The foundational building blocks of every business are Processes (procedures/policy), People (employees), Customers and Resources (ideas/capital). Leaders, who strengthen and understand each of these blocks, build their business. Those who weaken or neglect these building blocks, find themselves with declines in both their top and bottom lines.
Believe it or not, organizations can sometimes forget that creating and delivering top quality products and providing excellent services is their main objective. Organizations keep ineffective processes in effect because it is comfortable, safe and familiar. Leaders must regularly set aside time to define and redefine their processes, track defects and poor service, and make improvements to solidify these (5) major building blocks.
You’ve got to make the mental shift from running your businesses as a self-employed job/good employee to building a business you can one day sell, scale or own passively to fund your retirement.
This means consistently reminding yourself that you are just a temporary producer and that your business must eventually replace you from its day to day operations.
Be Clear in Your Mission
There’s a reason you started a business and left your job (or didn’t try to find a new one). Why are you doing this? Keep in mind that your personal mission and your company’s mission can be different, as long as they’re aligned and can co-exist. You did the mission statement in the business plan and it’s on the bookshelf collecting dust.
Network and Get a Mentor
Get a business advisor or coach. It doesn’t have to be someone professional, just someone who can share experiences to bounce ideas off of and tell you when you are losing teams, money and the mindset.
Get your Business off the Road to Nowhere
When the money gets tight and the momentum fades, you are left with day to day work of the business, this is when you learn how to make your business run. It can become grinding because sales are slow and you are learning how the business actually operates, to acquire customers, market products, understand how changing processes and products affect your financials, and every idea you have does not automatically work as you envision it to increase profits.
At some point while running a business, your likely to experience that burned out or uninspired feeling. Work-life balance is important; there is a truth, in working hard and playing hard to unwind. Reading a daily devotion and taking a daily 30-minute walk can assist in relaxing the mind, etc.
Customer acquisition is expensive in order to acquire new customers, companies must effectively target, market to and convince customers to try their product or service.
Many business owners do not take the time to figure out who is their target customer. What are their target customers’ likes, dislikes, needs, and wants? Which types of media do they consume? What is the cheapest way to reach them? How much is the target customer willing to pay for their products or services? Where and how should we sell our products?
Remember, it is cheaper to keep a customer than it is to acquire new ones.
Master the Art of Engagement
Being engaging is important in every part of your business, whether it is communicating through email marketing, social media, blogs, videos, and other commercial formats
Grab social Media Attention
A social media marketing plan should include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and the company website to communicate with your customers. Use the same theme, pictures (banner pages) and similar products.
Understand the importance of Business Logos
It is the first thing potential customers will notice about your brand, make sure it is presentable, professional and polished. Make sure the Logo connects with your customer needs and wants.
Create an experience for your Brand
Create a fun and informative environment to solve your customer problems
The Right Clients are more Important than Most clients
Most business strategy is to get the cash in the door by any means necessary to get most clients in the door. The problem is you achieve all of this at the expense of quality, profit, and sanity. The right clients will allow your company to do better work, build a better reputation, generate more profits and retain better employees.
Focus on Your Goal, Objectives, Theme but most of all Profitability
Don’t try to be all things to all customers. Specialize in solving your ‘target audience’ problems and have fun doing it. Even the largest companies do their best when they focus on keeping the ‘main thing the main thing’.
Are the actions and applications that executives and teams put in place to achieve desired results.
Leaders need to take a step back to review their processes-individually or in cross-functional groupings— to eliminate inefficiencies and optimize performance, annually or as the market changes.
Systems are the reliable processes and procedures that empower your business to consistently produce an excellent result for your client and profitability for you.
Documenting automated processes can increase your company’s efficiency and reduce costly mistakes; the checklists your employees follow to ensure that all orders are shipped correctly; the orientation process for all new clients when you begin working together; and the standardized contracts you use with all your new hires and vendors.
Controls are the processes, procedures, and safeguards that protect your company form uninformed or inappropriate decisions or actions by any team member. They also are your business’s way of making sure that key work is getting done on time and the right way.
There are (4) main types of business controls:
- Checklists/Visual Business Process Controls
- Scorecards/ Business Performance Measurements Metrics by Function (KPI)
- Embedded Internal Quality Controls— product/process quality checks
- Policy and Procedures— written/measured
Systems(using excel and QuickBooks), Processes and Procedures that worked for a $1million dollar a year business, are not sufficient for $10 million dollar business or a $25 million dollar business.
Scaling your business requires building it in such a way that your business model and systems can be rolled out and replicated on a much bigger playing field, based on the increased product ordered/processed sales volume.
For example, choosing a database solution or a 3rd party fulfillment should be based on actual growth rates, not potential or forecasted projected sales.
Cash flow and Financial Statements are your ‘lifeline’.
- Learn how you are making and losing money. Understand profit and loss statements and what processes and procedures link to improving the ‘profits’ of your business.
The company’s financial wherewithal additionally, the measurement tools necessary to manage and track finances and assets. Do you have the knowledge, competencies, and skills necessary to use those tools to increase your profits?
Small and mid-size businesses must master the ability to manage their working capital and cash flow. Every company has access to profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements. Management is either using accounting software or someone is preparing the reports for management.
How well does senior management understand the company’s financials and its correlation to their strategy? Do these managers understand which parts of the company need investment, where cuts can be made on why?
Managers must take the time to learn the relationships and interdependencies between their tools and the reports they use to maximize their resources.
Teamwork makes DreamWorks
You can’t do it by yourself. It is critical to ensure that your business doesn’t rely on the presence of any one individual.
Even Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, needed a great team to help them execute, deliver and do everything behind the scenes to deliver their vision to customers.
Surround yourself with the best people you can find. Hire people who are smarter than you, then step back and let them do their jobs. Remember championships are won by teams, not athletes. Employees are hired either to increase revenue or to decrease expenses in order to improve profits, no other reason.
People are not your greatest asset; the right people are. The wrong people are your greatest catastrophe. Mediocre people are your greatest drain on resources.
Leaders must strive to create learning organizations where the organization is always pushing to improve. An organization where employees feel valued and are contributing according to their abilities.
Effective management will create an organization where personal growth is expected and rewarded and employees are both challenged and satisfied.
Employees who are motivated by the company’s vision and mission will produce profitability, but frustrated employees will lead to losses.