when you implement a brilliant plan.
    • Stop putting perfection before ACTION. All too often, business owners adopt the belief that all operations, all products, all communications…must be 100% perfect before taking any action. They submerge themselves in self-help, in mentoring, in book-reading, and the procurement of mentoring before taking any action. This thinking generally means that no action will be taken, because nothing is ever perfect. Remember that adjustments can be made whilst marketing, whilst making connections, whilst building relationships…without wasting precious time.

    Perfect = Poverty!

    • Stop using the “I’m too busy” excuse. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day tasks of running (or starting up) a business. And sometimes this becomes so consuming that you’ll put it before executing your business strategy, thinking that you must complete those routine tasks in order to keep your business afloat. Always remember this: Without taking action, you won’t be busy for long. Your business will be non-existent. Ask yourself exactly how vital those daily and weekly tasks are. If they are indispensable, hire someone to cover them.
    • Act in the present. Do not dwell on what you should have done yesterday or last month. Do not think about what you will do next week. Instead, be very blunt with yourself about what you can accomplish now, in this moment. No matter if it’s making a phone call, writing an article, submitting a proposal, refocussing a team member…do it now.
    • Understand that ideas—and motivations—go stale. Remember that intense excitement you felt when you came up with your very first business idea? Well, maybe you don’t. You see, immediate action is necessary not just for getting things done, but for motivational and inspirational purposes, too. Every day that an idea sits in your mind without implementation equals a proportionate drop in interest. Before you know it, your brilliant idea doesn’t seem so brilliant any more. Motivation is gone. And you’re on to looking for alternate ideas that are, in all honesty, less likely to be as brilliant as your first. For these reasons, I recommend taking action immediately after your business strategy is written, so that ideas and excitement are fresh, and no opportunity dies in the bread drawer.
    • See ACTION as a competitive advantage. It’s easy to sit and think about what the competition might be doing right now, or wondering how you can match or out-do their actions. It takes courage, however, to focus less on what they’re doing and just do what you do best. Take that step, and believe that you are outdoing your competition with every decision to take action NOW…because statistics say they might not be doing that.
    • ACTION begets ACTION. Once you take action, you may find it difficult to stop taking action. The satisfaction (dopamine rush) you experience from accomplishing something you’ve envisioned is so powerful that you’ll go out of your way to look for more business-enhancing action. This is the only uphill path that will be as easy as a downhill one. It’s the road to success through action, and the more you get, the more you’ll want.
    • Disprove your own self-doubt. Fear and self-doubt are huge players in the condition of inactivity. The voice in your head will tell you, “That won’t work,” “You can’t do that,” “You’re wasting your time,” and more. Make it your objective to prove that voice wrong. Do this enough, and it will disappear completely, slinking into a corner and rarely coming out…as long as you remain active in your business strategy implementation.

    These are just a few pieces of advice you can use as motivation to take action—to take your business strategy from vision to reality. Understand, at all times, that without ACTION, your business strategy is useless. It will do nothing for you or your business. Without execution, the creation of your strategy was a waste of time and resources.

    Are you ready to take action? Are you clear on what actions to take? Contact me for a FREE 30-minute consultation, in which we’ll talk about your next move, and the motivation to get it done.

    [1] http://www.businessknowhow.com/manage/thirteener.htm

    [2] https://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Business-Solutions/PMI_Pulse_2014.ashx

    [3] Harvard Business Review, March 2015, Donald Sull, Rebecca Homkes, Charles Sull

  • Sat Nav for Business Growth Strategy

    Isabel Knich coaching

    Your business growth strategy is what you want and need to do to achieve the growth you desire.  Is it devised after thorough and extensive industry and market research to identify what is required to increase your access to more customers, more talent and more capital—the three things that most companies need to grow their business.

    As we have discussed in earlier blogs, in order for your business growth strategy to succeed you need to have some key elements in place:

    • You need to know WHY you’re in business…your desire.
    • You need to establish a clear VISION for where you’re going…your destination.
    • You need to identify your core VALUES that will show HOW you are going to deliver your vision…your drivers.

    After you have put these elements in place, it’s time to create your PLAN:  WHAT you’re going to do to move toward realising your vision.

