How many business owners complain of not having enough time to plan or strategise. They may want to grow their business, they may still want to make improvements, get bigger, work smarter but they always get dragged back into managing the day to day affairs.
It’s tough for small businesses to grow up and develop into something bigger or better. Part of the difficulty is down to the owner and his or her daily commitments within the business. If he or she can’t find time to distance themselves from the doing and all the decision making then they have no time in organising the business in a way to grow.
Positioning your business for growth or change.
Some of the more recognised constraints to growth centre on not having the right structure, systems and processes in place, or the ability to make changes quick enough to take full advantage of new opportunities. Collectively these constraints make it harder to do what you want to do when demand increases. What was easy becomes harder because the business and its owners aren’t geared up for growth or are not open to change.
Without planning and without analysing the impact of expanding a business or making important changes to it, owners don’t appreciate the full extent of the risks and opportunities associated with heading down that path. Simple decisions about whether to take on additional resources including staff or upgrading machinery or even taking on additional space becomes clouded.
To this end planning includes understanding how to initiate change, how to take advantage of new innovations, products or markets. It also means ensuring that the business’s core is able to cope. If the infrastructure, systems and processes, including controls are still those of a small business they will consume more and more of that business’s time and energy, making growth, change or innovation a slower and more painful experience than it should be.
More than just Numbers
It becomes obvious that planning and strategizing is more than just about the numbers, it’s about positioning the business and all its moving parts to take full advantage of the opportunities that are presented. How many times have I heard people say “I don’t want to grow the business any more”, as it’s too demanding on them as owners! Therein lies the problem. They haven’t been able to let go of parts of the business they don’t need to be intimately involved in anymore. No time and effort has been put into building up the skills and knowledge of their team. Some quite rightly point to the fact that they tried that and the staff left and got better jobs. I have to question how far they went to retain the good ones.
It’s easy to ride the crest of a wave of increased demand that just presents itself to you. Look at the building industry at the moment – builders and related trades are all busy with the increased demand. They are all throwing resources at the current opportunities to reap the short term benefits, but are any of them building a business that can ride those ‘waves’ on a more regular basis. Business owners that are looking beyond just the next job, that are spending time looking at the trends in the market and the opportunities they may bring and are prepared to work on their business to best position it, can and will go onto bigger and better things.
Challenges still exist!
Sure they still have to deal with cashflow problems, fluctuations in revenue, increased competition, and a need for greater accountability and responsibility because they may have more stakeholders in the business, but they cope because they invest time in understanding what they needed operationally and what to do next, and they become more proactive in the way they manage their business.
They also realise they can’t do all that themselves, they sometimes need help so they reach out to trusted outsiders to help them along that path. Whether they be lawyers, bankers, accountants or business advisors, they all provide expertise that can help.
In essence the time and energy spent working on the business in pursuit of growth has a two pronged benefit, firstly the short term gains in revenue and profitability, and secondly the longer term rewards of building a business that will accumulate real value.
Contact us if your ambitions are getting the better of you, we can help you make growth more fun than heartache.