Archive for December, 2017

What does a successful Business look like?

In business what does success mean to you?  High income, title, prestige, awards and accolades, enjoyment of work, pride, connection with colleagues, meaningful company mission.  This was the topic discussed by members of the Business Exposure Group at our recent meeting.

Financially a business that exhibits 10% growth each year is considered success orientated – they have to be future focused.  But, what is success?  Is it money, or sales, or the influence your actions have on the environment around you?  The goal simply is to keep the business afloat until you have figured out how to achieve success.

Some of our members suggested the following as indicative of success.

  • Company culture – attracting and hiring the right staff who fit into and drive behaviour
  • Having a Business plan with financial / differentiators/ product strategy / employee retention strategies
  • Discipline to stop overreacting to market changes and adjusting your core strategy to keep up. Saying No is fundamental to success
  • Creating predictability with business processes
  • Understanding the pains your clients are experiencing and providing a much needed product or service
  • Continuous change needs a culture of continuous training for staff development
  • Greater use of technology to achieve business goals

Businesses need to embrace continuous innovation to make sure they offer something more than their competitors.  43% of SME’s consider a strong customer focus as the most important element to a successful business.  Understand where all your customers are coming from as this allows you to scale your business; it empowers you because it tells you what works and what doesn’t.

Businesses need to create and maintain a culture of accountability.  An optimally run business will outperform a business running at maximum performance.  Choose security over growth.  Narrow your horizons and become an expert, focus on markets which are growing or stable and look beyond your geographic location. In times of change, experience can be your worst enemy.  Be willing to change even if it means plunging part of the company into confusion for a while.

According to the Institute of Directors there are 10 characteristics of a successful business:-

Leadership / culture / financial literacy / systemise / staff development / everyone sells / dress work environment for success / compensation growth / strong brand / give back to the community

But further comments by our members suggested success to you as a business owner means –

-delegating and paying others to do all the stuff you were doing for the last 10 years

– the business can be sold

-you can go away on  holiday and earn money at the same time, leaving competent staff in charge

-the company has made it onto the first page of Google, without paying for the privilege

-you can now pick and choose your preferred customers

Business success is not all about growth.  But many feel pressurised into constantly pushing for growth.  One of our members explained that one of his worst decisions recently was to take on a volume contract, which had a low margin.  His business turnover increased by £1m, but the problems of taking on this added revenue were far worse than the benefits.  Staff problems, quality problems and cashflow to name but a few.

One of the Business Exposure Group members said ‘By the time we hit 6 years our team was smaller, our revenues were down but our brand was solid and we were more focused than ever, but, I felt like a failure because we weren’t bigger and making more money’.  But he was on his own in the Group.  For the majority, turnover was one thing, but profit and contentment were the true indicators of success.

Make sure you celebrate your successes, even the little ones.  Build something you believe in and prepare to be copied, it’s a great recognition.  Never give up control until you sell the business and remember, if you don’t smile on a regular basis then recalibrate, because business has to be fun!

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