    Your plan is the map showing the route you need to take to get you to your desired destination.  It sounds obvious to have a map or to use a sat nav to get to a place you have never been to before, but it is astounding the number of businesses who don’t have any sort of plan for getting to their desired destination. But then, many businesses also don’t know where they are heading. Remember that a having a vision in place is crucial.

    In many cases, stopping to take the time to create a plan isn’t a priority for management.  However, as you may have experienced in your car, finding your way when you are lost without a map is really very hard. You need that map; you need that sat nav—you need it to make the plan that will get you there.

    So what sort of plan do you need to create?  There are many different types of plans that you could use. The best ones, however, are those that are clear, short and easy to follow.  They should plainly state your destination, which can vary depending on the time frame, but the goals or outcomes that you want to achieve should be clearly stated as objectives.

    The specific strategic goals in your plan are then the places you know you need to get to on route to reach your final destination. They are your pit stops; the necessary stopovers that will contribute to the success of the arrival at your final destination (your vision).  For each goal, it is important that the objective is clearly stated with a timeframe (for more information about setting SMART goals, click here).  After all…

    A goal without a plan is just a dream.

    Do you want to turn your business’s dreams into reality? If so, then read on to learn how you can achieve your business growth goals with the help of a strategic plan…your Sat Nav for your business.

    Sat Nav for your Business

    As any good sat nav should, your plan will represent the fastest route by which you can get to your desired destination. It will help you to stay on track and, most importantly, get you back on track if you lose the right road along the way.

    To keep you focused on the right path, your plan should include the statement of your why, your vision and values. These help to keep the focus on the bigger picture and create a greater context for the actions that you and your team need to take to achieve your vision through your plan.

    Here are a few points to flesh out what I’m talking about:

    • Every strategic goal should have a champion—that is, someone who is committed publically to making it happen. The goal champion is accountable for the achievement of the goal (albeit not necessarily for all of the actions to ensure its delivery).
    • Every strategic objective or goal should be accompanied by specific milestones to achieve it over the months ahead. This helps create focus points along the way.
    • The entire business plan should be reviewed regularly with the team, (monthly at a minimum) to ascertain whether the work toward each objective is advancing and what obstacles need to be overcome to keep moving forward.
    • Progress on actions taken for each goal should be measured every month to continue progress in each area.
    • All employees, not just ‘the team,’ should be made aware of the business growth plan. If people know where they are heading and that there is a plan to follow to get there, everyone is much more likely to want to engage and support the champions for each goal so that the objectives are delivered.

    A business growth action plan is a well-defined and specific step-by-step set of actions for implementation. Whilst you may go off-course some of the time, your plan will help you to stay focussed on where you want to get to and help you get back on track and determine the next action. With the right plan, this creates the structure and discipline for efficiency (doing things well) and effectiveness (doing the right things) to achieve your goals and vision. Your plan—like a sat nav—will always be there to guide you and take you to where you have decided you need to go.

    Are you ready to design your plan for WHAT you need to do to realise your business growth strategy? Or are you ready to improve a plan that perhaps hasn’t been working so well for you? You may be wondering where to start, what road to take first, and how to strategise your route for the fastest and most effective way to get to your destination…your goals and vision. Please contact me via email or phone for a free 30-minute consultation. We’ll talk about how you can get clear on the plan for growing your business, with a sat-nav-type guidance system that will guide your business in the direction of unprecedented success.

     

     

  • Are You Brave Enough to Develop your Leadership Skills?

    Facing the challengeAs a business leader you will have spent time learning some hard skills to be effective at managing your business. For instance: technical skills to deliver your product or service, managing the supply chain, basic accounting skills, budgeting, ensuring compliance in your industry, marketing and sales skills and many similar functions.

    What you may not have done whilst running and growing your business is spend time mastering soft skills that support your ability to communicate effectively, prioritise tasks and create aligned high performance teams. Unfortunately, the perception is often that “soft skills” are, well…soft and fluffy, however they are just as crucial to business success as the more recognized “hard skills”.

    Make no mistake learning and developing these so called soft skills is anything but soft. Learning these leadership skills is extremely challenging as it requires you to step out of your comfort zone and change your thinking, beliefs and behaviours to get the results that you want.

    So I always ask leaders before they embark upon a leadership skills programme with me:“How brave are you?”

