Now, every Friday, you can get reflecting, improving and developing with the help of the new 5 on Friday videos series presented by Malcolm Gallagher of the BizVision Network. Episode 1 is the 5 Things good leaders do. Are you achieving all of them? Click play to find out!
Hello, its Malcolm Gallagher host of the BizVision.co.uk network of online business channels.
The words worry and uncertainty are looming larger than ever in UK business at the moment.
Yes, there’s a lot of frustration and annoyance but what is concerning is very little action being taken. Inaction causes decay. Coming up are my ten principles of winning at times of uncertainty.
- Get the right mindset – times of uncertainty brings an opportunity to build your business. I know I’ve been around long enough and done it.
- Don’t assume your business category will behave like all the others. Are you paying attention to the trends and what’s happening in your sector? There’s lots of information out there for you to grab & use.
- Run what I call “opportunity scans” to inform & strengthen your win strategy. Too many businesses are too introvert and don’t think laterally enough. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes works wonders in seeing the opportunity.
- Raise your game at the Point of Purchase. How are you helping your customer make the decision to buy you? Or let me put it another way, where, or how, are you preventing your customer from buying. You’ll likely need an honest approach to manage this one!
- Know who your priority customers or buyers really are and what they are doing, thinking, feeling right now. How important to them is what you make, do or offer? How can you remind them of this importance so that you are NOT downgraded in their purchasing priority?
- Watch your competitors even more carefully and act against them decisively. Don’t be soft here as they are likely to be predatory in these uncertain times. I wrote and filmed recently about how to stop them from stealing your customers by using my negativity strategy. Click here for the “stop them stealing your customers” post
- Maximise your Marketing Mix – be flexible and experimental. Marketing is constantly changing in its channels and reach. Customers are constantly changing in their behaviour and needs. Don’t just stick to what you have been told is the norm. Make sure that, at the very least, you are measuring your marketing effectiveness with sound KPIs that are focused on the pull through to revenue.
- Spend and act smart – make efficiency and effectiveness your watchwords. Allow no waste and no complacency. What’s your conversion rate from enquiry to a customer? Is it slipping or improving? What’s the average spend? How long are sales taking to get through your sales funnel? Make sure you employ my favourite assistant here. She’s called Ruth Less!
- Prioritise keeping current customers over getting new ones (unless you can manage both!) Make sure you are ring-fencing existing customers and giving them all the benefits you would give to a new customer. Think creating a community or tribe to draw in their loyalty.
- Show leadership (both internally & externally) Show it with your close team, your broader company, your influencers, your customers and especially your suppliers.
I constantly see a lack of leadership in businesses but what I also see is the decay happening to that business and the missed opportunity from inadequate leadership. I’m not blaming those leaders, many of whom may not have ever experienced uncertain times. My grey hair testifies that I’ve lived and survived through a number of them!
So get stuck into the ten principles. Add or subtract as you want but at least do something! Have I missed any or have you got any to add?
You want to make the right quality and timely decisions. You can’t afford to wait and see. So your decisions need to have velocity alongside quality.
I was intrigued to read recently that the Consultants, McKinsey, said that businesses who make decisions well use 3 ingredients. How are you performing in all of the following 3?
McKinsey found first of all that winners use SPEED as part of their process. Those winners will often make a decision with just 80% of the necessary information rather than waiting for it all and possibly lose out to a competitor.
Its sensible here, as the business leader, to identify what decisions ONLY YOU can make and delegate the rest. Make sure your decision process allows you to move good ideas forward quickly.
The second ingredient of decision winners, says McKinsey, is that they favour interaction amongst themselves over the process of deep analysis. Good interaction sparks off great ideas and it also has the extra benefit of heading off biases with the result that everyone is in tune together.
And the third ingredient is to what they call “Choreograph the decision process”. Hey, if you have been to a stage show or even watched Strictly Come Dancing you know how effective and impressive good choreography can be. Without choreography, your decision making could become turgid with countless reviews and approvals. Craft it so the decision process is made in one place.
So that’s a brief look at a key soft skill of decision making. Sharpen your process now and you’ll be more fit to compete for any business opportunity. Are you using all 3 steps?
Ask yourself these 6 key questions to see if your timing is right for growth
says, Malcolm Gallagher of BizVision,
A key question at the moment should be “Is your business ready to grow”? Irrespective of what is happening in the bigger “Brexit” picture at the moment. In growth, timing is crucial.
You need to decide if your business is in what I call a sensible position to journey on a growth strategy. To help you make this decision, coming up are just 6 deep dive questions to ask yourself.
- How is your business performing against your budget in sales, and costs? I hope you are using some key ratios here. If not then email me email@example.com and I’ll send you the top 3 ratios for small businesses
- Thinking of your available resources, how is your business using those resources to generate profit? Or is it not? Sometimes resources such as assets are bought and they lie unused or underutilised. Also, have you sold off old equipment (say on eBay)) – a few pounds is better than nothing
- Is your market sector expanding or contracting? Or where is it changing? We have seen horror stories about retailers recently and problems about construction businesses. But these changes usually mean there is opportunity elsewhere. Are you missing it? Is your radar working to seek out opportunities?
- How are your competitors behaving? Rationally or not? What are they saying publicly? If you don’t know, you need to start what I call a Comp Set. Take your top 5 competitors and monitor them, benchmark your elf against them, keep a watch for news on their website with RSS feeds or use services such as Mention.com or Talkwalker.com to get a hold of what they are both saying and doing.
- Ask yourself the truthful question of how much cash have you got that is readily available to fund growth. Likely it is not enough so you need to go searching for funding. Do it soon not last minute.
- How well do you use your working capital? Funders will want to know but you should know this NOW not when you want more money.
Okay, there’s your six key questions to get you truly ready for growth. Armed with the answers you can make your growth decision. Which are the most relevant to you? Have I missed any key ones?