To grow any business there needs to be a sustainable growth plan. This is a vast subject matter and has been covered by many thought leaders and authorities on this subject and I would like to contribute in my little way with a simplification which I believe can be applied to any business and circumstances.
My 3 pillars of sustainable business growth are:
Systems & Processes
A Winning Mindset
How do these three pillars help towards sustainable business growth?
Numbers are the backbone and driving force of any business. A quote to begin: “If you can’t measure something, then how can you improve it?”
Numbers aren’t just about sales and profit, but are the thread throughout the business. Any objectives and priorities can be, and should be, measured by numbers. They can be used to understand and improve:
You can measure how likely a customer is to recommend you to a friend, and how many customers are loyal to your business. Also evaluate how well you translate leads into paying customers through processes such as web analytics.
- Employee moral
How does your employees’ behaviour contribute to your business’ overall goals? They drive your business forward, so their morale is key.
- Efficiencies within business
Measure how much time is wasted due to things like technical breakdown and staff sickness, and ask ‘Does my business have the capacity to reach its full potential?’
- Financial performance
In order to assess your business growth, you’ll need to be able to analyse factors such as your revenue growth rate, net profit, margins, and return on investment (ROI) on marketing, for example.
- Measuring and improving internal processes
You need to ensure processes are allowing you to deliver projects on schedule and within budget, and the value generated by these projects. How are your internal processes affecting customers? For example, are customers receiving orders in good time, and is the quality as high as they expected?
In a world of constant change, being data driven isn’t an option, but a necessity. Numbers allow you to:
- Provide financial and production forecasts
- Make strategic decisions
- Plan your workforce
- Ensure relevant and valuable KPIs
Systems and Processes
Systems and processes effectively ensure that your service is consistent, meets your desired standards of quality, and it can be improved. Getting this right also means that at basic your regulatory compliance is met and your risks are managed.
The right systems encourage innovation by promoting regular improvements whilst also ensuring maximised productivity and reduced wastage. You are looking for your business to run as “lean and agile” as possible, and it is your systems and processes that will ensure that you do.
Your customer service can be improved by having the right systems in place. For example, a “Diary of Issues” is a system that drives quality and customer service, as this can be followed up and reviewed highlighting what can be improved.
Without continuous improvement you are running on autopilot, with criticism providing the only reason for change. This is pure reaction as opposed to planning. We need to make sure that we embed a cultural aspect of systems and processes.
My suggested process is a consistent application of:
This is a vast subject matter in its own right however some points of consideration are:
- Emotional intelligence first with self awareness
- Seeking continuous growth – personal development first
- Being really “open minded” and taking ownership, accountability and responsibility over matters rather than be in a place of blame, excuses and denial which will take you to a position of courage and peace
A winning mindset gives you the ability to react and adapt quickly and constantly evolve, Taking action is key! A winning mindset would rather fail than not try at all.
As the saying goes, the only constant is change. Business is constantly changing, and in addition, the way we learn changes. With this comes the acceptance that XX years of experience doesn’t mean anything in this world. What was the case ten years ago might not exist any more, and what is the case now, I can almost guarantee is not going to be the case three years from now.
If we are all open-minded, starting with getting rid of the “I know” mentality, we can see that learning from others is as important as helping others learn. We can be both be the mentor and the mentee.
This is a quick snapshot of a full programme that is being developed in our organisation as part of a business growth solution.
As always I’m open to suggestions and hear opinions. Thank you. Comment below or tweet @SafarazAli