How to Build a Better Business

Challenges businesses have

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5 Practical steps to drive business success

  1. Be clear why you come to work- motivation matters.

  2. Understand what your good at and do more of it – stop what your not good at.

  3. Set clear outcomes.

  4. Monitor, Measure and Automate – improvement comes from improved knowledge and systems.

  5. Your time is critical – prioritise.

1. Why you come to work

  • You can fool many people but you can’t fool yourself, our motivation - both emotional and physical - is driven by why we do, what we do.

  • Many businesses are just wage/salary replacements – even some companies earning $5 - $10 million, when said and done, are a place to be, rather than businesses with a clear purpose.

  • If you’re a leader in the firm, people follow not what you do, but why you do it.  They will draw inspiration from why you do what you do, or disappointment when your motivation seems to be from behaviours/values that they do not believe in.

  • Share and understand with your team, your agreed values and what you stand for as a firm.

  • Share and promote your values so customers and staff know what your business stands for and why you do what you do.

2. Understand what you're good at

  • What value do you provide to your customers, that others cannot or do not?
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  • Price should reflect the value provided, not just cost plus margin.

  • Differentiate your offer – if not on product then on image, service or relationship.

  • Communicate your value – to suppliers, buyers and influencers.

  • Stop doing things that people do not value – ask your staff, customers and family.

3. Set clear outcomes

  • Setting Goals and planning how you will achieve them, is not just for big business, its for every business! why?  

  • Because we all carry an invisible strategy that we implement daily, when clear goals and plans are absent

  • Four key areas to consider

    • Financial – retention vs dividends, profitability and revenue?

    • Customer/Stakeholder – why people will do business with us?

    • Key business processes – what do we need to be worlds best at, sales, marketing, R&D, manufacturing, ICT?

    • People & Development – how are we supporting the right people to stay?  How are our systems supporting or hindering our development?

  • Get external advice from experienced people who will tell you the bold truth not pat your ego.

4. Measure, monitor, simplify and automate

  • Set up a clear measurement thats tell you, how much of something has been achieved, across the four key areas (financial, customer, process and development).

  • Monitor areas of key concerns and actively be involved, don’t own it all, delegate, but be interested and let people know you are!

  • Simplify your measures and split your measurement into lead and lag.  Lag measures are usually quantitative and tell you what you have achieved e.g. Revenue/Profitability last month/quarter.  Lead measures are usually qualitative and tell you what may happen e.g. customer satisfaction.

  • Set clear budgets and hold key people accountable for them – reward based on results, when you can.

  • Automate measurement where relevant – system investment must increase; information accuracy, speed of access and improve decision making.

5. Your time is important - prioritise

  • If a meeting does not add value to your firm or your time – re-scope or discontinue.

  • By 9am, know exactly what your key priorities are for the day.

  • Leave 1 hour a day for interruption – if you don’t need it, go home early!!

  • Make time for you in your day – put in exercise as a meeting, put lunch in your diary, put in what time you're leaving the office.

  • Leave a few minutes in the day to check off your achievements – did you go to the gym? Make the number of calls? Set out changes needed?

In conclusion

Nothing I have touched on is rocket science but it is amazing how few people do it….why?

They lack the discipline and process to do it.

Seek help from people who can help you achieve this –  whilst everyone's journey is different, getting the basics right, matters, especially when you're tackling the harder stuff!


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Author, David Linstrom, Managing Director of nem New Zealand.

This article is based on research and opinion available in the public domain.