Welcome to this fourth blog in our series dedicated to the importance of developing the necessary FOCUS in order to unlock a business’ true potential.
In today’s blog we are specifically focusing in on the importance of focusing on planning in order to ensure that ambitious entrepreneurs in the RUN phase are able to create more consistent levels of growth and profitability.
Experience has taught us that having successfully navigated the start-up phase of a business the challenge of growing your business by establishing a more consistent level of growth in your business is often just as demanding.
All too often the biggest challenge for entrepreneurs in this RUN phase is dividing time between a whole new range of demands that require their attention, such as;
- managing increasing levels of revenue,
- attending to customers,
- dealing with the competition,
- accommodating an expanding workforce, etc.
Consequently, an ability to plan for what’s coming next so as to avoid the potential trap of having to constantly firefight is crucial in navigating this growth phase. Undoubtedly the biggest difference between those entrepreneurs that successfully deliver against their growth targets and those that struggle is their ability to look over the horizon and prepare for what’s coming next.
- Do the challenges of running and growing a successful business often make you feel elated, frustrated, overwhelmed and out of control in equal measure?
- Are you like many business owners in that you lack the necessary time to devote yourself to higher value and higher skilled tasks?
- Do you lack the time to actually build your company’s vision and plan for its future growth?
- Do you sometimes struggle to implement important strategies and recruit, induct, manage and lead new members of the team?
- Did you ever recruit people with the right skills but the wrong values for your organisation and have to live with the consequences?
- Does your business have challenges around its level of cashflow as a result of poor cash collection processes, inconsistencies in its sales pipeline or an over-reliance on a small number of customers or suppliers?
- Is the result of this that you’re still struggling to break through financial barriers and maintain consistent levels of growth in both turnover and net profit?
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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.
Based on your own experiences as a business owner you’ll already know that many businesses fail to reach their full potential and that many many more sadly fail altogether.
Like you – most of those business owners were just as passionate as you about their business. Most invested heavily in terms of both their time and their capital with a view to ensuring that their businesses’ succeeded. Sadly in all too many cases (circa 80%), the first 5 years in business proves too big a challenge for most businesses.
The harsh reality is that none of us knows what we don’t know. Our education system isn’t set-up to teach us to be successful entrepreneurs and yet many of us embark on our entrepreneurial journey full of excitement & enthusiasm but without the necessary skills and experiences to guarantee the successful outcome that we so desperately want.
Maybe – like so many others you have already taken the biggest step and begun your own entrepreneurial journey but are already finding that the challenges are bigger than you envisaged?
Maybe – you’re already seeing some successes but are frustrated that the results aren’t in line with what you originally expected or hoped for?
Either way — it’s important to recognise that your journey isn’t unique. It’s equally important to understand that your challenges almost certainly aren’t unique to your industry. There are plenty of other business owners going through exactly the same challenges as you day in day out.
For most business owners their entrepreneurial journey is at times a lonely one. With less than 2% of working adults owning a business it’s not surprising that many of your friends and family simply don’t understand the challenges and emotions that you’re regularly confronted by as a business owner.
For many entrepreneurs the benefits of support and encouragement from a community of like-minded business owners with similar challenges are unquestionable. Couple this with access to a world-class business education programme and the support & guidance of an award-winning executive coach with a proven track record of success and experience of running multiple businesses and you’ve almost certainly found what’s needed to scale your business to the next level.
Consequently – if you don’t feel as though One to One coaching is right for you at this stage in your entrepreneurial journey, don’t procrastinate, take MASSIVE ACTION to build the business you always dreamed of and become a part of our CIPD Accredited Group Coaching Programme (ActionClub) NOW!
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Building A Plan To Succeed
For every business, whether large or small, being able to plan effectively is crucial for growth and survival in today’s highly competitive markets. There’s no doubt that without great planning, you’re likely to miss out on opportunities, stunt your growth and ultimately limit your success.
