After sharing my top tips with you last week, I wanted to draw on this some more in a bit more depth. Upon writing this article, I sought input which left me profoundly depressed – I ended up with over 100 things not to do or avoid! So to draw myself back from the edge of the precipice, I reduced this down to the 10 which were cited most often. I hesitate to say “read ‘em and weep”, but here we go:
- In terms of staff engagement it is really important, as part of persuading them to take responsibility and accountability to tasks, that they are focussed on outcomes and not activities. Easier said than done, but very important. “Busyness” doesn’t mean success.
- Making decisions on sub-optimal management information is not going to help. Make sure you MI is timely, meaningful and relevant. Furthermore, make sure you understand the financial drivers in your business, in particular your gross and net margins and your breakeven point.
- Have you shared your vision in a way that your staff feel part of it? If you haven’t, they aren’t on the same bus as you are. Telling them stories often helps – become a storyteller.
- Businesses without a “Plan B “often fail. Make sure you have a risk register, with countermeasures to eliminate the main risk in your business.
- Cash was, is, and will remain king. Make sure your expansion can be supported by either long-term capital, working capital, or both. Without cash, your days are numbered. An expansive order book is no use if you cannot pay your bills.
- Bringing in senior people to share the load is understandable, but ensure that a) they operate from the same code of conduct as you do, b) they genuinely hare your vision, c) they can do what the claim they can do and d) you have reporting mechanisms to verify this.
- You are expanding the business in a controlled manner and not spreading yourself too thin (think Ansoff matrix!)
- Avoid concentration risk – it’s great if you have a significant predictable revenue stream each month from one client, but what if your key sponsor leaves (back to Plan B!)?
- Don’t let costs expand to keep pace with revenue growth – in the euphoria that accompanies expansion it’s easy to overlook this.
- Don’t lose sight of your core values – they should be enduring and if you lose them you are building your house on sand, in biblical terms.
So, plenty to think about, but important you don’t become complacent…
For more information on strategies and advice, make sure you keep up to date with my expect articles or contact me through my website. I am always happy to help.