Telling the truth about SME life today

Seven guiding principles to growing your business

It is also intended to show how you can avoid some of the trial and error which otherwise might stifle your potential or, worse, derail your ambitions of growing your business.

As you read this, score the current performance of your business against each on a scale of one to ten:?one being?ten per cent of the time and ten being 100?per cent of the time. How does your business shape up?

(1) Simplicity

We have an innate ability to over-complicate and over-engineer life and this certainly applies in business. A question I frequently ask to bring the principle of simplicity to life is this: would you describe your business as being like a tugboat or an oil tanker” In the early stages of the life of a business it is fast, agile, responsive and able to move quickly (the tug boat).

The challenge is that over time, when growing your business, complexity is introduced: additional layers of people in the organisational design, multiple sign-off processes and procedures, key performance indicator overload, an unhealthy obsession for governance, reports for the sake of reports, decision-making by committee, and perhaps worst of all bureaucracy that makes it difficult for a customer to do business with you (the oil tanker).

Is your business a tugboat or an oil tanker” Perhaps utopia is to have the scale and size of an oil tanker, yet have the mentality and agility of the tugboat!

(2) Primary purpose

Strategically the primary purpose of a business is to acquire, maximise and retain the right customers. Everything that contributes to this is an investment. Anything that doesn’t is a cost! This is the key principle that underpins the way you go about growing your business. Aligning all your available resources (people, financial investment etc.) to this principle will create the focus and momentum for accelerated growth.

Imagine if you completed an audit of every process, system, and procedure in your business and as part of the exercise asked the following question:?Strategically the primary purpose of a business is to acquire, maximise and retain the right customers. What’s an investment and what’s a cost in our business?

What’s helping us deliver this goal and what is detracting our focus” This process alone will help you simplify your business and ensure you maintain?”tugboat status”.

(3) “Outside in” thinking

Are you thinking “inside out” or “outside in”” Great bosses think “outside in”, the customer is the focal point of everything they do and how they do it.

They are fanatical about looking at themselves through their customers” lens and culturally are self-challenging, asking probing questions: How easy are we to do business with” Are we delivering a world-class customer experience What are our customers” real needs and wants now and in the future Are we fulfilling them?

(4) Empirical validation

Thinking beyond and testing small before growing your business. Measuring the right detail allows you to make proactive, informed, well-educated, empirically validated decisions about how you can deliver accelerated, sustained, and profitable business growth. The challenge for most businesses is threefold.

First, some bosses just don’t have performance measures in the first place, second, they are measuring the wrong things, or third they are not paying enough attention to what the measures are telling them and how this subsequently informs their decision-making on strategy and helps you in terms of growing your business.

Read on for further tips on growing your business



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