New Intake

5 strategies business leaders can use to stabilize and grow after a rough year




1. Embrace change

Change unsettles most people, but it is constant for small business owners. And change is happening at a frightening pace.

You've likely noticed that the old reliable ways of getting clients and serving them are faltering. The laundry list of things that need your attention is growing. Nip these issues in the bud.

If change is already happening in your business, why not get ahead of it? When you are reacting to these changes, you treat the symptoms. The better approach is to embrace change to treat the problem.

By treating the problem, you employ change to work with you, not against you. People are likely to welcome strategic change now — especially if the change makes their lives better too.

One solid way to bring agility and innovation into your small business is to implement a quarterly strategic planning and review process into your business. This planning rhythm keeps your efforts focused and actionable while remaining agile and able to shift as new learnings come to the table.

2. Prioritize customer needs

The old rules of supply and demand have gone topsy-turvy. Through issues with manufacturing and distribution, product-based businesses feel the pinch. Changing client needs and social distancing have left recession-proof businesses struggling. Service-based businesses are finding that their services are no longer crucial or needed. No business or business model has been immune.

The reason is simple: The customers' needs and their problems are in a constant state of change.

A simple strategy is engaging in a conversation with your clients to identify opportunities. The strategy could be as simple as asking a probing question at the end of every client interaction. It could also be more involved such as surveys or quarterly client advisory groups, to follow a more formal process.

More than ever, staying in tune with the customers' needs and the problems you can solve is imperative. It is the gateway for future growth and innovation.

3. Work smarter, not harder

American culture is all about hard work. If you have struggled to achieve your goals, you've likely heard someone telling you to work harder.

Since the rise of intellectual capital as a commodity in the 1980s, the ability to be successful is less about our ability to work hard. Many business owners have told me how hard they work only to find success elusive. Evidence that success is not about hard work.

Sure, success demands focus, determination, and resilience. But I challenge the notion that hard work is one of the requirements. If it were, we would have more success stories to celebrate.

Working smarter is about leveraging the talents of people and collaboration. When you remove hurdles and bottlenecks in your processes, you promote ease. That which is easy gets accomplished. That translates to being able to produce more income with the resources you have. You likely will see a boost to team morale and fewer daily fires to put out.

It leverages technology and systems to streamline the business, allowing it to run smoothly. In fact, according to Gartner, by 2024, organizations will lower operational costs by 30% by combining hyper automation technologies with redesigned operational processes.

Consider which elements of your client experience and service could be delivered through automation, saving critical points for human interaction. The organizational efficiencies gained can offset growth investments and produce a more efficient team.

4. Profit is an intention, not a reward

One of the most misleading entrepreneurial and inspirational quotes is "Follow your passion and the money will follow." If only things were that simple.

If success is a reward of hard work, this quote puts profit on the same unattainable pedestal. Passion for what you do gives you fire in your belly and can bring a sense of contribution. At the end of the day, though, passion doesn't pay the bills; prolific profit does.

By shifting your mindset around profit and other metrics in your business, a magical change in how you spend your day occurs. You start focusing on initiatives that produce results and impact your bottom line.

5. Be a confident leader who empowers others

The entrepreneurial trials of the economic crisis have shaken the confidence of even the most experienced entrepreneurs. We are questioning everything in our professional and personal lives. Whispered conversations with other entrepreneurs over the year let us know that we are not alone in that journey.

With this period of reassessment, the future feels less certain. That uncertainty erodes our confidence to take risks and make bold moves. Past success, "knowing" and being right are pillars in the old definition of confidence.

Be careful — that shaken faith also seeps into our teams' bones. They want something to champion.

There is good news that can breathe new life into your confidence. You do not need all the answers. You do not even need to know the "how" beyond "what is the best next step?" You don't even need to be right.

Your future confidence needs to be about your team and the belief in what the team can do.

A source

MINIBOSS BUSINESS SCHOOL

Ken Robinson. Changing Education Paradigms

ABOUT MINIBOSS & BIGBOSS BUSINESS SCHOOL (UK)