Welcome to the latest blog in our series all about the importance of FOCUS and more specifically where successful entrepreneurs focus their time and resources.
Today’s blog is the second in this current series and concentrates on what sets the so-called gazelles or scale up entrepreneurs apart.
- Expert Advice
As an ambitious entrepreneur that’s determined to scale your business, you already possess a high level of self-awareness. You’re already successful but almost certainly know that there are potentially still many things that you’ve not got previous experience of. Whilst you have proved adept at solving numerous challenges in the past you’re perhaps mindful of the time it might take to figure out what’s next in the context of your ambitious growth plans. Consequently, you appreciate that the risks associated with getting it wrong could indeed be considerable and far-reaching for both you and your organisation.
Alongside today’s top sports stars, entrepreneurs across the globe widely recognise the need and therefore the considerable benefits (financially, emotionally and personally) of investing in help & support from an experienced third party with a proven track record of success. Indeed the likes of Larry Page (Google), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) have all invested over the years in coaching and continue to extol the virtues of high performance business coaching as a vital resource when scaling an organisation
By hiring a coach with a proven track record of success in terms of scaling businesses you’ll benefit from both their strategic and operational expertise. Having been there and done it themselves many times you will benefit from an expert who is able to provide practical, hands-on support & advice to build your scale-up plan, ensure you stay on track and therefore deliver the results that you’re striving for.
They’ll recognise your potential and help you minimise the interference in order to ensure that your performance is maximised both personally and as an organisation.
PERFORMANCE = POTENTIAL – INTERFERENCE
They’ll understand first-hand the challenges of running, scaling and even exiting a business within an ever-changing commercial landscape. They’ll not only have first-hand experience of scaling a business to maximise the organisation’s profitability but also of scaling a business by building the organisation’s asset value with a view to a potential sale at some point in the future.
In both scenarios, an experienced coach/mentor will recognise the importance of getting the harder elements such as the Strategy, Structure and Systems in place whilst balancing those with some of the softer elements such as the required Staff, Skills, Style (leadership) & Shared Values. Better still they will possess lots of experience to help you implement them as part of your own scale-up plans.
As part of your team, an experienced coach will, like you, have entrepreneurialism in their blood. As well as being a trusted advisor they’ll be a great confidante and mentor. They’ll understand just how important it is to you, your business and your stakeholders that you are successful. They’ll be passionate about seeing you succeed.
In summary – A great coach will leverage all of their experience to help you unlock the true potential within you and your business by helping you to develop the clarity, focus and action plan to deliver the desired RESULTS.
2. Proven Systems & Processes
Scale Up entrepreneurs universally accept that systems and processes are the essential building blocks of every great organisation. Moreover, when constructed well they become the heartbeat of the organisation and are what ultimately drives superior performance.
By working with a great coach with a proven track record of success they’ll leverage all of their experience to ensure that you are using the very best systems, tools and techniques to scale your business in the most efficient and effective manner.
They’ll recognise the changing needs of the business and have experience of developing systems, processes and reporting that supports your innovation and growth plans.
Whatever the stage of your business’ growth, as your business grows so do the operational needs of the business.
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As businesses grow, they invariably face some very specific challenges. Understanding how best to address them, in what order, whilst also identifying the opportunities associated with these challenges is a critical part of unlocking your business’ true potential.
Maybe you now need help selecting and deploying one of the best cloud based accounting software packages (Xero /Quickbooks/SAGE) to bring the necessary financial controls to bear, a leading edge workflow management system (Big Change/Commusoft) to improve your team’s productivity or a new CRM solution (Zoho/Microsoft Dynamics/Capsule) to manage your burgeoning customer base? Alternatively, maybe you need help building the HR systems (SAGE/Cake/Engagement Multiplier) to ensure you can manage your growing team from both an operational and engagement perspective? As part of that growth journey perhaps you also need to implement better marketing tools such as Hubspot, Hootsuite or Mailchimp to fuel that consistent pipeline of target-market customers.
Whatever the growth challenges are, a great coach will be able to help you develop and implement the right solutions to take your business to the next level.
A great coach will also understand only too well the complexity & magnitude of decisions that you’re now facing as you scale your business.
They’ll help you develop strong risk/impact/probability models alongside robust decision-making tools (B.R.A.I.N / T.D.O.D.A.R) to make the right decision for you and your business.
Because they understand the pressures that running a business places on you and your team and that not everything goes to plan, a great coach will help you develop effective contingency planning tools and techniques to navigate even the most turbulent times.
Moreover, your coach will have acquired a reputation for delivering the required RESULTS time and time again.
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3. Strategic & Operational Acumen
For businesses looking to really scale, strategic planning is crucial. It is however as much about the entrepreneur’s mindset as well as the process itself.
Whether it’s coming up with what Jim Collins described as an organisation’s BHAG or identifying the scale up opportunities having an experienced mentor alongside you is essential. You’ll be able to tap into their wealth of experience, sidestep mistakes and make important decisions by relying on their extensive knowledge of how things work.
Strategically, they’ll help you assess the suitability, feasibility & acceptability of different strategic options to achieve your growth targets through tools such as SWOT and PEST. Similarly, by working together you’ll learn how to deploy tools such as the Blue Ocean Strategy Planning in order to create USP’s for your business that gives you a genuine, long-term competitive advantage over your competition as part of your growth plans.
Operationally, a great coach/mentor will also help you develop the management and leadership skills to run your business more efficiently and more effectively. Together you’ll develop and implement the infrastructure to facilitate your rapid growth ambitions.
They’ll help you decide what structure suits you and your business best. Maybe that’s a classic hierarchical structure based around a functional or divisional team. Alternatively, maybe your organisation suits a more organic design be it a flat, matrix or indeed network based structure. Whatever the right structure is for you and your business a great coach will also help you manage the change and create the right systems and processes to ensure the organisation and its people realise the growth opportunities.
With the above in mind, in just about every successful business there’s a great team that underpins the strategy and its organisational structure. By working with a great coach you’ll develop the skills and capabilities to recruit and develop a high performing team through whom your growth ambitions can be realised. They’ll help you design and/or improve your recruitment processes to ensure that you only recruit the very best talent and more importantly still the right talent that not only has the desired skills and experience but also the right values-match with you and your organisation.
They’ll have extensive experience of scaling businesses both through organic and investment routes. They’ll be an invaluable asset in helping you decide which routes are the most attractive and achievable for you and your business.
They’ll equally have experience of developing strategies to exploit new routes to market and develop new markets and territories as part of your overall scale-up plans.
They’ll have experience of helping businesses just like yours develop strategies to divest themselves of less profitable activities, build a multiple asset base and maximise brand equity & value within a business.
Having helped you select the most appropriate routes forward a great business coach will then not only help you build your winning plan but will also keep you accountable for delivering the required RESULTS.
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We very much hope that you’ve found today’s Blog both useful and informative. With that in mind DON’T MISS the next in the series where we will be concentrating on how successful scale up entrepreneurs create real alignment across their organisations in order to reap both the commercial and personal benefits of their hard work.