By Chad Russell
02 September 2019
Most business owners went into business for one of the following reasons:
- Make more money;
- Have more free time;
- Be their own boss; or
- They thought they could do it better.
Sometimes the latter is true and maybe they are a better boss, but how are the first two going?
Going into business is hard work. Most businesses start small but are wonderful for the economy. SMEs create innovative solutions to problems, care about service, pay their taxes and small business alone provides almost 4.8 million jobs for the community. Isn’t it fair that the rewards include more money and more free time for the owner?
Many reports will tell you that most small businesses will fail in their first three years but surviving that doesn’t guarantee success. Businesses might start well but then as they grow, things start to get hard in that period of scaling up (which tends to repeat itself). The business gets bigger and needs more staff, more customers, more products, more processes, more funding etc. but does the founder have more time? Not usually. Are they making more money? Sometimes, but does it reflect the effort, the risk or the true value provided to the community?
Einstein noted, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”, so when you start to feel like it’s too hard or you’re not getting the rewards you’re after, it’s often time for a reset – these are the five steps to follow:
- Start with a blank page (or whiteboard). Reconsider your goals and remind yourself of why you are running your own business. Only when you are clear on your “why” can you move to the next step.
- Build a new strategy. Where are you now, where do you want to be and how are you going to get there? Don’t focus solely on the numbers, use a balanced scorecard approach which covers systems and processes, customers, people and financial. Involve your key people and if you are running a facilitated process, make sure you choose a facilitator that will challenge you and get you out of your comfort zone.
- This is the most important – implement your strategy. So many great ideas never come to fruition and rewards are not realised because somebody didn’t do what they said they were going to do – they didn’t implement. Strategic plans and strategic planning sessions can be a waste of time and money if implementation of strategic actions doesn’t get to the top of the priority list. Usually, it’s because we get busy (excuse) and it’s easier to just do what we did yesterday and live in our comfort zone.
- Stay accountable. Share your plan and actions with someone who will hold you accountable and check in with them frequently to stay on track.
- It’s important to remember that strategy is not “set and forget”. To remain relevant, your strategy needs to be constantly evolving. Revisit the plan at least annually.
If you’re not getting what you want out of your business, then maybe this is your trigger to get started. SME owners provide a great service to the community and deserve to be rewarded.
PKF is regularly engaged to assist with design and facilitation of strategic planning sessions, maintain action plans and sit on advisory boards. We work with many growing businesses and understand what drives success. If you would like help with anything above, let us know.