Too many business leaders are mired in the problem of the day rather than stepping up to secure the future of their business. If business sustainability is important to you- it is time to get out of the weeds, climb to the top of the nearest hill and look down at the big picture.
This is not a journey that you should take by yourself. Bring along staff, business partners, respected clients, and other stakeholders. Engage a guide, a facilitator or a coach if it helps you to move forward faster and with more confidence.
To secure the future of your business, the following four steps up the mountain will likely keep you above the competition.
Step One: Start with the Foundation
Revisit your purpose and your values. What is important to you? If you had it right before, make sure it still holds true in the rapidly changing world. If your ‘reason to be’ is no longer compelling to you and your team, the business is not likely to succeed in a challenging business cycle.
Step Two: Assess Products and Services
Revisit your products and services and most importantly- talk to your clients. Have needs shifted?
Your product and services may be difficult to buy if they don’t save time, money or add great value even in a down economy. Which of your products and services are really working, and which ones aren’t? Now is the time to focus on productivity and efficiency. If you are wasting time, energy or money on non-productive products or services, it is time to let them go. What more can you do to expand upon the winners?
Are there other markets that you don’t serve today who could benefit in the current economy from your most successful products and/or services?
Step Three: Understand the Trends
There are major shifts occurring in economics, politics, globalization, demographics, and technology. For every trend you can identify, there are potential risks and opportunities for your business. Listen to what your clients, your colleagues and your competitors are talking about. Take the time to assess what the trends mean for your business. Identify one or two initiatives that will increase the likelihood that your business will be around in three years.
Step Four: Streamline Processes and Maximize Potential
Eliminating inefficiencies, maximizing productivity and applying more of the potential already in your business will help you get by on less when all of your assets count. Which of your business processes deliver inconsistent results- sales, customer service, production, other? Optimizing the workflows and roles and responsibilities of your team is critical to minimizing expenses and keeping your clients coming back.
As you bring your team up the hill to the future, don’t hesitate to challenge basic assumptions, brainstorm new ideas and put an inspired plan together.
Written by Helene Mazur
Helene is the founder of Princeton Performance Dynamics, an executive coaching and strategic planning facilitation company for business and non-profit leaders and their teams. Helene’s passion is helping her clients to focus their goals, see new perspectives on their current situation, put in place realistic, motivating plans, and execute to achieve new levels of success.
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