Build your business to beat the economy
August 23, 2012 1 Comment
This week we highlighted a few articles about the turbulent economic situation, which for most people was not ground breaking news. Whether it has impacted your job, business or that of someone you know everyone has felt the impact of the economic crisis.
So the question for many is how do we build sustainability and growth in such turbulent times? Well you can invent the next iPod and have the marketing team of Apple. If you do not have that then the following items will help.
- Understand your business’ core strengths. Many times companies get so attached to the product they forget that this is the outcome of their core strengths. Knowing your businesses true capabilities will help broaden your perspectives in the business planning and strategy sessions.
- Have a vision and develop a business plan. We all talk strategy and it is essential to your future, and this comes from a vision and planning. Understanding what will define your success and then what will be the required capital, costs and possible limitations to get there is important. Ensuring that the business plan is in place it will help to make certain you utilize your revenue and long –term capital properly and if you have a vision but no road map, you will just continue to wander aimlessly.
- Build a complete and aligned strategy. Many times our strategies are solely market focused and in doing so we miss the rest of the value chain. You cannot penetrate South America if you do not have an HR strategy to ensure the right people, or a technology strategy to ensure that there is sufficient productivity to handle the increased sales. Do not ignore aspects of your business and be single focused as a missed area may cause you to fall like a house of cards.
- Have the right people. A former leader of mine lacked experience in many areas of our business and yet lead the company through some of its most profitable years. He did this by checking his ego, understanding his team’s needs and weaknesses and getting the best people to fill them. His role was to make sure we understood the journey and all headed in the right direction. If you think you must do it all then you have the wrong people, if you think you can do it all then you might be the wrong person.
- Aim High. Far too often we aim to what we feel is achievable so we can guarantee “success” but then we limit our growth. Aiming high will inspire others and help your plan move quicker. Aiming also means forecasting and then means often and with intelligent information. Make sure that forecasting includes tracking deviations and working with them. As one friend often says “It is better to aim at the stars and miss, then aim at crap and win.”
- Remain Customer Focused. You may be able to neglect certain areas of your business short term, but you can never neglect your customers. Treat them fair, reward loyalty and live up to your mistakes. Do not give them a reason to find an alternative to your company.
- Patience. Building a good plan, strategy and having the right people will lead to success, but not overnight. Patience is very difficult especially in tough times. Make small adjustments as data comes in and have indicators to move forward. You may need to make a change in course at some time but make sure you do not do it too soon, as taking too many turns will leave you going in circles.
Building a strong company is tough; building it in a weak economy is tougher. This 7 items we listed are very important, take the time and drill down on these and you will definitely increase your odds of success.Cheers, Lorne