All of us are running well-oiled business machines – right?!
Of course not – we all have times when we feel out of control – when it seems like we have created a business monster that is controlling us and is never satisfied.
Some of us seem to go from ‘feast to famine’ – one moment we can’t keep up, and the next we don’t seem to have anything we need to do
Even big businesses that you would think must have it all under control by now are not as great as you might think looking in from outside!
So how do we start to gain back control from the monster we have created?
Perhaps a time management course is the answer? – well it might help and it is important to manage your time but we need to look at some fundamentals first
Getting control over a business is about doing the Right things and doing things Right
It is a continuous cycle of things we need to build into habits – it consist mainly of Direction, Focus, Goal Setting, working out what it takes to get there, making time every day to move towards that goal and reviewing performance against that goal regularly and adapting as necessary
We have covered Direction and Focus in two other blogs and slideshares – Which Way Now? and What am I doing? – where we understood the importance of strong shared core values and core purpose, and also the importance of focusing on something scaleable with the right cash flow model.
Now we need to set ourselves a challenge – what are we shooting for? If we know what we are aiming for then we can decide whether we are on track and whether what we are doing will directly help us get there
Try this exercise: Imagine a journalist is doing a write-up of your business in 10 years time. First of all, who are they working for (local newspaper, National, International?…). And what are the key things they are saying – what are you known for, what milestones have you reached, what awards have you won, what do your employees think, how big are you (turnover, staff), what kind of customers have you got and how many, what kind of products and services are you providing, where are your offices/ premises, are they owned or leased………
Take the 5 or so most exciting snippets into powerful descriptions that bring the business description to life
Now you have this – can you pick out a ‘stretch’ goal? Something that is linked back to the core purpose. This can be numbers based or more qualitative:
- Become a £1m turnover business with 20% net profits by year 10
- Build a business that could be sold for £5m in year 10
- Become the business most known in Worcestershire for helping SMEs build on-line relationships
- Take 10% market share from our leading competitor by …
- Be seen as the Rolls Royce of catering equipment industry in the UK
- Become number 1 or number 2 in our key market sectors..
So how’s this helping me with control you ask?
Well now we have a goal that is linked back to our core purpose and values, and we have agreed our focus; we can start to work out what we must do to get there – which means we can start to control what needs to be done.
So if we want a turnover of £1m and we are focusing on a key retainer service that is £250 per month per customer, we know we need to have around 333 customers on the service
To make it more tangible, we need to set a milestone along the way – the 3 year point is ideal. So if we already have 25 customers, it might be reasonable to set ourselves the goal of 80 at the 3 year point
So we now know we need 50 new customers over 3 years – say 12 this year (37), 18 in year 2 (55) and 25 in year 3?
So 12 this year – that means 1 new per month (assuming we don’t lose any!)
So what do we need to do to get 1 new per month?
If at the 3 year point we need to look after 80 customers, how does the business need to look? – how many staff, what skills/ roles, what partners, premises, equipment etc etc?
What does that mean for each of the years in between?
These then become our priority activities
So now we know the important things we need to work on. We need to make time each day to work on them – because they will move us a step closer to our goal.
If you ask yourself every day whether you have moved closer you can keep yourself accountable
If you find yourself working on things that aren’t moving you closer, then they either don’t need to be done (in which case stop doing them) or perhaps they can be done by someone else – either in your team or outsourced.
So if you want to gain control – you need to know what things are important and work on them, and you need to recognise what things are less important and find other ways to get them done
If you get in the habit of asking “Will it move me closer to my goal?” then you will begin to regain control
If you develop some measures linked to your goal (e.g number of meetings held with prospects per month, number of telephone calls, number of new clients, average sale per client etc) then you can track progress each month – and adjust as you go along!
If you need help with any of this or want trusted business owners to bounce ideas off and keep you on track then why not consider the range of services provided by BizSmart?
If you would like to listen to the webinar on this topic Click Here