    • Are you brave to take the right decisions as a leader, even if they are not the easiest?

    • Are you brave enough to let go of the levers of power to allow your staff to take on greater responsibility?

    • Are you brave enough to listen, consider and accept someone else’s opinion?

    • Are you brave enough to be responsible and put your hand up when things don’t go as planned?

    • Are you brave enough to be accountable and do whatever it takes to get the task done – no excuses?

    • Are you brave enough to have a meaningful conversation and ask your employees what they really think?

    If you want to be a great leader these are just some of the questions that you will need to ask yourself every day to lead you people and business to success.

    “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Churchill

    So what are the key soft leadership skills that you will need to master to become a great leader?

    1) Promote change – Want to, be willing to and believe that change is possible. Change starts from within changing your mind set and then changing the mind set within the organisation. Be the change you want to see.

    2) Inspire and motivate otherscreate a vision that is compelling so that employees have a purpose and know that what they do has an impact on customers and communities.

    3) Be authentic – tell the truth to your staff and always walk your talk.

    4) Manage yourselfself-awareness brings its own rewards and the more that you can manage yourself and the better you will be able to manage and lead others.

    5) Drive for results and be accountable – always do what you say that you are going to do and be accountable to your staff and customers. Focus on getting results not giving or accepting reasons. Make things happen!

    6) Be responsible – be willing to own up to mistakes if you make them. Take responsibility for your actions.

    7) Communicate powerfully and prolifically – whatever the method: 1:1 conversation, team meetings, email messages, phone or Skype calls, or anything else, just communicate regularly with your staff.

    8) Build relationships – we live in the era of connectivity and collaboration. The stronger your relationships with the members of your team, your customers and suppliers, others in your industry, and your community the better a leader you will be.

    9) Empower others – listen, support and encourage your team to step out of their comfort zone. Look for talented employees and give them the chance to learn and develop new skills. You are training them to become your company’s next generation of great leaders.

    10) Be focused and committed – learn to prioritise the important but not urgent tasks and commit to getting them done.

    11) Innovate – continually look for how you can improve and do things better, in your company, in your community, in the world.

    12) Look for solutions – don’t accept problems or moaners in your company– always focus on supporting your staff to find the solutions.

    So how brave are you? Are you willing to step up and work on developing your soft leadership skills and being the best leader you can be?

    Contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation to find out how you can develop your leadership skills to help you accelerate the growth of your business.

  • Vision, Critical for your Business Strategy

    Vision Strategy Innovation Signpost Shows Business Leadership And Ideas

    If you’ve ever planned a business trip, you will understand that knowing your destination is essential to making it a productive endeavour. Without knowing where you are heading, you might end up wandering the globe indefinitely searching for the right conference room.

    On the other hand, maybe you have set out on a road trip without a particular destination in mind. These days can be fun if you have no specific goal in mind and the intention is to just wander around seeing where you end up and enjoying the ride as you go along.

    Now whilst meandering along on a road trip can have its benefits, let’s be serious: your business growth strategy is not intended to be an adventure in wandering, it is intended to help you arrive at a predetermined place of your choosing.

    Once you’ve determined WHY and are inspired to move forward, the next step is to establish specifically WHERE you are going—in the form of a clear and ambitious destination. Your business strategy will span the gap between WHY, which is a belief, and WHERE, which is the vision of where you wish to arrive.

    Having a Vision is essential to creating and delivering a business growth strategy that will work; however, not just any vision will do. Consider these points before moving forward:

    Your vision must be compelling to your staff. When any team works hard (and works together) to win, you can presume that they share the same vision. Sharing the same vision as a team means travelling in one common direction, toward a common goal. And there’s a way to encourage every team member to do so: Provide them with a compelling vision. It must be something they want to achieve. If the vision is exciting and your team members share common values with your business, you are more likely to accomplish your goal because everyone will get behind the effort.

    Your vision must be big and inspiring. You’ve heard about short-term goals and how important they are to progress. This is different. This is about your main vision for what your brand will accomplish, big-picture and long-term. When a vision is too small (i.e. too “safe”), people tend to get stuck on small obstacles because the vision isn’t desirable or grandiose enough to inspire them to push through or work around those obstacles. When NASA communicated its vision to land a man on the moon, they did it. They probably wouldn’t have accomplished that had they simply endeavoured to create a vehicle that could fly into space.