As the old saying goes…. “Fail to plan ….. plan to fail” .
By working with an experienced business coach you’ll learn how to create and develop detailed plans for your business to ensure you realise your growth ambitions.
You’ll learn that behind every successful, growing business are 3 different but equally important plans, namely;
- A Business Plan that sign-posts exactly where you are heading
- A Budget that details what the financial roadmap for your business looks like &
- A Targeted Marketing Plan that details how your growth ambitions will be realised
From a business plan perspective, your coach will help you build a winning plan to scale your business by introducing you to proven planning tools such as our 5-3-1 Vision Orbit. The tool will enable you to develop real clarity about your long term vision for your business. Once you’ve done this you’ll create more detailed annual plans which in turn will be broken down into even more focused 90 Day Plans to ensure that each and every quarter you maintain the focus on your priorities, build the momentum and ensure you not only reach but exceed your growth targets.
Together you’ll create really specific, measurable goals alongside a clear plan of action as to how your growth targets and other goals will be met within the agreed timescales.
Alongside any great business plan, there’s also a great financial plan that maps out your business’ journey from a financial perspective. Having established your financial goals you’ll work together to build an annual, if not a 2-3 year, Budget against which you can measure your progress both from revenue and overheads perspective so as to ensure that your business hits its profit targets month on month, year after year.
As part of this, your coach will help you understand the importance of managing your cashflow and having a dashboard that gives you the right level of financial control over your business.
Finally – you’ll work with your coach to build a Targeted Marketing Plan that delivers the levels of growth that you and your business requires and more importantly still delivers desired levels of gross and net profit by positioning you as the go to business/service.
The old John Wanamker quote that “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half” is still every bit as true today, primarily because the majority of businesses (a) fail to plan their marketing efforts properly and (b) measure the success of their marketing campaigns.
Your coach will teach you the 6 critical steps to building a winning marketing plan, namely;
As a first step, you’ll develop real clarity around your target market/s by getting really specific about exactly WHO you are targeting not just from a sector perspective but literally down to the specific companies, specific job roles and wherever possible specific personnel within those organisations. Secondly, you’ll define exactly WHERE your targeted customers are geographically. Whether they’re local, regional, national or international it’s important to be specific and prioritise. Thirdly it’s crucially important to be specific about WHAT products and services you are intending to offer and/or promote to specific customers/prospects in order to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Once you’ve done all of the above (and NOT before!) it’s crucial to develop clarity around WHY those specific customers would choose to buy from you and not your competition. In order to overcome the all too common objections, it’s important to develop a strong and compelling unique selling proposition (USP) to ensure that you create a real point of differentiation and competitive advantage over the competition.
Having invested the necessary time in Steps 1-4 the decision about HOW you market your business is relatively easy. Having undertaken Steps 1-4 it’s typically very simple to identify where your target customers are hanging–out and hence what the best marketing channels to use are. Irrespective of whether you’re in a B2C, B2B or B2B2C market situation the same planning principles apply. WHEN you run your chosen marketing campaigns is the final step and relatively easy to determine.
Whilst all of the above might seem like a mountain to climb by working with an experienced coach who has helped 1000’s of other businesses develop their winning plans there really isn’t anything to fear.
Together you’ll develop the discipline to focus your time on tasks that add the most value and consequently allow you to break-through financial barriers and maintain consistent levels of growth in both turnover and net profit.
Together you’ll not only create but also deliver your winning plan with a BANG!
Building The Infrastructure To Succeed
Successful entrepreneurs recognise the importance of building the infrastructure (systems & processes) to allow the business to realise its true potential.
There’s no doubt that infrastructure is indeed one of the most important factors in determining the rate of growth in any business. It is the key to accelerated growth as well as further down the line a successful exit.
Put another way…. systems and processes are the essential building blocks that underpin every great organisation.
