You probably started 2018 with high hopes for your business. You hoped that sales orders would come in, that new ideas would work, that new recruits would live up to their CVs, that profits will grow, that your operations run seamlessly, that your marketing delivers, and that you can plan for the future. But now as Autumn approaches and the nights grow darker do you still feel quite so optimistic?
Hope drives us all, but hope is not a strategy and hope alone is never enough. The big question is, despite all of the uncertainty in your own business and the world at large, can you create any certainty for your businesses?
The answer is yes, you can. Certainty stems from knowing where you’re headed, and what the outcomes will be. Certainty is having systems in place that you can influence in a controlled manner. Certainty is having the confidence to make the right decisions because you know what works and what doesn’t. As business owners and CEO’s there is a lot that is in your control, but priority number one has to start with the right business strategy.
But, I hear you say , isn’t strategy just the theory of business operations? What you want is practical solutions that can be implemented now. It’s time for an analogy. Take sport. If you want to get better what’s the first thing you do – seek advice. An expert can look at your technique, diet, posture, tactics, the equipment you use, your mental attitude, and give you a plan on how to improve. They will develop a strategy to help you get better. It’s the same with business.
Unless you have the right strategy in place the road ahead is going to be a tough one. You need look no further than these stats to see the scale of the issue. 75% of small to medium scale businesses (SME’s) have no formalised strategy. Of the 25% that do, most flounder in their implementation as certainty ebbs away and they fall back on the threadbare comfort blanket that is hope.
It’s little wonder that the failure rates among businesses are so high. 46% of SME’s fail due to incompetence and a further 30% because of lack of experience. With stats like this you can see why banks are hardly rushing to lend money to smaller businesses. Quite simply their actions are not earning businesses the right to gain access to cash and thereby the resources and talent that they desperately need.
So how do you break out of this cycle?
You need to ferociously scrutinise where you are now, why you want to go in a certain direction and discover the steps you need to take to get you there. It’s not brain surgery, but it’s not easy. It requires hard work, focus and rigorous implementation. Strategy is a carefully managed moving feast, not something that you do once and forget about. By having the right strategy and evolving it as your business grows you have the right to speak to investors, attract real talent and invest in the areas that need it. The end result of all this? Certainty.
But do you know exactly what shape your business is in order to tackle the problems ahead? Having looked around the market place we found that there was no easily accessible way to have a quick health-check. So rather than complain we developed our own. It’s called the Certainty Score, and it’s something that any business can use completely free and with no strings attached.
It’s a quick yes/no test that gives you a score based around the six core principles of business strategy (don’t worry none of your trade secrets will be asked for or any of the data shared). It’s an instant picture of the strengths and weaknesses of your business. You will also get a free personalised report explaining the principles of strategy and some friendly advice on how to improve your scores.
Finding your score can be the springboard to moving your business forward. It’s fast, free and fascinating (as our clients will testify to):
“The report is to the point and I like that it gives a general overview as a starting point and makes you think about all areas of the business.”
Sam Keam, Director.
In the name of openness, the score is not a golden ticket to certainty, there is a lot more to do, but it’s a foundation on which to grow your business. If you are interested I also can show you how we can help you to improve with regard to the key areas of Marketing, Sales, Operations, Finance and Talent.
We may be heading into the latter half of 2018, but it’s never too late to make changes and bring much-needed certainty to your business. So feel free to take the test. It could be the best five minutes you’ve spent all day.