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How Businesses Build Resilience in Troubled Economies

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Economic headwinds might be nothing new, but increasing talk of recession can put even the most resilient leaders in the doldrums. Yet Winston Churchill famously advised us to “never let a crisis go to waste” and encourages us to set sail for new opportunities. 

Recession or not, many entrepreneurs live life with all hands on deck solving problems as if merely trying to stay afloat and–often by sheer willpower–steer their business back onto the right course. There is a way, however, they can find real tailwinds to drive the company forward during bad times and good. 

The case for systems

‘The E-Myth’ author Michael E. Gerber recently said that businesses failing during another recent crisis, the Covid19 pandemic, would have sunk regardless. “The tragedy for them is not the (pandemic),” he said, “it’s the lack of understanding of what a business is, how one must work in order to grow effectively.” 

As with a sailboat and its crew, “how one must work” is using systems. Without systems such as navigation, sail trimming, counter weighing and more, a boat will get stuck in neutral, with no wind in its sails—or it can capsize and even worse, sink. So too with business. 

In the UK, 60% of UK small businesses sink within the first three years. Reasons include getting outcompeted, having the wrong talent, and burnout. Systems can solve these problems, and play an active role in harnessing the energy that drives a company forward. 

What are business systems?

They are simply processes, composed of detailed procedures that business owners can replicate for consistent, measurable results. Simple. They can exist for every single part of your business, from people and training, to sales and marketing and everything in between. 

In sailing, all forms of navigation, whether satnav or celestial, have the same four step system: 1, locate your position; 2, determine a course; 3, monitor the course; and 4, repeat. Kind of like tracking your progress towards your sales target or marketing director’s KPI, right? 

Let’s look at a couple of my favourite business areas where processes make a huge impact. My top two areas for systemisation will get you more out of your ‘ship and crew’ with headwind or tailwind alike. 

1. People and education

“Systems run the business and people run the systems,” Michael E. Gerber says.  

Hiring is a clear concern for business owners, so systemise the hiring process starting from the very top. Even hiring a single wrong person, particularly at a senior level, can set your plan back a year (and yes, your plan is also a system). 

You can build systems to create an optimised hiring process, develop effective job listings, ensure you search in the right places, ask the right questions and much more. 

During this process you can use system-friendly tools like DISC profiling to help you assemble teams of diverse thinkers and you can rely on instruments like positional contracts to be abundantly plain and clear about people’s roles. And of course, you can systemise onboarding and performance tracking too, not to mention training and learning in order to offer equal development opportunities consistently to your talent.

2. Testing and measuring

Your business should be in a journey of continuous improvement. How do you navigate that journey? Test and measure everything you possibly can from plans to budgets, job ads to sales leads origin, sales conversion rates to logistics costs, and more.

Let’s look at a sales example. The entire process from lead acquisition through nurturing and conversion should be systemised and automated as much as possible. And of course, as much of this is digital, you can not only use software but also automated tools.  

Using an email marketing tool and a customer relationship management (CRM) tool (or even software that combines both features, like HubSpot) can help you build automated processes to acquire new leads, nurture them over time, score them and try to turn them into sales. 

What I see too often is entrepreneurs in a habit of sending one-off email marketing messages or knee jerk marketing tactics without strategy or process. Given how important it is, how much time and money are invested, and the potential value of converted leads to the business, it’s crucial to make sure the message, ad, etc. fits into their overall marketing strategy and that there’s a plan and process to engage and qualify leads generated from those investments. 

Start big

So those are my favourite two areas to systemise. When it comes to putting in these important processes, everyone has to start small, right? Instead, and this might sound a bit controversial, I recommend starting big. And by that I mean, envision the company you are going to be when you exit; imagine how professional it is, and what brilliant systems it has in place to keep the wind in its sails after you have exited (and are living life on your superyacht!). 

Start acting with that professionalism now and aim to bring systems into the business as soon as you possibly can. The journey towards your exit will never be plain sailing. And your systems will always be catching up, but as they do, they will blow your business forward in stormy or optimal economic conditions alike. And start now; as the saying goes, “time and tide wait for no-one!”

