Friday, April 26, 2013

Growing Your Own Business

Running your own business should be exciting, challenging, rewarding and, ultimately, lucrative. However, it isn't always so. Many SMEs fail. Few achieve their full potential. Most grow for a while and then reach some plateau where, despite the best efforts of the business leader or the leadership team, they continue to bump along year after year.

Why is this?

It may be due in part to external factors like market turn-down, a worsening economy or your product starts to lose ground to competitors. Perhaps a change of staff has not produced employees who are as effective as the original small team.

Often, however, the answer is much simpler than that. Take a look in the mirror! The limiting factor for most businesses is the time, attention or knowledge of the person or group of people running it. The owners may grow the business for many years just by working hard, for long hours, but there comes a point where every new thing they have to do means that something they used to do no longer gets done. Even if the business has employed more staff, overall productivity is going down.

Managing a business and leading people is difficult to do well and it is unwise to try to practice it through trial and error. People often say, "I'll pick it up as I go along" - and the vast number of those businesses struggle. This is not a coincidence - these facts are related.

What can you do about it?

Start by recognising the limiting beliefs that are holding you back - your mind-set - and replace them with enabling beliefs.Take a look at the purpose: your vision of where you want to go, how you want to get there, what you believe in, what you value and what you do. What is your strategy for explaining what is special about your product and how it is a better proposition for your chosen market?
Systematization: this makes your business efficient, repeatable, resilient, reliable - and scalable.

Finally, think about engagement. People are much easier to manage when they are committed to the cause. They are also much more productive. An engaged workforce is aligned with the organisation's purpose, will feel proud to be part of a winning team and teamwork will come naturally to them as a result.

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