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Business Direction – Framework for SME Success

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How does business direction help you be a global leader, beat the competition, and build something of value? What’s getting in the way? You believe you can overcome: If only you could get your arms around your next steps.

Rogan Hounsell-Roberts was a founder of a successful scale-up; has helped organisations across many sectors achieve success; is a founder of KR5 Consulting; and has a passion for helping ambitious business owners scale-up and exit.

No matter if you’re the smallest or the biggest, moving forward requires breaking goals into manageable steps. Those steps have to go somewhere; you don’t want that sinking feeling of a long and tiring journey and find yourself back where you started; or worse still, lost and alone.

This is part-one of a three-part series of “Seeing through the business fog”. In this part we look at the importance of building a framework around your business direction. Part-two “Metrics in business – staying in control” looks at having a feedback loop to make sure you’re on the right path. In the final part “Go to Person – there’s a dark side”, explores how to avoid being over a barrel or putting undue pressure on staff.

Know where you’re going

Business direction gets you where you want to be. My teenage daughter set her heart on climbing Scafell Pike a 978m (3,200 ft) peak in the Lake District. As a family, we planned and prepared carefully and started our walk from Seathwaite in sunshine. As we began to climb, there was a refreshing drizzle. The drizzle turned to rain and soon we couldn’t see more than a hundred metres. Yet we knew where we were going, we had a map, we could see our progress.  That gave us confidence to press on and achieve our goal.

There’s no map

Of course, when you’re a pioneer there’s no map at the start. You’re the one creating the map! Unfortunately for many, this means holding everything in their head. That’s not a good place to be. What you need is some way of capturing all that, so you can question and build on it. For some that might be taking a leaf out of “The E-Myth Revisited” by Michael E. Gerber, but what if it’s not that simple? See “What are business systems, and why should you care?”.

In Romeo Kumalo’s 4 Principles For Finding Your Direction In Business, Kumalo talks about creating your own framework. He says, “I think it’s important to get business fundamentals right; systems and processes and building the right focus. You need to have a business plan for yourself. My most important lesson has been to look at what I put into my toolbox. Acquire experiences to mould your framework.”

Often the challenge is that there’s a gap between the strategy and execution. See “Scale a Business profitably without Aggro”. There are so many moving parts, it’s difficult to process when it’s in your head. And writing down fragments on the back of napkins only goes so far. There’s a need for a framework shaped by your experiences and that bridges the gap between the business direction and action.

Focus on the wildly important goal

In “The 4 Disciplines of Execution” by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey & Jim Huling talk about the challenge of the whirlwind of the day job. I think any small business owner would recognise that too! There are only so many hours in the day. The solution is to figure out the most important goal and focus on doing that one thing. Counter intuitively, you get more done focusing on one thing at a time instead of trying to have several goals on the go at the same time.

Xtrac, a Berkshire based company, are a global leader in making precision gearboxes. They make gearboxes for motor sports, rally cars and super-cars amongst others. In a recent behind the scenes tour of the factory organised by IoD Berkshire, the Chairman, Peter Digby explained that their focus helped them be very successful. For them being a global leader meant being experts in design, materials and craftmanship. They have invested in expensive specialist equipment, research and testing to stay ahead of the game. The takeaway is that being a global leader takes energy, time and money – you have to focus to be successful.

Adapt or die

Once you know your business direction, you also need a plan to get there – see “Technology Plan: 6 Reasons Why Scale-Ups Need One”. The British Army say, “No plan survives contact with the enemy”. Eric Ries in “The Lean Startup” tells the story of the months of development that failed. The book goes on to talk about the need to start small, test the market, learn lessons and adapt. When you’re building a business, how can you create the building blocks that you can adapt and repurpose? The framework that captures your unique experience, also needs to adapt to market changes and take advantage of new opportunities. It’s all about the tools in your toolbox.

Finally

We’ve seen the value of having a map for your business direction, to get you through the tough times and give you assurance of reaching the summit. You have to create your own maps and framework based on a clear focus on where you want to be. Know what tools you need in your toolbox to be successful and adapt as things change.

For some, knowledge swirls around their head but it’s difficult to grab hold of. Difficult to turn into action to build the business. It takes too much energy, and it’s like wading through treacle. If that’s you, and you’re ambitious to scale your business, then we can help you capture your business direction in a framework to help your business take the steps to reach the summit.

KR5 Consulting is a business technology consultancy with a passion to help ambitious business owners. We provide a unique approach to business technology to help you scale-up and exit. Our approach delivers high-level views for the board, along with incremental and practical implementation. Our work starts by understanding the business direction and needs so we can work together to create a plan. We create a map of the current and future systems to create a clear overview and monitor progress. Our purpose is to help you accelerate, increase profits, scale-up, acquire customers and beat the competition. We do the heavy lifting so that senior leaders can focus their time on building a successful business.

If you’d like to explore the ideas in this article further or need help and advice, please contact Rogan at rhounsell@kr5consulting.com – to arrange an informal chat.

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