Posts tagged ‘Business Success’

Often when I mention the words “business plan” to people, whether they are just starting up in business or already established and looking to grow or change their business, they give me the “do I have to?” look!


Business plans haven’t been dreamt up by accountants to allow them to charge a fee to their clients for “added value” services or simply to bore you to tears.  Every book you read about business success and every leader you hear speak will highlight the necessity of planning.  So “yes” you really have to, unless you like to live life by the seat of your pants.

Failing to plan and planning to fail

If you are starting up your business and you don’t have a plan, how do you know

  • what that business will do
  • what it’s target market will be
  • how it will work  (processes, structure, personnel etc)
  • how it will be financed? (funding, cash flow, collateral/security/personal guarantees etc)
  • whether it will make money and
  • whether you will get out of it what you want?

Are banks still lending?

There has been much reported in the news over the last year or so about how difficult it is to get bank lending nowadays for small and medium sized businesses.  Ask any business bank manager this question and they will quip “we’re always open for business” but there is no doubt that they are being very cautious. If anything is going to help you get the banks on your side,  it will be a comprehensive, well thought through business plan with back up for your assumptions and a realistic timescale for paying back the loan.

If you want to approach an investor, your business won’t even be considered for investment if you don’t have a business plan that you can back up with facts and figures that make you and your business a credible investment.


Getting value from the planning process

Planning is not just something business owners should do when setting up their enterprises or when getting finance.  There are plenty of benefits of planning on a regular basis.

  1. Take the time to think through a plan and then write it down, you are more likely to actually do it than if you keep it in your head.  Even better, communicate that plan to a trusted adviser such as your accountant or a business coach who will be able to help you evaluate it and provide an objective viewpoint.
  2. Take off your rose tinted glasses, a great looking plan may make you feel good now, but it will demotivate or be dismissed as irrelevant later.  Be realistic and honest with yourself and don’t forget to factor in non-monetary elements such as the amount of time you intend to invest. 
  3. Use the planning process to brainstorm.  Perhaps carry out a SWOT analysis to help you to ‘stretch’ your thinking.
  4. Use the plan as a way of involving key people in your business.  This will help them to be more committed to the results and encourage leadership/loyalty.
  5. Most of the ‘added value’ of business planning comes from regular reflection.  Don’t take the time to write a plan and then archive it!

In summary

A good business plan will help you to understand where your business is going, give it structure and direction, provide a communication channel for key stakeholders and build credibility when obtaining any funding or investment that you need from external sources.

If you haven’t got an up to date, clear and realistic business plan, take action now. 

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

To build successful businesses there are Three Elements all entrepreneurs eventually learn that are essential for increasing revenues and profits.  

Many business owners learn by a ‘trial and error’ approach over a number of years, however the game of business has been very well researched over the years through feedback and study of entrepreneurs who are the best in their field.  Without focus on each of these three areas any business success will require far more effort over a longer period of time.  If you’d like to fast track your own success then read on…

  • 1) The First Element:

The Psychological Approach. Or, more precisely, how your current psychological approach may be holding you back.

You may already have heard of the saying that “your business is a complete reflection of you!”.  If that’s the case then what is showing up for you within your business at the moment?  Do you need more sales?  Do you never have enough time?  Do you have communication issues with your team members?  Do you need to recruit your first team members?  Whatever is ‘showing up’ for you within your business, the most important thing is how you are reacting to ‘what’s showing up’.  Do you tend to blame others or deny there’s a problem?  Or make excuses to justify the lack of performance?

This is sometimes one of the hardest things for a business owner to accept i.e. all of the problems that you are experiencing within your business are as a direct result of you ‘not’ addressing something within that business!  To illustrate this point I have been working with a particular client for a number of years now, and as the business has grown there have been a number of recurring problems that have always been down to  a couple of team members not being quite up for the job. This reflected in the business owner being unable to delegate effectively – and ‘what showed up’ was ‘running round like a headless chicken syndrome’ all of the time.  The business owner didn’t confront the issue (for various personal reasons that we worked through together) and so the problems just wouldn’t go away.  Eventually, however (when the business owner felt ready to make that decision and we’d implemented a couple of new systems within the business) the two team members were replaced and there has been a radical shift in the business performance.  This has also helped the confidence of the owner in two ways: they realised that their that fear (of the unknown) was actually stopping the business from moving forward (plus keeping the owner very busy!) and by addressing this fear they also learned a number of things about themselves that massively increased their own business confidence and productivity.  So this element involves you, your beliefs and you creating strategies and tactics to break through the hidden (yet very real) mental barriers that may be holding you back from achieving further success. 

  • 2) The Second Element:

Your business structure. How your current business structure may be holding you back. There are many areas of your business where you will need watertight systems and methods. This element is more focused on uncovering the current strengths and weaknesses of the strategic side of your business. It will ensure that you have the right strategies and tactics to help you break through the business-related barriers that may be preventing your success. Within the second element there are three focus areas when business growth is your goal. The first of these is:

Sales:

 The key in any business is to make sure that you take the time to understand exactly who your clients are and how they decide to buy.  Everybody has a certain way they love to “buy” from others, so finding out the various personality types and their tendencies will go a long way in making it easier for people to buy from you.  Create a set of systems within your business for sales success.

Marketing: 

Customers won’t buy from you unless they know who you are and why they need you.  It has always amazed me when I go into a business and the business owner is desperate to increase sales and therefore cash flow into the business – and yet they are doing very little effective marketing of their business – because they don’t really understand what ‘marketing’ is or they’re doing the day to day ‘stuff’ that’s not connected with driving the business forward whatsoever!   However we define marketing, in it’s simplest terms it is: The generation of quality leads for the business and the further development of your brand.  Your focus is to choose multiple marketing tactics and develop a marketing system that consistently markets your product or service to your clients.

Management:

 As a business owner you should be looking to spend 80% of your time working strategically ‘on’ your business in the areas of Sales and Marketing.  Any Knowledge, talent and beliefs that you have learnt will be wasted if you are not applying these strategically and tactically to your business.  If you want to grow and sustain that growth, then it’s essential to manage that growth. It’s essential to put in place systems to manage growth, cash, people and working relationships.  How do we know if don’t have this in place?  Because we will forever be reacting to our business and any daily problems that arise.

  • 3) The Third Element:

Although the shortest it’s without doubt the most important: it addresses our need for consistent action. Once you have the right resources and information in place then it’s essential to take action. If you asked me if there was one thing that would separate the masses from successful serial entrepreneursthen it would be this: Fast implementation of ideas. Having an understanding of the first two elements (what may be holding you back psychologically and structurally within your business) is an essential step to achieve change, but without implementing what’s been learnt will inhibit change. This is where so many businesses fall short. Through the lack of implementation of those ideas.

Guest author:  Mike Yates is a local, well respected and proven Business Growth Specialist, International Speaker, Author and Business Coach who I have known personally for many years.  For more valuable information like this please visit 121 Business

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.