We have worked with many different businesses over the years, but in almost every case the same issues apply, and the solutions are more or less the same. The examples given work in any business, and always produce positive outcomes. We still often hear the words “But my business is different!” Believe us, it isn’t, and just to give you an idea of how this works we have applied the same principles to the following range of businesses.
|Kitchen Designers and Installation||Motor Trade|
|Electrical Retailer||Property Companies|
|Dance Company||Catering and Food industry|
|Care Homes||Fabric Retailer|
|Care Agency||Wholesale Baker|
|Wholesale Beauty Supplies||Water Distributors|
Very often when I start working with business owners, I find that their biggest problem is finding the time to do the things they know they should be doing, which of course are the things which create a firm structure upon which they can grow the business, and make it more profitable.
Understanding the need to make time to work on the concepts can in itself be a major stumbling block, but once that concept is accepted the process is relatively straight forward.
We start by analysing what the business owner is currently spending time on, and then categorise each activity as money making or simply time consuming. We then look to off-load as many tasks as possible to current employees, and where these don’t exist, work out from projected cashflows when it may be possible to fill the gaps. As the tasks are gradually off-loaded, this creates more time for the business owner to concentrate on the key areas of the business, in particular where to generate increased turnover and profits.
Teaching owners to let go of parts of the business they enjoy, and getting them to delegate more, can be very difficult. For some it may come down to a matter of trust. The “No-one does it better than me” syndrome is a common problem, and if you genuinely feel you can’t let others lose on your “baby”, you may need to look closely at why you feel this way. If you can’t trust those you employ to do the job you pay them for, why are they still working for you??
Another area of the business which invariably requires an overhaul is the money controls.
For many business owners, this subject can be quite an awkward one, whereby they feel embarrassed, or inadequate, because they don’t know all their figures. However, to make you feel better, it is very much the majority (rather than minority) of owners who are in this position, ranging from the relatively minor “crimes” of not setting targets, or knowing your numbers in terms of leads and conversion rates, through not setting and writing cashflows, to the unforgiveable lack of knowledge in terms of break-even, or even turnover levels.
Without having control over these things, how is it possible to run the business confidently? As someone once said, a pilot wouldn’t fly a plane without understanding all the dials, so how can a business owner run their business without having at least a basic understanding of the numbers.
So the process is to start by first and foremost nailing down the break-even point. We then set targets (in line with long term business goals), and then produce a cashflow to give you budgets to work towards, and of course controls for you to check that the business is running as you expected it to. We then work on the lead generation, conversion rates, and average sales levels to work out ways of increasing turnover and profits.
By learning all these techniques and processes, you will rapidly grow in confidence; stop making excuses for not working on the figures, and start to create a profitable business with excellent monetary controls
The third key area, in which business owners often need help, is in getting their team to work efficiently and productively.
There are many areas in which help is often required, ranging from employing the right people in the first place, through creating a clear structure within which to work, to providing motivation and a culture which brings out the best in them.
Invariably when I start working with a business owner, there is almost always at least one “rotten apple” in the cart. The worrying thing is that you only need one bad one to cause problems throughout. No doubt reading this, you will recognise this person. Disruptive, doesn’t pull their weight, often sick, stirs up others, hard done by, but apparently still wanting to help the team. You cannot trust these people, and you need to get them to change or get rid off them.
The process of team management begins by writing out a business structure (organogram) which will support the size of business you want to become. You identify all the roles, and then allocate the responsibilities (job descriptions) to each one. Each responsibility generally involves a number or tasks (daily/weekly or monthly) and these all need to be written down, and then every task needs to be systemised (wherever possible) with Key Performance Indicators allocated to the relevant areas. Essentially this makes everyone accountable for their own role. Finally, you identify the roles still to be filled, and instigate a procedure which ensures you employ people who fit with your ethics and values.