The season of change

It is at this time of year that we see the most distinct change in our natural surroundings, with autumn bringing a dramatic array of colours from greens to reds, yellows and browns in our trees. This of course marks the move from the summer months to the winter months and like nature, those of us running businesses must prepare for the tough months ahead.

Indeed this could be the ideal time to plan for many years ahead by re-visiting your Strategic Business Plan or perhaps carrying out a Strategic Business Review for the first time. We are in a period of economic recovery and those businesses that have planned and adapted best will be able to take most advantage of the opportunities in front of them.

So what should the Strategic Business Review entail? Not an exhaustive list, but here are some pointers:

  • Is your business functional? Do you have the right people in the right places doing the right things?
  • Are you exploring new markets and possible diversification?
  • Are you embracing technological change in IT, office equipment and plant and machinery?
  • Is your funding adequate and in the right structure to implement your plans?
  • Are you managing and nurturing talent in the business aligned with a clear Succession Plan, particularly for those business owners in the “autumn” of their careers?
  • Is your business adequately protected against death or incapacity of key individuals or other catastrophic events?
  • Is the Strategic Business Plan aligned with your personal objectives?

One of the most common challenges that we see businesses facing, is where the business has experienced several years of rapid growth and has hit a “brick wall” in terms of where the strategic direction of the business is heading. The business owners then have a choice.

They might put the brakes on and continue at a level which they can manage by continuing to operate as they have been, and typically the business owners will want to stay in control and in their comfort zones. This is often referred to as a “lifestyle” business, where growth will always be limited.

Alternatively, strong action and leadership can see the business break through the “brick wall” and move into a new period of sustained and profitable growth. This will typically mean that the business owners will have to stop doing everything that they have been, perfect the art of delegation and giving responsibility and spend more time on the bigger strategic picture. Our experience is when the people in our clients businesses are given that responsibility, they more often than not rise to that challenge supported by appropriate training and coaching.

A Strategic Business Review will encompass all of this and more and requires some deep thinking and willingness to change. Many business owners find this difficult and Armstrong Watson can assist by facilitating the process through our ‘Blue’ offering. We can help you lay the foundations so that you can hit the ground running and “spring” into action in the year ahead.

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