29 April 2021
When you’re working in small business, it can be very easy to get caught up in the busyness of day to day work. This is even more the case when you’re working on a start-up or a side hustle, where you need to be Head of Sales, Chief Packer, social media guru, culture cheerleader, CFO and chief bottle washer.
While it can seem like the impossible, it’s critical to set some time aside on a regular basis to work on the business, not just in it. This is the time where you get to work on your strategy, consider your market feedback, hone your offering, and strengthen the foundations of your enterprise.
The time you’ll need to set aside will vary from person to person and business to business but at a minimum, you should be setting aside a day each quarter to reflect, re-plan and re-energise your business activities.
Once you know your market, have your product or service developed and you’ve established demand, business growth, at its core, fundamentally becomes a simple mix of maths and discipline.
Putting aside the time to reflect and adjust your approach is part of the discipline of running a successful and growing business. If maths isn’t your strong suit, then look at outsourcing the basics and getting an accountant or business coach to run the numbers of your core drivers and performance for you, so you have the summary to work with.
The same goes for expansion planning. Engage the right skills sets to do the crunch work for you and allow yourself the time to reflect on the learnings and messages this holds, so you can spend your time where it has the most impact.
Every successful business has three key pillars and, as it expands further, there are four.
Whether it be a service business or a product business, production (sourcing, manufacturing, delivering) is a fundamental requirement for the business to succeed. You need to have a great offering, and you need to deliver it well and deliver it consistently
This can be a combination of things depending on your business and its target market. It might be social media, it might be pricing, presentation in shop, or engagement in the community. It’s a focus on what your customers want, and how to present it to them.
This is knowing your gross market, your breakeven point, your trigger point for expanding to that administration assistant or sales assistant. It can include your banking relationship, and cashflow funding, and it definitely includes your cashflow planning.
As you expand, you’ll also need to consider hiring, contracts, Fair Work, payroll, super, reporting, management, development and promotion.
The first three pillars are essential to every business, and the fourth to those that have grown to require additional staff.
All of these require someone in the business who is both good at them, and passionate about them. It’s near impossible for one person to be both good at and excited about all of these things, so it’s highly advisable to outsource the elements of these pillars that you don’t care for yourself. This might expand to your spouse, a trusted employee, a business partner, or you might hire in the skill set that you don’t have strength in yourself.
Setting aside time to look at the business, rather than being stuck in the thick of the day to day, will help you to adjust your strategy to cover all the pillars your business needs to succeed. The opportunity cost if you don’t invest your time can be significant.