Great systems and processes create the leverage that allows every successful business to realise the following benefits, namely;
Improved Top-Line Performance
Part of any great business system is the development and implementation of strategy creation, business processes and strategic planning throughout your organization. These foundational elements lead to a much more insightful and focused way to grow top-line revenue.
In short, great business systems take care of your future. They ensure that you meet your customers’ expectations and improve your brand reputation, which is key to growing a healthy business.
Reduced Cost and Increased Profits
It has been proven time and again that the implementation of sound business systems helps reduce costs. A business system is intended to reduce costs without taking the shortcuts that often lead to an erosion of profitability due to the necessity to lower quality expectations or service levels.
Meeting Customer’s Expectations
If you use a systematic approach, your organization will analyse, measure, compare and test all the possibilities of what your customers want and don’t want. You will have constant information on areas that need to be improved and, even more importantly, you will begin to understand the unmet needs of customers. A business system is key to improving the brand that the organization projects to your community, including customers, employees and suppliers
The goal of the system is to enable proper education and opportunities to all employees so they can complete their work more efficiently and effectively. We also seek to harness their ideas and creativity and, in the process, increase their personal engagement. Additionally, having the system in place allows you to quickly integrate new-hires, and makes it easy for them to see their role within the organization and bring forth new ideas.
Whether considering safety, quality or getting the job done in a timely manner, a business system is designed to give you effective, efficient and repeatable results. In short, the business system gives you a process to fix your processes.
Building The Knowledge To Succeed
In order to be a successful entrepreneur, it is essential to build knowledge in multiple areas. For many first-time entrepreneurs who either started their businesses off the back of a great idea or simply because they had tired of working for someone else, it’s often a steep learning curve.
For most entrepreneurs, the initial priority is building their Business Knowledge so as to ensure that they have a strong working knowledge of the main functional areas, namely sales, marketing, finance, HR and operations.
Others need to develop their Entrepreneurial Knowledge in order to ensure that they are able to raise the necessary growth capital and then ensure that they have adopted the right business model to create a business that is able to prosper over the long-term.
As the entrepreneurial journey evolves others will need to develop Opportunity Specific Knowledge in order to gain greater understanding of specific markets that they are operating within and/or entering with a view to ensuring that they are able to compete strongly.
Finally, there’s invariably a need for entrepreneurs to develop Venture Specific Knowledge in order to know exactly what it takes to run a successful enterprise within a specific sector or market.
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Similarly, as an entrepreneur you’re likely to have to work closely with others and hence it becomes crucial that you’re able to build good relationships with your team, customers, suppliers, shareholders, investors and other stakeholders.
Whilst some entrepreneurs are naturally more gifted than others in this area, the importance of improving interpersonal skills is an essential part of the entrepreneurial journey with a particular focus on skills such as;
- Leadership & Motivation
- Communication Skills
- Listening Skills (Active & Empathetic)
- Interpersonal Skills (Emotional Intelligence)
- Negotiation Skills
Consequently, it’s rare to find successful entrepreneurs who haven’t committed themelves to the benefits of life-long learning. The most successful entrepreneurs realise that it’s not about amassing random knowledge or memorizing copious amounts of information. It’s about turning what they absorb into strategic action.
Many commentators have described how “We’re all born with a natural curiosity. We want to learn. But the demands of work and personal life often diminish our time and will to engage that natural curiosity.” (John Coleman)
The most successful entrepreneurs simply make time to learn. They recognise their importance. They understand that smart goal setting means increasing our learning agility, or our ability to take knowledge from one concept and apply it to another.
No matter where you are on your journey, turning to a community of like-minded individuals can help make learning fun and exciting. By working with that community of entrepreneurs alongside a great coach/mentor entrepreneurs are able to learn from one others’ experiences and provide value to those others in return.
For entrepreneurs across the world, navigating the growth stages continues to be a significant challenge.
Having experienced early success, successful entrepreneurs are invariably keen to accelerate their rates of growth and realise increasing levels of productivity and profitability.
