Stuck in a rut with your business?
Ever wondered what you can do to get out of the rut?
If you are stuck in a rut it’s not surprising that your business has stopped growing. Of course after a growth spurt it’s usual to plateau for a while. But perhaps it’s time to get moving again. Angus Lyon, business coach here at Johnson Fellowes shares 13 reasons he’s noticed that businesses stagnate– and some tips for you to avoid them, and get off to a flying start.
13 ways to get your business off to a flying start
- Be open. Success can lead business owners to become fixed in the way they see things. They think that because something has or hasn’t worked in the past, it will or won’t work again. Angus suggests that it’s important to be open to new experiences and ideas and revisit previous strategies ….
- Monitor what you do. Of course it’s important to have a clear understanding of what is working and what isn’t. Ensure that you have tracking processes in place to ensure that you know what business strategies are working, and which ones to ditch.
- Understand your finances. Many business owners have their heads in the sand when it comes to finances. They abdicate all responsibility to their accountant, who often presents your accounts, but doesn’t help you to understand them, and sometimes the figures in the accounts are sometimes as much as 18 months out of date. This is no way to run a business! Which of your products and services are the most profitable? Which of your customers buy the most? Know the numbers important for your business and monitor them.
- Have a clear vision. Most business owners don’t have a clear vision, or have lost their vision in he day to day grind of their business. They have forgotten why they went into business in the first place and they don’t know how they want their business to develop. Do you want your business to generate regular income whether or not you’re working in the business, or whether you’re creating an asset to sell. A business that is reliant on the business owner being present is impossible to sell. Know where your business is heading.
- Set and achieve goals. Set goals, both in the short term and long term. As the business owner – ensure that someone is holding you accountable. If you’re not good to your word as the business owner, how can you hold your team accountable?
- Many business owners have become so desperate to win customers that they’re trying to be all things to all customers. You may have heard the phrase “jack of all trades” … and of course “master of none”. What’s your niche? What do you do exceptionally well? Who makes a good customer for you?
- Focus on your good customers. Coming from a mindset of desperation can lead us to keep customers who are not good for our business. When you understand which are your most profitable customers you can sack those who are time consuming, complain and actually don’t bring you much profit. Remember the 80:20 rule. 80 percent of your time will be taken with 20 percent of your customers – these may not be the most profitable ones. What could you do with more time to spend on the 20 percent of your customers who bring in 80 per cent of your profit?
- Take time to work ‘on’ your business. Many business owners get stuck in the minutae of day to day involvement in their business. They’re so “in it” that they don’t have time to rise above it, to take a helicopter view and see the bigger picture, and take a more strategic look at things. Be sure to take time to work on your business.
- Be the leader. Some of the business owners I’ve worked with try hard to be one of the team. This can make it hard for them to be seen as the leader. They wonder why they have trouble getting their team to take action. The good news is that leadership is a skill that can be learned.
- Be motivated. I’ve sometimes heard business owners complain about their team not being motivated. This can be for a number of reasons – and usually they stem from the motivation of the leader. Take a look in the mirror, how motivated are you? How can you pass your enthusiasm to your team?
- Keep learning. Some business owners stop learning. They think they know it all. Not surprisingly they stagnate. The commercial environment continues to evolve at an ever faster pace, and so must we as business owners.
- Respond quickly. Given the environment is changing, it’s important to gather the relevant information and to respond quickly to changes – having clarity of direction will ensure you and your team are pulling in the same direction. Lack of clarity here will have you all pulling in different directions.
- Do new things. “Doing what you’ve always done, will get you what you always got” if you want to succeed in this economy then do new things, monitor success, be ready to change your strategy.
This article was first published on the Ingenious Britain website in 2013.