As we enter another challenging year it would be a distinct advantage for CEO’s and business leaders to take a new look at their organisations with a view to past performance and what they need strategically to set them apart from competition. Competition be it locally, nationally and/or internationally.
Could your business do with a financial turnaround? Or could it do with a strategic revival due to turnover or bottom line dying.
Too often CEO’s focus on the day to day activities of the business, but in todays challenging market environment, there needs to be longer term and more strategic planning. Where the business is now. Where the business has the capabilities of going. How you will get to the full potential of the business through capabilities and expertise. This needs to be a five (5) year projection.
In my experience it is sad to say that the health of a business is not guaranteed forever. Forward and pro-active strategic planning is a critical success factor in sustaining a business into the future.
It is no secret that the best of CEO/Managers will at some time face the daunting task of managing a recovery of some failure due to a near death experience. Be it a loss of a major contract, person/s, equipment failure or even a fire.
I have found that generally there are a number of factors which contribute to a near death experience, and most have been self inflicted by questionable management practices.
There was a great strategy espoused by one of the most famous leaders in world history. Abraham Lincoln once said. ‘If I only had an hour to cut down a tree, I would spend the first 45 minutes sharpening my axe’
This tells me a great deal in preparing for the coming five (5) years of a business. You need to have a ‘Strategic Business Plan’ covering all aspects of the operation from financial, marketing/sales/PR, internal and external operations including clients, suppliers, statutory authorities, government and community.
The greatest challenge in any business turnaround is to generally overcome the denial of the CEO and/or owner that a potential problem may exist. They have been in business all these years and have a solid, loyal customer base, so where would there be any problems?
No business leader should ever take their client base for granted. Clients usually stop buying from a supplier about 70% of the time simply because they feel they have been taken for granted. It is amazing that most companies I deal with do not have any client survey strategies and would not know of what client empathy means?
So, the question I would encourage all business owners and/or CEO’s to ask themselves as they enter 2016 is:
- Does your business have a direction?
- Does your business know why it exists?
- Has the business got a five (5) year strategic business plan?
- Does the business have a client survey plan?
- Does the business have an employee survey plan?
- Does the business have a best practice communications policy?
- Why do we exist as a business?
- What need or needs are being met by this business?
- What do you want to achieve using the business as a tool?
- How far do we wish to go in pursuit of our vision as a business?
- How do we plan to succeed in this business?
- How and what must we strategise as a business to exceed customer expectations?
- Do we have a list of values known by all employees, suppliers and clients?
If your business does not have a long term strategic plan, and is it does start to recede because of market pressures/factors, there will be no way to bring it out of a potential death spiral by being reliant on words, history or the company name. You need to have a plan. Not just as you have always done. You will need to rework the way you used to work and have everyone on board as part of the revival process.
- Cash Flow is king
- KPI’s are an essential tool to success
- There will be no greater motivation than an effective communications policy
- Train, train, train your employees and pay them for skills achieved
- Do not compromise safety
- Have a best practice quality policy
- Have an effective continuous improvement programme
The rest is up to you, the CEO and/or owner