With the new year looming and businesses everywhere grappling with change, now is a good time to consider some ideas on how you can work on your business, setting yourself up for a stronger year in 2013. It’s time to work smarter not harder.
When times are good, most business owners are focussed on the task in front of them and literally have no time to focus on planning as they need to deal with the customers or clients that have engaged them.
Then, when they get a sense that business is starting to slow down, they get nervous and focus even more closely on the current needs of the business, rather than looking into the future. As humans we are all creatures of habit, so often, pedalling harder in our businesses along the same road is the easiest and most comfortable thing to do when times get tougher. But is it the right thing to do? Or could you get there faster by standing back and selecting a shorter route?
We all know that family business owners are among the hardest working people in the community. They are often the first to arrive and last to leave their workplaces each day. They deal with all facets of their business from operations, marketing, staffing and administration to name a few, with each area’s complications adding to the stress of being a business owner.
Not only are family business owners good, hard working people, but they also like to think they are good planners. But in reality, in almost every family and small business, there is simply not enough emphasis on planning for the future, on working smarter not harder, or on finding a shorter route to the goal.
But if you are a business owner, how do you get from working in your business every day, to working on your business? And what might it do for you in the future?
In principle, working on the business is taking time out to determine your personal objectives and the objectives of the business. (Please note this is not always making more money, it may be to reduce risk or have more personal time or less stress or all of the above.) When business owners work on their businesses they could be:
- developing a plan focussing on the objectives set.
- developing an annual budget which is reviewed periodically knowing profit expectations, capital needs and cash flow needs.
- determining the people resources required to achieve their objectives. To share your vision and to create a culture that develops your team into “doers” .This includes setting the values and ethics they expect within the business.
- creating and implementing a sales and marketing plan, to assure you and your team, there is adequate revenue flows and revenue sources.
- putting in place a programme to make sure you are up to date with your products and services, as well as pricing.
- reviewing processes and procedures to maximise efficiency.
- understanding variable costs and fixed costs to allow the business to manoeuvre when there is a change in the market.
- ensuring they have a good focus on the industry and the customers to understand change and the evolving needs of customers and clients.
Working on the business requires taking time out to develop a well thought out plan, programming the plan then executing that plan. The difficulty is that it is easy to fall into the habit of going back to “working in your business” and getting distracted from the implementation.
So why not start working on your business now for 2013. You can start by considering the changing economic environment and work through each of the items below to form plans for your coming year.
Premises and location of the business
People within the organisation
Processes and expectation
You can be sure that your competitors are making plans to improve their share of the changing market. Isn’t it time you did too?