Helping your business in uncertain times

By John Gavljak - June 10, 2020

You have managed to stabilise your business, you can finally lift your head above the sand. But what is next? Is your business set up to take advantage of any growth opportunities? Are you focused on the right customers and segments with appropriate capability? Or are you taking a scatter-gun approach to survival?

Understanding your market and customer opportunities

Under the pressure of running a business and pursuing growth, cash flow and profitability, often business leaders get caught-up in winning or selling to every customer possible and when there are uncertain times people are even more distracted, rightly so. But, is this the most effective approach to maximising opportunity?

Consider the following:

  • Are you operating in markets that are aligned to your strategy?
  • Have you quantified your total target market opportunity?
  • Is your relationship with some customers at the expense of more profitable and lucrative work with other customers?
  • Are your people working towards achieving the business strategy or are their KPIs causing them to ‘game the system’?

Executing your strategy

Most businesses have a business strategy, but the most successful businesses are carefully and consistently executing their strategy. An example is Apple - their strategy is to focus on the design and functionality of products, strengthening the ecosystem of Apple and decreasing their dependence of the business on the sale of iPhones – their plan continually evolves, but all their decisions are aligned to their core strategy.

Uncertain times gives you a chance to really turn your business strategy on its head and consider the following questions:

  • How does your business go to market?
  • Do you have a targeted customer or client list that is shared among your teams?
  • Do you have the right capability to deliver what your customers need?
  • Is your capability aligned to your vision and strategy?

If you do not have the right capability to deliver to your clients or customers, do you need to:

  • Acquire another business to bolt on to your existing operations?
  • Develop your existing people and technological capability to deliver what your clients and strategy need?
  • Partner with other businesses or contractors to support your approach and delivery to customers?

Ongoing performance measurement and strategic review

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results” - Winston Churchill.

Business strategy and performance is not a ‘set-and-forget’ project, it is something that needs regular review and revision. Ongoing performance measurement and strategic reviews are essential to ensure business growth.

Rather than ‘set-and-forget’ think about resetting some of your performance measures. Consider the following questions:

  • How often do you measure and how do you measure your business performance? (i.e. weekly and monthly)
  • Are your KPIs from the total business picture down to employee level aligned to your business strategy and goals?
  • Do you have a capable internal finance team or external advisor that can develop and guide you, as a leader, through strategic decision options?
  • Do your employees review their performance frequently with their director leaders? Do both individuals understand the KPIs and performance?

If you take into consideration all of the above as your business moves from stabilisation and preservation to the next phase of your evolution you will be in the right position to seize the opportunity to grow with momentum.

Actions to grow your business with momentum

1

Develop a clear understanding of market opportunity and align your team to targeted customers/segments.

2

 Develop effective business KPIs to achieve business strategy.

3

Asses business capability and gaps to customer needs and defined market opportunity. Set a plan to close gaps through acquisitions, training or partnering with other businesses.

4

Clarify your business go-to-market strategy. 

5

Assess your current KPI structure against business strategy and goals.

6

Ensure employees and their leaders understand their KPIs and personal goals are aligned to business objectives.


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