The growing pains associated with this RUN phase are for many considerable and breaking through this phase relies heavily on the entrepreneur’s clarity of vision and purpose, their optimism and dynamism, their commitment and resilience along with their desire to lead and build their own knowledge and skills to ensure that their goals are all realised.
For many though just having all of those attributes isn’t enough.
Successful entrepreneurs the world over recognise the need to invest in themselves to ensure that they possess the practical skills and knowledge to run their organisations to their full potential. They recognise the need to be competent in key areas such as;
- Planning & Organisation
- Goal Setting
- Decision Making
- Project Management
- Creative Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Recognising Opportunities
They equally recognise the importance of building a growing organisation based on strong operational systems and processes run by highly competent, committed and loyal team members.
Like all successful entrepreneurs we all have the ability to learn for ourselves. As the phrase goes… !”where there’s a will there’s always a way” and, whilst entrepreneurship is often a lonely journey, by joining a programme with a community of fellow entrepreneurs the journey is often far more enjoyable and rewarding.
The business and personal rewards are invariably greater, the speed of travel far faster than when we try to do it on our own and the cost of learning by our mistakes far in a way reduced with the help and support of both our peers and experienced coaches who have all been sat exactly where you’re sat right now.
It’s regularly said that the greatest mistake an entrepreneur can make is to do nothing.
Similarly -by investing in a world-class CIPD accredited education programme you can be reassured that the provider has;
- met rigorous standards for good practice
- adheres to the CIPD code of professional conduct and continues its professional development
- is committed to delivering a quality service that supports your organisation’s strategy and people.
Don’t procrastinate, take decisive action today to build the business you always dreamed of by becoming a part of our CIPD Accredited Group Coaching Programme NOW!
Having successfully navigated the start-up phase and committed to growing your business the benefits of joining a community of like-minded entrepreneurs who are equally committed to growing their businesses are for many literally life changing.
With the help & guidance of our Global Top 100 coaches, you’ll learn what it takes to succeed and receive hands-on support to build the Strategy, Structure and Systems that your business needs to accelerate its growth potential. You’ll equally develop the sales, and marketing skills along with necessary management and leadership skills to ensure that you’re able to implement the strategy efficiently and effectively.
The net result is that you’ll benefit from proven support to help you enjoy ;
- Rapid growth in both revenue and margin
- A more consistent pipeline of target-market customers
- Higher value customers / clients
- Greater levels of repeat business
- Increased operational efficiencies
- Improved operational systems, processes and procedures
- A more effective team
- A significantly better work: life balance
- Greater levels of personal reward & satisfaction
Don’t procrastinate, take MASSIVE ACTION to build the business you always dreamed of and become a part of our CIPD Accredited Group Coaching Programme (ActionClub) NOW!
Whilst many entrepreneurs prefer to learn and grow their respective businesses by working One on One with a recognised growth expert many others equally prefer to have the additional support of a like-minded community of fellow entrepreneurs and join a tailor-made Group Programmes.
By joining one of our highly acclaimed group coaching/mentoring programmes you benefit from the same expert advice, support and accountability that entrepreneurs on a One to One programme enjoy but have the added benefits of peer to peer learning and networking.
For entrepreneurs running successful organisations with an annualised turnover of £2m+ our Virtual Boardroom Programme is a great way to tap into the experiences of 6-8 other CEO’s every quarter at a selected location.
Similarly for established entrepreneurs running organisations with a turnover in excess of £1m and annualised growth in excess of 20% who are looking to scale even further our Scale Up Institute Programme will be the perfect solution.
Finally, if you’ve successfully established your business and have annualised turnover of £250,000 or more and are looking to accelerate your growth and take your business to the next level then our Growth Academy Programmes will give you all of the necessary tools and techniques.
If youve found today’s blog useful and informative DONT MISS the next in our series all about the importance of knowing where to focus time and resources. In our next Blog we will hone in on the importance of managing cash flow effectively so as to ensure that the business has the necessary growth capital to maximise its potential.