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Entrepreneurs

Why Entrepreneurial Innovation Matters More Than Ever

Innovation and disruption are a key part of thought leadership online. But most online business owners today are blinded by tactics

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Innovation is a topic often discussed in software applications, app development, and the world of tech. However; you don’t hear it as much in the online business space, particularly among service providers. But innovation is the lifeblood of market leadership.  (more…)

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How to Lose a Team in 10 Days: Are You a True Leader?

The dichotomy between good leadership and poor leadership is that you are either showing up for your people or expecting your people to show up for you.

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“If you don’t like working here, I’m not going to force any of you to stay. Put in your transfer or resignation papers and I will sign them today and you can go work someplace else.” (more…)

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How You Can Start Networking in Style in 2023

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make

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Are you completely new to networking?

Then this article is a great place to start. Networking isn’t hard on paper…you go along to online and in-person meetings, make new connections and build relationships, and those relationships lead to more work so you can grow your business! The challenge is that in reality, it isn’t quite so straightforward, as our emotions get involved and make things much tougher.

It’s incredibly common for nerves to creep in and to feel overwhelmed and apprehensive when it comes to networking – even when it isn’t new to you. But how can you become more successful at it, feel less self-conscious, and make networking work for you and your business?

Here’s a few tips to help you embrace every business networking opportunity you get, so you can grow your business and achieve your goals.

Rock up with confidence

If you want to keep those nerves at bay and ooze confidence at networking get-togethers, you’ll need to downplay it rather than seeing it as a big occasion. Try not to put pressure on yourself and see it as a casual meet-up with a bunch of people with similar goals to you. To help you relax in the run-up to the event, be sure to set achievable goals and expectations before you go.

Keep your chin up and your goals in mind – positivity is key. One easy goal for your first networking meeting is very simply to speak to one other person and see where the conversation goes. Introduce yourself and your business, but take the time to listen to their story, too. It’ll only take a few minutes and will be over before you know it, so it’s nothing to fear. You may even enjoy it and want to speak to a few more people, too!

“You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie

Where to go networking

If you’ve never been networking before, it might not be very easy to find a group – but only because there’s so much choice and you don’t know where to start your search! Groups come in different sizes and styles, so it’s important to find one that suits you and your business. Informal, formal, big, small… the choice is yours.

For your first meeting, start small to ease yourself in – a big group could prove too daunting, and stop you from feeling comfortable enough to get involved. After all, you want to make a strong first impression!

If you’re wondering which group to opt for in the long-term, give a few a go! Get a feel for them, speak to as many people as you can, and see which one suits! You’ll know when a group feels right for you, and you can see where those all-important relationships are most likely to be built. If a group doesn’t feel like the right for you, give a different one a go.

Get more leads and referrals

This will happen for you, as long as you put the effort into building those relationships. If you take the time to get to know people, and then check in with them and support them, they’ll see you as a trustworthy and reliable contact who they can call on. And when they feel that way, those leads and referrals you’re looking for will come a-knocking.

Once you’ve made relationships with people who you trust, and they’ve had a positive experience working with you, you can even ask for referrals! But don’t rush this, as you don’t want to inadvertently push people away or try and force the relationship along too quickly.

When you do get an opportunity to work with someone you’ve met at a networking group, go above and beyond to offer more value than they’re expecting, as then, they’ll be much more likely recommend you and introduce you to more of their contacts!

Grow your business

By investing your time and effort in networking, you will gain more business through the relationships you make, and you will be able to grow your business.

We know that it’s not easy, going networking for the very first time. And that’s why we want to give you all the advice and tools that you need so you can walk in with confidence and make the most of the opportunity.

2023 is just around the corner, and you have the chance to make it the year you make networking work for your business. And the benefits could be incredibly amazing for your business, just like they have been for ours, and many business owners we have worked with over the years.

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Entrepreneurs

5 Keys to Building a Valuable Business

There are so many reasons to start a business. The freedom, the flexibility, and the control may be appealing.

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There are so many reasons to start a business. The freedom, the flexibility, and the control may be appealing. Or the chance to make money doing something you truly love and the ability to be your own boss and set your own hours.  (more…)

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