By K.P. Persaud/Guest Column
Editor’s note: This is the second article in a two-part series. The first part can be found at http://bit.ly/1sHYPrL.
Making the transition to working on your business is a matter of addition (adding more of what you do best and adding other things you should be doing) and subtraction (getting rid of what you should not be working on).
To one day have the ideal business you envision, what are some of the big changes you need to see? What do you need to add? What do you need to subtract? When you look at the diagnosis of your current business, what areas are holding you back?
For example, if in your ideal business you would like to only be physically present at the business part-time, how would that affect the technical side of your business? Could you still be allocating such a large percentage of your time to those aspects?
To help you make the transition to your ideal business, I will give you four steps to follow. These steps will overlap with one another to a certain extent, but
I’ve separated them out so that you can think of them as distinct areas of focus.
Step one: Install your components
The business model you will work towards must have the following components:
Financial mastery: If you don’t know or understand your business’s numbers, there’s no point in worrying about anything else. Even if you’re afraid of what your current numbers might tell you, don’t let that stop you from taking a look. You must install a financial system to help you understand fixed and variable costs, profit and loss concepts, and cash flow management.
Your numbers will be your road map as you re-shape your strategy. You’ll begin to see where you should be directing your focus and where you shouldn’t. The numbers will continue to guide you at every step.
Destination mastery: Plan your work and work your plan. Short- and long-term goals must be established according to your finances, market demand for your products and other factors. Once you identify the direction your business should be headed, you will chart each step of the journey ahead of you by developing strategic plans.
Delivery mastery: Create a system to plan and constantly deliver promises to your customers. Supply base, logistics, distribution, manufacturing and quality control are part of this system. With the right system in place, your operation can run like a well-oiled machine.
Time mastery: Identify the highest and best use of your time and that of your employees. Critical mass must be directed to the key initiatives to get the job done in the right amount of time, and at the right times. This is about execution of your plans with maximum efficiency.
Step two: Position your business
Position your products and services to reach the target market you have strategically identified. Your sales and marketing efforts will be driven by market research and other data. The information you compile will tell you what you should sell, who you should sell it to, where you should sell it, when you should sell it, how much you should sell it for and even how you should sell it. Stop wasting your money on a marketing campaign that’s simply shooting in the dark.
Step three: Document and systematize
To walk away from your business, whether to sell it or just to get some much-needed time away, you must install systems and processes that will carry out your mission. You must also document how these systems and processes are to work in painstaking detail.
Imagine if you wanted to replicate your business and put it in another location 500 miles away, or create 50 more businesses scattered about the country just like yours. Could you hand over the written documentation you have created so that a general manager or franchisee could be up and running without much input from you?
Step four: Put your team in place
You need to install a team that reflects your values, mission and vision at all levels of the enterprise. You could even consider hiring a CEO or COO. Remember that you are the business owner, but that does not necessarily mean you should be the one making every operational decision.
This kind of high-performance thinking isn’t terribly complicated. For whatever reason, though, the majority of business owners never take the time to think critically about their business in this way. Remember that your business will not rise to a higher level unless you (1) imagine a higher level to be possible, and (2) you think through how to get to that level.
K.P. Persaud is the founder and president of DeKasp Enterprises Inc., and an executive business coach with ActionCoach in Cedar Rapids. He can be reached at actioncoach.com or (319) 721-3175.