Growing Your Business Avoiding the Feast or Famine Approach
Boom or Bust…
Small business can be a rollercoaster if you let it… and not one of the fun ones.
Believe it or not, you’ve got more control over this than you may think. It’s up to you to take charge, to plan, to strategize, and to control your business activity.
Planning… Too Much Effort for Too Little Return
That was my thoughts…
And I used to do that for a living!
Earlier in my life, I was a Budget Accountant for a Fortune 500 Pharmaceutical organisation. Each Quarter, I would liaise with the Divisional General Managers and help them co-ordinate their Quarterly Rolling Forecasts.
Each Quarter, they would review what’s happening and forecast out the next two years. This would take roughly half of every quarter. For the other six weeks, I’d have a pretty cushy role, doing some cool projects but very light on really.
The business would carry on, doing the do whilst all this was going on. Of course, there were teams of people to do everything. Marketing teams (for each division) sales teams, a manufacturing team, etc… Teams!!!
Small business doesn’t have teams, they have people and most of the time those people do a lot of different roles. So there’s no time for planning… We have to do it or we don’t get paid!
I’ve Been a Bad Business Owner
I did some pretty great stuff and supported clients well. I even created a saleable business.
Yet, it could have been so much more.
I let myself down relying too much on the business in front of me and of course, my team followed my lead.
When we’d fall into a hole (which would happen) I could be a really inspirational leader and get the team to rally around to achieve some really great stuff. However, as soon as I wasn’t there, “Lord of the Flies” started.
Recruitment Is More than Just Putting People in Jobs
That’s what we did. Recruit.
We did it ethically and to the best of our ability with the information provided, getting to know client organisations as best we could, and getting to understand candidates and what they were seeking too.
Yet, over time, I got tired of the feast or famine cycle. Running around and marketing on jobs, and then chasing candidates to fill them. At times I felt like that neighbour’s dog that chases its tail to the point it nearly falls over (although occasionally we did fall over).
(Think your business is stuck in a Feast or Famine Cycle? Read more about it here.)
Building a Plan for a Small Business
Having a business plan isn’t a luxury, it’s the only true shortcut. How would you know if you’re on track if there’s no planned track?
Imagine trying to travel in a foreign country without a map. It’d be crazy. It’s hard enough with one much of the time. And if you’re thinking “but I know this country (your business and industry)”, the world keeps changing and the roads keep shifting, so a map is the best approach to being able to navigate around the changes.
Don’t Get Bogged Down
That’s the first thing. It’s not about perfecting every minute detail. The world keeps changing…
Get a true handle on the big picture and then refine the processes as you go.
Here’s what I include in a business plan.
Diagnose & Define
a. Where the business is (diagnose)
b. Get Clear about where it’s going (define)
c. Identify the gaps
Create a Marketing Plan
a. Product/Market fit
b. The Message
c. Marketing Channels (how we’ll market)
Plan the Operations
a. Processes (what do you need to tighten up)
b. Plant (Systems & Equipment)
c. People – (Who and when)
c. Cash Flow
Executive Summary & Scorecards
a. The Major Players
b. Key Financials
c. The Strategy
This is about taking out the ‘Hope’ and replacing it with strategy. The scorecards are critical to ensure we’re doing the things we need to do consistently to keep us on the path we’ve now established.
That Looks Daunting…
Yeah, but it’s not really.
What’s daunting is trying to achieve an unknown, undefined level of business growth without any yardstick to know whether it’s enough.
Taking a week to get clear on each of the above, while you continue to operate your business, define what you’re looking to achieve, identify the gaps and strategically close those gaps throughout the year is not a daunting prospect at all.
Leaving the rollercoaster for an amazing journey of success without the low lows is a really exciting prospect.
If you’ve got this… Great.
If you’d like support, we’ve planned the process!
It’s fully templated with workshops to guide you through the unknowns.
The program becomes a little colour by numbers, for you information to fit right in developing a personal plan just for your business.
Time… Each session is 2 hours, and you’ll need about the same in between each week, during the program. So you can continue to run your business uninterrupted.
When you plan and get organised, you can fit so much more in.
About the contributor:
Kevin Gammie started his first small business in 1999. Kevin’s worked as an Accountant, Consulting Salesman & State Manager in Fortune 500 Businesses as well as smaller and mid-size organisations. These days his passion for small business owners success is what drives Growth Mentors. Simply put Growth Mentors “Grow Great Businesses” through utilising their knowledge, understanding and expertise in brain science, emotional Intelligence, mindset and sound business practices. Combining these to help business owners get Clear, Confidence and Focused for a sustainably profitable, successful future. Website: http://growthmentors.com.au/