How often in business do you encounter an attitude of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? It is easy to carry on day after day without worrying about changing anything. But circumstances alter and sometimes it makes sense to step back and reassess your business with a cool head and an open mind.
People’s attitudes, technology, the political environment and economic influences are areas that never stand still.
Life, especially in the world of business, is frenetic and complex enough without having to assess whether we are still on course to achieve our goals and ambitions.
But wait a moment. Are our goals and ambitions the same as they have always been?
How often do we insulate ourselves and become impervious to what is going on in the world around us? How nice to think that everything continues down the same path, and perhaps the businesses we are involved in appear to be holding their own. This might, however, become a recipe for complacency.
Are you in for a nasty surprise?
We live in a fast-moving world. Unless you keep up to date or at least assess the way things are being done, (and if necessary, reinvent your business by adapting to more up to date systems and business practices), you may be in for a nasty shock and fall behind in the market place.
It is not necessarily the case that things need to change, at least not significantly. But unless you assess the situation with a fresh pair of eyes, you and the business can become stale until you possibly lose your way. If a market even continues to exist for the product or service that is being offered, a once successful business that you enjoyed running can become stuck in a downward spiral, which can cause agony and aggravation.
It may not be broke, but …
While the business may not be “broke”, it would seem vital to get to know the business again in what is possibly a different market place, and reassess how it is operating. This is not always easy, and a degree of honesty, objectivity and enthusiasm has to be the order of the day.
You know your business in its current form better than anyone – its intricacies, peculiarities and the way you have got it to be where it is. But the speed of change in areas such as production and supply, technology and reporting could mean you are no longer at the cutting edge of your trade or profession. Is it only a matter of time until someone else takes over your market share?
Reviewing your business
mgr works with business owners to assess the current state of their business and how it is operating. With them, we consider whether it is set up efficiently and whether new ways and systems can be adopted. Might different markets need to be explored? Should there be a revision to what the business is offering? Such considerations can help keep a business and its participators fresh and, hopefully, maintain the business’s success.
Part of our work is to find out what each person involved believes the business is and in what market it is operating in. This might sound ridiculous, as surely this is clear. But it is interesting how often people perceive the business that they are involved in differently to one another and, as such, there can be no unified approach or vision for the future.
During the strategy process, we review how the business operates and what regular information needs to be provided to enable the owners to keep abreast of its performance and make crucial decisions.
We also analyse accounts, management information and review projections and cashflows. If these are not available, we help in their preparation.
It is also important to help formulate key questions and various analytics, including preparing a SWOT analysis. We also encourage our clients to establish not only where they believe the business is heading in the short term, but also where they would like the business to get to.
The software for creating reports that is now available and the information that can be produced can be essential for participators. By establishing what the key areas are that are needed for decision taking, steps can be put in place to achieve the regular production of data that will help follow the strategy outlined and achieve the stated aims of the business.
It is always the owners and participators who come up with the answers and ideas as we go through the strategy review. Sometimes, though, it takes somebody from outside the business to help people focus on what they really want, and arrive at all the “big” decisions and objectives that have to be addressed.
We then prepare a written report with all the results and comments derived from our meetings, as well as the conclusions reached. These are highlighted so that there is a written guideline to work and refer to.
Perhaps it is just easier to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, but is that really how you would want to see your involvement and the business that you have been working in move forward?
There are no magic answers. But if you carry out an in-depth exercise on your business to establish how you would like it to be, and try to ensure that its future is in line with your aims, and that your own involvement is at a level required, then at least you have solid grounds for continuing in an optimistic and focused way.
It is surprising how many of our clients have thanked us after carrying out this exercise for reigniting their vision and excitement. They appreciate having the opportunity to stop for a short while and look at the issues their businesses are confronting, and being able to express their views, fears, hopes and plans for the future.
So, while you may be tempted to say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, it might equally be true to say, “If you don’t look and explore what you have, how will you know whether or not it is broke?”
If you would like to discuss how mgr can help you reassess your business, please contact Melvin Kay