    Remember: Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you will land among the stars.

    Small Vision = Small Result. Big Vision = Big Achievement.

    Your vision must be clear. It can be tempting to name a vision that’s vague, because if the destination isn’t clear, we tend to feel like “getting close” equals success. To the contrary, having a clear vision with well-defined anticipated results will provide you with clearer answers to choices, a clearer path to the next step, and a business strategy more clearly understood, because it’s more specific in what it intends to accomplish.

    Your vision must come before your strategy. This was mentioned earlier, but it’s worth repeating. You will have difficulty arriving at a destination that has not been identified. For this reason, establish your vision first, and then build your business strategy around achieving it. Reverse this process, and your focus will naturally fall on the strategy and how difficult the obstacles seem. There will be no motivation (vision) for navigating around them.

    As you develop a vision statement for your company, think about how you want others to see your business in the future. Some of the most compelling business vision statements are about how to improve or inspire customers’ lives, or about offering best-quality products and services. Below are some great examples of well-known company vision statements:

    Amazon: “To be the world’s most customer-centric company.”
    Ben and Jerry’s: “Making the best possible ice cream, in the nicest possible way”
    Disney: “To make people happy.”
    LinkedIn: “To connect the world’s professionals and make them more productive and successful.”
    Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.”

    Are you clear about your business vision? Do you feel that you have the tools necessary for discovering it? Often, a bit of outside help can be just what you need to move you toward uncovering your destination. Contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation to become clearer on the vision that will fuel your business growth strategy.

  • Mind-Set Change: for Business Growth

    Change mindsetThere are many different reasons why business growth strategies fail. A common one is having an organisational or team mind-set that doesn’t match the strategy you wish to pursue.

    An organisational mind-set or paradigm is made up of the collective conscious and unconscious thinking and beliefs of the people who work there: about themselves, their colleagues and the company itself.

    If business growth slows or stalls, it’s often an indicator that the current mind-set is not aligned with of the organisation vision and goals. This can pose quite a challenge, since our mind-set is often buried in the subconscious, and like a computer operating system with a virus, if there is a poor mind-set this can sabotage your efforts.

    When this happens, it’s time to face the reality:

    What got you here isn’t going to get you there.

    When you first established your business you had certain beliefs, thoughts and a mind-set that enabled you to grow your business to where it is today. The thing is this: to get to the next level of business growth, your thinking and beliefs need to evolve and change because your current mind-set is not going to help you reach the next level of success.

    Two things must happen in order for business growth to continue:
    1. The thinking/mindset of all involved must shift. Old beliefs in the organisation need to be uncovered and replaced with a new empowering mind-set that matches the business vision and goals of the company. Creating a new mind-set requires that everyone involved changes their way of thinking—and this must start with changing the thinking of the senior management team. When thinking changes at the top, change and growth can occur throughout the organisation.

    2. Everyone involved needs to believe that those shifts will cause positive changes. Many times, when a vision is big, people first adopt the belief that they can do it…but then very quickly they start doubting themselves and others, fearing failure and entertaining uncertainty at every turn. These limiting beliefs lead to a focus on negative outcomes and turn into realities. To get positive results, those limiting beliefs need to be identified and then changed.

    In life and in business, when we aren’t getting desired results, we try to do something different. Often, that “something different” doesn’t work either. Then what? If new actions aren’t delivering the results you want, you must dig deeper to uncover what you and your team really think about the situation. Are fears, doubts and uncertainties holding you back or delivering the negative scenarios you are focussing on?

    In order to create new results, you need to start by thinking differently. When you change your thinking, you behave differently and take different actions. We all know this because we have experienced it at some point in our lives.

    The same is true in a company. To deliver your business growth strategy, you need to think differently, as a collective unit. Every successful business has undergone changes as it grew—it altered from what it once had been. And of all the people involved in growing the business had to think in new ways because…

    Changes in Beliefs  =  New Actions  =  New Results

    Before you decide to take any different action, look into the following:
    1. your mindset (your beliefs)
    2. the team mindset (collective set of beliefs)

    Do those beliefs support your business vision and strategy? Will they lead to success for your current-day business goals…or were they only effective for the goals your business once had?

