Updated: Jun 25
During the past 15 years we’ve had the privilege of working with great people many of them trying their hardest to start, run and grow their own businesses.
We’ve seen the some successes and failures of business ideas and application with our help and guidance, thereby taken some of the strain off the shoulders of business owners.
We believe, there are some simple steps if taken, vastly improve outcomes for the savvy business owner. These include:
Knowing your Where and Why
Getting your foundations right
Applying the 3 M’s
Refining your Offering
Focusing on your profits
Developing your team
Finding and introducing a MRR stream
Scaling up for success
Businesses need to start at the beginning or even restart to have something solid to build upon. Whilst others might find it more productive to just dip into the steps where there’s a specific need.
In this first blog in this series we’ll outline the first four of the above nine steps. Future blogs completing the remaining steps and looking to expand on each.
If any reader has any comments, questions or experiences they’d like to share with us please feel free.
Knowing your WHERE and WHY
If you don’t know where you’re going how will you know how to get there?
If you don’t have a strong reason why getting there is important to you you’ll lack the focus and commitment necessary to key you on the right path.
This raises the point that you need to plan for success, knowing the steps to take and taking them will get you where you want to go with your business, anything else and you’re relying on luck. To be a great plumber isn’t a strong and compelling why. To run a successful and highly profitable plumbing business that can support your family and provide for their needs and wants is much stronger.
Getting your foundations right
Building a business on the basis of guesswork is a sure fire way to fail. We suggest to all our clients that they focus on a few important measures to ensure that they can keep control of the key elements of their business. Naturally as accountants we’d include key financial numbers but also as important are those Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that also measure the success or otherwise of your business venture.
· A sales agent that may include visits made or prospects quoted.
· For a restaurant this would be covers served on keys nights or booking for a key period.
The important thing is that these non-financial KPIs provide a measure or reference to the business that can tell the business something useful. Another important point about monitoring these KPIs is summed up by the saying “what gets measured gets managed”. The focus you place on these numbers means you’re more likely to take action when you see those numbers change in a direction you recognise as an issue for your business.
You need a plan, it’s that simple
Have a plan that you know you can work to but don’t write it in stone, your WWHN plan should include:
· A long term vision (3-5 years), your WHY
· A medium terms goal (1 year), your WHAT
· A short terms set of objectives (90 days), your HOW
· And a list of actions to do this week that will help you achieve the, objectives, the goal and ultimately your vision. (This week), your NOW
Reviewing your actions (from your to-do list) each week and your objectives at least every 90 days to ensures that you are able to respond to any challenge you’re facing and also you’re working towards vision and goals.
Applying the 3 Ms
We still see some businesses buying Yellow pages ads or taking up the “last minute” classified ad space the advertising rep for the local paper phones to offer them. In most of these cases the money spent is totally wasted.
Not knowing who your marketing is really aimed at (you know your potential customers right!), not knowing what you are best saying to them to make them buy and finally not knowing where your potential customers are most likely to see and respond to your pitch are the most common failings of almost 85% of small business advertising.
1. Know your MARKET - who are most likely to be your ideal customers
2. Know your MESSAGE - what you need to say to persuade them to buy your wares
3. Know your MEDIA - where and how will you place your MESSAGE so that more of your MARKET is likely to be reached.
For all marketing and advertising think Market, Message, and Media. In the right order you’ll succeed, get these in the wrong order you’ll waste your money Big Time.
Refining your Offering
Remember the Two Ronnie’s sketch, “Four Candles”
The shop owner gave his customer what he thought he’d asked for, only the customer didn’t want four candles but fork handles, handles for forks.
You can see the above, still very funny sketch HERE
So, what is your customer asking for and are you delivering the right thing to meet their needs?
If you’re a painter and decorator and someone asks you to paint his ceiling make sure you check what they’re expecting, you might spell it out to them or show them examples of your work because if you turn up to only emulsion their ceiling but they’re expecting a Sistine Chapel style job, you’ve then got one unhappy customer.
Remember if your product or service has all the bells and whistles but your customer is price sensitive and only wants to pay the absolute minimum they’ll not want to pay your premium prices and will as likely go to someone else who has the basic offering to give them.
It’s not what you can do or supply that’s important but what your market wants.
The first four steps are now outlined.