We’re talking about preparing for economic uncertainty in a lot of my client sessions at the moment, so I wanted to cover the main topics of discussion. These seven topics tend to have the biggest impact on how you feel about the future, so let’s take a look.
1. Your vision and objectives
I speak about this all the time, and how important it is to always keep front of mind what you’re doing this for. What is important in your life? Why are you in business?
Is your vision and objective crystal clear? Can you base your critical decisions on it?
TIP: Clarifying and remembering your purpose will motivate you every day, so share it with others so you can have those conversations, measure your success and celebrate your achievements.
Read more about vision in my blog: ‘4 reasons visions boards work, and 1 why they don’t‘
What are you doing in your business that pulls people toward you? What makes a prospective customer lean in with interest when you talk about your product or services? What are the activities that work best for you to build traction?
TIP: Define what success looks like to you, build a reporting dashboard so you can measure your investment and return, then tweak, delete or add activities to maximise the attraction.
3. Sales process
Are you converting as many opportunities as you can? Where do your leads drop off and how can you make improvements to the process to deliver a great conversion of sales to paying customers?
The sales process continues across the customer journey, so don’t forget the opportunities after the initial sale when you are building loyalty and advocacy.
TIP: Retaining paying customers is a hot topic, so look at the areas of your business where you can engage more, and share added value. This could be in marketing, logistics or after sales.
4. Know the real numbers
Knowing your profit and losses and understanding your accounts is healthy, but that’s looking backwards at the outcomes that have been and gone. I encourage you to look forward, look at the activities that produced those numbers and determine what you can do more or less of. I call these activities, success drivers.
What are the activities that create your outcomes? For example, your revenue, margin and profit are all outcomes based as results of other activities in your business.
TIP: Make your key performance indicators focus on the activities that came before the profits. Is there something you can change, do more of or identify as a cost rather than an investment?
If this interests you, you might also like, ‘Stop focusing on the wrong numbers’
A lot of my client sessions lately have been around three subjects when it comes to people in your business; hiring, retaining, and productivity.
The question may not be, ‘are you getting enough out of your people?’ Rather, HOW are you getting the best?
TIP: Are the right people in the right seat, doing the right activities? Think about how your business culture can affect your peoples’ work lives.
I’ve separated data from numbers, for the specific purpose of identifying the difference between what has passed, and what is in your future. Data can be telling you about your sales and marketing, it could be related to delivery of promise or staff contentment, and it shows you the key things to focus on to improve.
TIP: Look at your data with one question at a time to focus on. There is so much that it can tell you that it can be easy to lose sight of your objective.
Some business owners might think this a strange thing to focus on, but I’ve found that if you can predict and be prepared for what’s around the corner you can prevent being stopped in your tracks or coming off the rails entirely. We can’t always make predictions, but look back, look forward and build solutions into your next business plan.
TIP: Bring in other members of your team; sales, marketing, finance and customer relations for example. Everyone will have an idea of their own obstacles and solutions.
If you need a fresh pair of eyes and another perspective on facing economical challenges, I offer an hour of free business mentoring, where I share my experience and the learnings of my clients to support you in being prepared for how the future affects your business. Wishing you all the best for the end of this year, and planning for next – Mike.