    The beliefs that are holding back your business strategy and its growth are made up of a number of things, including thoughts that have gone unspoken, paradigms that are considered unchangeable and subconscious philosophies that have been long-held. Excuses are symptoms of these limiting beliefs, so where an excuse exists, a belief needs to be changed.

    Awareness brings its own rewards. If you start to recognise your own and your organisation’s limiting beliefs, this means they can be changed. You’ll find that when you shift your mindset to support your business goals, you’ll have an easier time thinking positive thoughts and believing in yourself and your team’s potential.

    Of course it can be difficult to see the ways in which you’re holding yourself back from the inside. If you would like to find out how you can shift your limiting beliefs to deliver your business growth strategy, contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation that will impact your results.

  • Every Business Growth Strategy needs a Why

    What is your why?

    Does your organisation have a business growth strategy? Is it the guide for all your business activities and supported by clear intentions and purpose? Or is it the product of obligation?

    There are two types of business growth plans. Allow me to explain:

    1. The business growth strategy that is drafted to answer questions asked by lenders and investors and to tick the box “Yes we have a business plan”: This strategy is created solely for the purpose of satisfying the demands of people outside your organisation. It is usually very detailed, pages long and extremely dull. Once created, your 25-50 page business growth plan then languishes on a bookshelf forgotten and gathering dust.

    2. The alternative business growth strategy is one created for and by those within the organisation, to focus them on fulfilling strategic aims, as well as the purpose of the organisation: This business strategy is usually short (1-5 pages), and often visually centred and definitively designed to inspire. This business strategy is not sat lost on shelves or hard drives, but is ever-present, referred to regularly and used to guide and motivate staff to implement and deliver the strategic goals of the business.

    Is your Business Growth Strategy Destined for Failure?
    Sadly, most business strategies fall under category #1 – the business plan drafted simply to satisfy an obligation. This type of growth plan is generally a list of what you are going to do and how you plan to achieve certain targets. More often than not this type of business plan is lacking a clear purpose or a clear reason why your company is doing what it’s doing. Without a clear why this type of business growth strategy is likely to fail.

    Your why is the passion in your business. For a business to grow it not only needs structure (e.g. a typical business plan), it also needs passion to motivate staff to want to accomplish that growth.

    Your business growth strategy must be derived from your why. Without a clear purpose for coming to work, people are just turning up. With a strong sense of why, your staff members have a clear reason or purpose for coming to work and evidence proves that people who enjoy coming to work are more productive and creative.

    Once you have a clear why, your business growth strategy is then simply a description of the route (the how and what) your company intends to follow in order to create that future.

    Your Business Why:

    Why are you in business? Why do you believe what you’re doing is important? Why do you believe you are changing people’s lives?

    Why are you investing a large portion of your life in this business? And why is the thing you believe in driving it?

    The answers to these questions will help to form your why. Your why is shaped by the thing you love to do (your passion) and the thing that you wish to change. Making money is never a viable why. Search deeper for what having the money means to you.

    The why does not come from looking ahead at what you want to achieve and figuring out an appropriate strategy to get there. It is not born out of any market research and it does not come from extensive customer interviews. Your why comes from deep within yourself.

    “Great leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand
    they must win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.”
    Simon Sinek

    Why is the starting point for creating your business growth strategy. Once you are clear on your why, you will be able to identify what you will do to realise it and how you will do it.

    The outcomes (or what you will do) can be mapped out easily because when you know why you’re doing it, you’ll be clearer on how to achieve your vision and on how to differentiate your business from the competition. Your how will be based on your mission, your company values and the people in your organisation.

    It is crucial that you do some business soul-searching to identify your why before creating your business growth strategy. However, once you have done this, you may be surprised at how simple it is to draft that strategy (and to carry it out), because you have a clear path of intention.

    Do you have a business growth strategy? Are you concerned that it isn’t fit for purpose? There are steps you can take to inject the right elements into your existing business strategy, or you can rewrite it so that it better supports what you really want to achieve in your business.

    If you would like help with your business growth strategy or business plan, you can contact me by email or through our Contact Us page. I would be happy to spend 45 minutes with you on the phone discussing your business growth strategy—to see how it can be improved to help you grow your business to the next level.

    Failing to plan is planning to fail.