The 7 pillars of business success that ensure you achieve your ambitions
As an owner manager, it’s not rocket science that to achieve your ambitions you need to have a vision and a clear and well articulated plan of how you’re going to get there. You’ll face many challenges along the way and you’ll need to possess mental strength, empathy and energy to get you through the exciting and challenging times which lie ahead. You’ll also need to make sure that you have all angles covered to ensure that you mitigate the challenges and make the most of the opportunities.
We believe that in every business there are 7 pillars which, when focussed on, keep it strong, healthy and ready for any challenge.
Pillar #1 – Strategy & Leadership
Growth is a risky business and the greater the risk, the more important it is to have a plan that serves as a route map. Owner-managed businesses with business plans perform better than those that don’t, showing superior growth in sales and profits.
As an owner manager, you’ll likely be used to spending the lion’s share of your time inyour business, either delivering your core services or products or managing the day to day operations. You’ll be used to fighting fires, managing the odd crisis or sudden influx of work, not to mention staff holidays, employment issues and cash flow management, to name a few. By far the most important task for the owner-manager is to work onthe future strategy for the business. Yet the typical owner-manager spends only 10% of his or her time on building the business for tomorrow.
For your business to grow both in size and capability, then you as an owner manager need to make time to work on your business and develop leaders within the team. Arguably as this is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face as part of your growth, you constantly need to be looking forwards with an eye on the future for both your business and yourself.
Do you have a plan in place to spend time on your business and develop the leaders in your business that will ensure future success?
Pillar #2 – Marketing
Meeting a customers’ needs is fundamental to business success. Without understanding the needs of customers and developing a product or service that can meet them, making sales will be an uphill struggle.
Too many small businesses diversify too early and lack market focus. The fastest growing and most profitable small and medium sized firms often achieve those results by focusing on their core products/services. Their product or service is differentiated and they have a better understanding of their customers’ needs.
How much time do you spend on understanding the needs of your customers?
Pillar #3 – Sales
There are many approaches to sales, but one which is so often overlooked is keeping it close to home. Depending on your sector and of course your product or service, it’s not just about adding new businesses and contacts to your prospect list. A good place to start is with your existing customer base, identifying why they use you and looking at what you can do to work with them more. After all, if you’ve spent time building great relationships, keep close to them and make sure you get the most out of them.
Part of your sales strategy should be about identifying the opportunities which are close to home and being able to articulate what it is that you deliver so well that makes you stand out from your competition.
Have you got a clear grasp on your sales strategy? Are you developing relationships, regularly courting feedback and acting on it?
Pillar #4 – Operations
As you grow your business, maintaining the passion, drive and energy to deliver a great product or service can be a challenge in itself. As well as ensuring you’ve got the right people in place to support your growth, you need to be sure that you have the systems and processes in place to delivery on your promise. It needs to be both scalable and adaptable to change to give you the best shot of achieving your ambitions.
Are the operational systems in place fit for purpose and sustainable for growth?
Pillar #5 – Team
This, of course, is absolutely integral to your growth and success. It doesn’t matter how inspirational you are or how clear you are in what you want your business to be and where you want it to go, as you grow your future success it will become increasingly about the people you bring together in the business. To get where you want to be you need to build and manage your team, ensuring you’re always getting the best out of them, harnessing their ideas and creativity and developing leaders for the future.
It’s not all about you! How confident are you in your team and are you doing enough to develop them and capitalise on their creativity?
Pillar #6 – Technology
Systems, processes, functionality, reliability, the list goes on. Whether you’re looking at the front end delivery of your product or service, the back office functionality, the CRM or how you innovate new ideas, these days technology will be one of the biggest ongoing investments you make. As your business grows and opportunities arise, you need to be sure that the technology in your business is integrated and linked to the business objectives. It’s also vital that what you’re investing in today is still going to be relevant in the future.
No matter what the business, there will be opportunities for greater efficiencies, improved control and the ability to have a robust platform that can support the future growth of the business.
Are you confident in the technology within your business?
Pillar #7 – Financial & Legal
Of course, few businesses achieve the dizzy heights of their ambitions without having a stronghold on their numbers and ensuring that they have all the relevant legal coverage to protect them today and in the future.
Having no financial strategy and inadequate financial controls will act as a serious drag on your performance, and even worse, put the business at real risk of failing.
Too often cash management is reactive rather than forward looking. Business owners often assume that growing sales and profitability are the key to success. They’re obviously important but what if the growth causes a huge cash shortfall? Much better to be aware of the implications of a given strategy in advance rather than when it’s too late. Have you got enough cash or access to funding to continue to thrive and grow your business? And if not, what are you going to do about it?
At Wilson Partners we have spent the last 12 months developing a tool which combines over half a million hours experience and expertise across over 1,000 businesses to provide you, and us, with a much greater insight into your business.