26 Jan

What does it take to build a sustainable business?

There is no such thing as a silver bullet strategy when it comes to business success , that being one action or activity that will miraculously build a successful business. We all intrinsically know this, but yet, so many business owners set themselves up for failure and disappointment by taking on for example the mindset of, “If I just do this one promotion, then everything will be fine.

Not to put a damper on your efforts, but sometimes we do need a reality check. One of the key components of achieving one’s goals is that you must be realistic, very simple. If you want to build a sustainable business and avoid being a one hit wonder there are a few key components you will need to ensure are part of your business structure and business ethics.

Vision and mission

Before you excitedly start setting business goals, think about what your long term vision is.  What is your ultimate goal and how do you want to be seen in five or ten years time? Once that has been defined then confirm your mission statement.

Completing your business vision/mission statement shouldn’t be done begrudgingly, rushed through or be viewed as an afterthought. Put the time aside to build this part of your business. Why? Your vision and mission are your guiding lights whenever a business decision needs to be made. They keep you focused in good times and very importantly  they guide you when times are tough and there will likely be many tough times in your business. Therefore, establishing strong, powerful and bright guiding lights makes good business sense.

Courage, resilience and grit

In my opinion these are probably some of the most important character traits to have when running a business . Having the strength and courage to pick yourself up after failure will turn you into a survivor. If you have the ability to do this, you can achieve anything. These character traits do not always come easily and we are often only asked to prove ourselves when we have already fallen on hard times. No opportunities for test driving these qualities.

To boost these character traits it is advised to have a solid business plan and a business purpose that is true to your values. It can be tricky and extremely demotivating to be courageous if you don’t really believe in your purpose one hundred percent.

Support

Being a business owner is not for the faint-hearted. So make sure you have a good strong pool of people you can call on during the tough times. This can take the form of business partners, family, friends, mentors, coaches or professional networking groups.

Support is also good to have in times of success, sharing your wins with your support network can be extremely rewarding.

Consistency

Consistency in business builds trust and loyalty with your customers. Whatever your business goals are make sure you are consistent in your delivery, follow through and follow up. Customers will very quickly look elsewhere if you are inconsistent and unreliable.

To make sure you are consistent in your business, always have a plan. Yearly, quarterly, month, weekly and daily. There is much to be said about the saying, “proper planning prevents poor performance”.

Business success will be different for every business, depending on what the end goals are, however one thing that all businesses have in common, is the need to achieve the goals.

So, when you are planning your goals for the year or quarter ahead, also think about these  components. Do you have a strong vision? How courageous are you and how would you persevere during tough times? Who is your support network and do you operate your business in a consistent manner? Some food for thought.

30 Mar

Writing your business plan is not the same as writing your grocery list

When you have to do the monthly grocery shop you normal jot down the list of items needed prior to heading off to the store. When you take a message for someone in your office you generally write it down and when you are planning a party you make a list and plan of everything you need and who you will be inviting. You do this so you won’t forget and very importantly that you can refer back to your original thoughts not leaving anything out.
List writing is an excellent habit to have for sticking to a grocery budget or not forgetting to send cousin George a party invitation. List writing however is not how you build a business plan.
Over the past couple of days I’ve spoken with a number of people who have admitted that they haven’t documented their business strategic plans or documented monthly or weekly goals.
Many of them said that they do have a to-do list, which you could say is better than nothing, but the reality of the situation is is that a list is not a plan and your business plan should not be treated like a shopping list.  Big difference!
A to-do list is an unending selection of “stuff”. You tend to keep adding to this list as the days and weeks go on and sometimes when you get to review the list starting from point one you cannot actually recall the reason for why the point had been added in the first place, and it gets removed or left to live another list-hogging day. New points on the list can be added randomly, because they sound good at the time. However how often do these points add value to your original goal?
Lists get lost and get started and ended on different apps, pieces of paper and notebooks. Does this sound familiar?
The biggest difference and benefit about drafting a strategic business plan and then breaking the plan up into bite size pieces and documenting daily, weekly and monthly goals, is that you can be assured that everything you are doing is working towards an end goal.
A strategic plan is just that, strategic.
Your micro goals key into your short term goals, which key into your medium goals which in turn key into your long term goals.
The following points may assist you:
1) Throw your collection of to-do lists away!
2) Dedicate some time to drawing up a precise business strategic plan. You may call on a business coach or mentor to assist you with this process.
3) Invest in a diary – online or paper whichever takes your fancy
4) Be disciplined! What you document in your diary should be actions or activities, which come directly from your main plan. These actions should follow the trusty SMARTER model. (Specific, Measurable, Actioned, Realistic, Timed, Ethical and Resources)
5) Recap on your plan every week and ever quarter review your business plan. This ensures that you are on track and moving towards the end goal in timely fashion.  By having to go back on regular basis it ensures that your plan doesn’t land up in file 13.
 6) Lastly, don’t forget to throw your to-do lists away and do not be tempted to start a new one.
This saves you time and money and keeps you moving forward and very importantly keeps you on track.
Need some assistance with drafting your business plan? Contact Nicole nicole@tikumu.co.nz