Why Capital Is Not Your Growth Problem

  Growth is one of the most crucial factors entrepreneurs face throughout the life cycle of their business. Many business owners experience stagnation and turn to the securing of capital as a remedy. However the lack of cash is not the cause of their stagnation but simply one of the symptoms. Do you find yourself constantly reacting to cash flow shortages? Does your productivity always require an increased effort in order to grow? Sustainable growth depends upon a scalable business structure and operation that will continuously improve profit while avoiding costs and input increase.   Plan your growth As a business expands its footprint, more and more opportunities present themselves but they are not necessarily the right ones for any given time. Also entrepreneurs are creative people by nature. Every day, before noon, they have probably come up with dozen of ideas for a new service or product. This kind of constant demand and creativity can distract them from their bread-and-butter business. The solution? Planning! Business planning is a comprehensive process for determining a business future and how it can best achieve its goals. It audits the full potential of a business and explicitly articulates the business’ objectives, the actions and resources required to achieve them. Desired outcomes come from intentional vision, intentional actions and intentional planning.   Make adjustments Making a few key adjustments can improve the scalability of a company. Reviewing business processes is a good way to ‘trim the fat’ by reducing unnecessary redundancies and increasing efficiency. The employees executing these tasks may provide interesting insights to improve the current processes. In a business providing services...

Stop Being Busy, Start Being Productive: Operations versus Profits

Managing a business relies on a network of systems and processes that are efficient yet flexible. They require careful scrutiny and evaluation to insure they include the right methodology and procedures. The art of accurately evaluating and tweaking your processes to improve your operations profitability is critical to building success and staying competitive. Systems and processes are put in place to keep companies on course toward their profitability goals and to minimize surprises along the way. They provide a clear and consistent blueprint for how business is done on a daily basis and how decisions are made. Inefficient systems and processes are costly in terms of dollars, waste, rework, delays, resource utilization, whereas ineffective ones are pricey as well because they are not reliable. They don’t do what they are meant to do.   Use the right metrics Management can’t comprehend the extent to which their organizations and processes are efficient and effective unless they choose and use the right metrics. The results of those measurements will help them improve the processes and the overall organization. This includes management processes as well as lower-level work processes. Some process efficiency measures are: resources (dollars, time, labor) expended per transaction of unit; cost of poor quality result and rework; percent of time items were out of stock when needed; percent of on-time delivery. Some effectiveness measures are: how well the output of the process meets the requirements of the end-user or customer; how well the inputs from the external suppliers meet the requirements of the process. By contrast, measures of ineffectiveness include: defective products; customer complaints; decreased revenues. For each of the metrics chosen,...

Small Business: 3 Signs You Need a New Strategy

Uncertainty of the Future Whether you own an established business or a startup, the day-to-day hustle of running a business can send your intentions to oblivion. With fires to put out in every corner, you are drawn into a reactive state of mind that you carry with you into the next day, week and year. With a coherent strategy, your company will have identifiable business objectives and a specific set of tasks to fulfill them, putting control back into your hands. Objectives are used to develop short to long-term growth and productivity plans, essential for the sustained success of your organization.   Lack of Accountability Every single problem is dumped onto your desk. From front line employees to middle management, they identify the problems and expect you to come up with the solutions. Yet they argue about why your solutions will not work. Business strategy creates an environment and culture where people are empowered to think for themselves, develop their own solutions and work together to implement them, owning and accepting accountability for their implementation. Also, leaders invested in a strategic planning have greater internal focus and are less likely to let outside factors and influences negatively weigh them down. With their strong belief that outcomes are not outside their control, leaders take responsibility for their actions and people are more willing to support and follow.   Lack of Time How many times a day do you say, “I don’t have time” or “I don’t have enough time”? Lack of time is a common problem that plagues small business owners. A business plan and strategy will allow you to...