What Your Business Needs Most in 2013 – Good News & Bad News
• The good news is that the businesses of many of my clients are seeing stronger growth this year.
• The bad news is that this growth can present a significant risk to their businesses.
First, why are we experiencing business growth this year?
• Pent up demand from customers who held off buying due to concern over the economy.
• Your customers’ businesses are growing and they need to increase their capacity.
• Interest rates are low, but rates may be headed up for loans to make purchases.
• There are fewer suppliers now because many competitors did not survive the last 5 years.
Great, so what’s the problem?
Things have really changed in business, and greater changes are coming faster than ever before. What you did to survive the last 5 years is not what is needed now, especially if you are the owner or manager of a privately held business. Over the past 5 years most people managed their business: increasing efficiency, streamlining, and cutting costs which worked well for the conditions that existed then. But now you need to provide leadership to seize opportunities and avoid risk. You need to motivate your customers to buy, your staff to work hard and to stay with you. But how is leadership different from management? Management skills are just a small part of leadership. Let’s look at what leadership skills include.
Business Skills – vision, planning, problem solving
Management skills – performance management, delegation, coaching and development
Intrapersonal Skills – drive and initiative, composure, action orientation
Interpersonal skills – listening, building relationships, approachability
In this high growth environment problems can arise due to:
Mismatch of increased demand to capacity, especially when demand is highly variable. The risk is that you will not be able to meet demand or to achieve the level of service that your customers expect from your company. Once your reputation is damaged it is extremely difficult to rebuild it.
Maintaining quality: when people and machines are under pressure, older equipment may be used, new employees are hired quality will typically suffer
Retaining and Motivating Employees: with an improving economy employees are more likely to leave, and possibly go to a competitor
Higher customer demands: improving business may catch your customers by surprise and they may have more rush orders, or orders for products they have not bought from you before or at quality standards that are different.
What are the solutions?
LEAD your company to seize opportunity while reducing risk by doing the following things which I call the 4 A’s:
Awareness of your situation: objectively seeing the situation from a strategic perspective. It is easy to get caught up in the activity and fall into crisis management rather than strategic leadership.
Analysis – Analyze your options and how you can innovate to improve productivity and leverage resources.
Action – Act decisively once you have evaluated the risks and rewards to build your capabilities and capacity.
Accountability – Create formal goals that are strategically significant and measurable; and assign them the appropriate people responsibility for achieving them with tangible rewards.
These actions take a lot of discipline and leadership qualities that may be outside your comfort zone. However solid leadership is absolutely proven time and again to be the foundation of successful companies that survive in good times and bad.
Art Helmstetter is a business mentor and coach specialized in leadership development. If you need help due to increased growth, or if your business is not growing, the help of an advisory board or business mentor can make the difference. You can learn more about leadership at www.OhioBusinessHelp.com. If you would like to discuss your situation with Art at no cost, you can contact him at 937-985-0481 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.