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Running Your Business: It’s About Doing What You Want

By Jon Sawyer on 18/07/2017 - 0 Comments

The title of this article should not be frivolous, but a statement of fact for all those business owners who have got their business to the right place where they are truly running their business effectively.

A business owner truly in control of their operation provides themselves with choices and it is from these that you can decide what you want to do. It is very easy to get pulled around and be at the mercy of the demands of the business, as David Leadbetter puts it, ‘Let the dog wag the tail’ and not the other way round. 

As now is the time when over 60% of the population go on holiday during the months of July and August it is probably a good time to review whether your business is controlling you or are you in control.

The following is an examination of what you need to do to get into control and a review of what some of the choices may look like when it all works.

One of the main keys to success in running any business is once you have established a robust business proposition based upon your product or service that profitably captures a sustainable niche of customers, is to implement effective systems and process.

It is the experience of most of our Advisors at ICON Business Solutions that most business owners have developed a sound product and service offering, and yes, whilst there may be some work required to formulate a stronger marketing platform the missing link is often systems and process.

Most business owners don’t plan to fail but fail to plan and build in these systems and processes. At the heart of this is a reluctance of the business owner to extricate themselves from the functional areas of business – these being marking, sales, production and operation, HR and Finance.

Often the business owner seems to have a main focus only on production or operation which is to the detriment of effective management and ‘strategic ownership’. This last term refers to the ability to identify and exploit other opportunities as and when they arise. Being stuck at the ‘coal face’ in operations will often mean that such opportunities are often missed.

Business Focus

What can be done to resolve this? The answer lies in putting robust systems and process in place to manage all the functional areas of the business so that these each have clear expectations and deliverables, and performance against which is regularly measured.

Often these measures get called Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and are published for the business owner to review on a monthly basis.

The benefit of ‘bedding down’ the business with robust systems is that actual performance of the business can be measured against budget to determine if the business is on track. If not, then corrective action can be taken because the business owner is in control and can steer the direction of the business as required. 

As we enter an every changing competitive landscape, in particular, with the roll-out of Brexit, there is no more pressing time to put such system and process in place.

What are these systems and process? These will be different for all businesses and will vary according to the size of the business. This will require a thorough examination of the importance of each area in terms of what it contributes toward the goals of the business.

Functional area goals will need to be developed and itemised by month. These can then be put into a plan for each functional area of the business that cascades into the overall business plan. The monthly review then becomes a tracking process to see if the milestones are being achieved to ensure the business is on the right track.

What are the benefits of such an approach? This will give you the chance to delegate effectively to functional teams and will ensure you have the time and scope to exploit broader more strategic opportunities for the business. As the business grows, management of the business can be achieved by reviewing a monthly budget and KPI review pack which will have submissions by function.

Whether or not you think this approach is for you, this is how the big corporations run their business, and so if you have aspirations of growing, then at some stage, you must also embrace this method of management. Just think of how it what it would be like if you were able to manage your business by taking regular time out from the business.

This doesn’t mean that you do not need to be present in the business to verify with your own eyes what is going on, what has been called ‘management by walking around’. What it does mean is that you now have choices as you are in control.

The main benefits can be accrued in terms of time to effectively manage and grow the business. This time can also provide greater levels of flexibility for you to enjoy taking time out to enjoy holidays and other pursuits.

The business should be there to reap rewards for you so that you can enjoy the ‘fruits of success’. If you are stuck in the UK over the summer period and did want to get away, then it is probably the case that the ‘tail is most certainly wagging the dog’ for your business, and it should be time to consider changing.

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