3 Key issues that hold Small Business back – And What to do about them
– Improve the business in its current state
– Take the existing business model to the Next level
– Do Something different to the business
And the 3 Key issues that hold these Small Businesses back are usually the same too:
– And … if you do have the time and resources, deciding where to invest these, so it yields the best outcomes for your business
If you are a business owner, you probably have many ideas about how to grow your business, dreams about where you want your business to go and a lot of concerns about how you’re going to make it happen. Let’s address the 3 common issues to help you get from point A to point B:
1) TIME - Channeling Time
Finding the time to work on your business rather than working ‘in’ your business is a common concern. How do you move from being involved in every aspect of the day to day to freeing yourself to have time each day to grow your business? Time to step away from your business and trust that it can run itself while you take an all-important trip to a conference, travel abroad to pitch a concept to a potential investor, or just as importantly, take a holiday!
Having the confidence that your business will keep running smoothly in your absence is also a big challenge. Time to analyse what is working and what is not, what steps you need to take next and how to implement them is also a really big hurdle for many business owners.
So, what can you do to overcome these areas of concern that all stem from time? We all get the same 24 hours in a day, but how you approach spending those hours is critical to your success?
Have a strategy that is more than just a prioritisation tool – Create a strategy to “Channel time”
1. Look at your next 1-3 year landscape and create a strategy that helps you thrive, not just survive.
2. From this, map each of your activities to the overarching landscape.
3. Use a planning model to bring in an outcome based strategy to each of your actions. Use principles like ‘eliminate, reduce, add, enhance’ to assess your results.
4. Stay Agile – Implement a plan, but DO NOT BE AFRAID of deviating as long as you are aligned to your overall strategy and landscape
A good business advisor can help you to create a strategy. And then, help you stay on it, but also be agile enough without deviating from the core purpose.
2) RESOURCES - Optimising Resources
And yes, if you have a strategy, you will be able to step away and take a break or leave the country for work without your business falling into a state of catastrophe, you won’t be getting panicked phone calls from your staff and horrible emails from disgruntled customers.
And believe it or not, a good strategy can actually help you ‘optimally apply your existing resources’. You can do this yourself. But if you are like me or my clients, you will probably want to engage a good business coach or advisor to get you there quicker and more efficiently and also help assess if it needs to be kept in-house, outsourced or a combination of both. That’s part of channeling your resources wisely, isn’t it?!
In a nutshell, you can start by breaking your business down in to specific areas and then looking at each area you can, over a period of months and work on each area of the business in silo to the others.
All the parts together make up your business but when you strengthen one, you also strengthen the others.
For example, you would have at least 3 or more of the following in your small business that might not be getting the attention they need
1. Finances, Profit Margins, ROI
2. Product offering & development
3. People and HR
4. Marketing, Branding
5. Processes, systems, software
6. Building value and eliminating Risk from your business
A business advisor will have a smarter plan – but if you are doing this yourself, here are some tips. Map out time to work on one area at a time with a specific goal for improvements. Do this for, say 2 months per area with a dedicated amount of time each week, be it 1 hour or 8, in 12 months you will have worked on, strengthened, improved and implemented positive and lasting changes in your core business.
In other words – you will have a strategy that helps you get optimum results from your existing resources.
3) STRATEZY - What's Right for your Business
There’s literally billions of bits of information about running businesses that we have coming at us from every possible online source and then some! Thanks to all this, you are not short of Knowledge, but what is right for your business.
The time and resources you do have are better spent if you could channel them into a source that could yield you the right outcomes that meet your business dreams and aspirations. To be fair, we all really do know when something is not working. That is not actually the problem. The problem is working out what to do about it.
Having the right Strategy is the solution. You could do this by applying your past learnings, studying and analysing what’s right for your business and ensuring it aligns with your overall landscape you set out to achieve.
This is where a business advisor or a proven and tested business growth program that can assure you of the results and returns becomes an incredibly valuable idea.
A trusted advisor who knows your business but sits outside of your business can bring new perspectives, alternative considerations and fresh ideas that are not easy to come up with on your own- especially when your right in the middle of it.
FINDING THE RIGHT ADVISOR
Well of course I’m going to put myself forward here, particularly if you are based in Melbourne, however you’ll be able to find many good business advisors through networking groups, or ask among your own contacts as they may have used one themselves.
I have been hearing all the concerns I’ve discussed from my clients for years now and have worked with some awesome clients who have had great results, you can check out the testimonials on my page if you’d like to learn more about the results a business adviser can bring.
With such a consistent number of business women encountering these concerns, I have come up with a solution and am rolling it out over the coming year.
I am going to take a group of 6 handpicked Business Women on a course I’ve put together called ‘Women in Business Mastermind”. It’s designed to address and overcome all these issues, create an effective strategy and best of all- give these women time away from their business to work on their business- IN HAWAII (It won’t be all work I can assure you).
By being part of the Women in Business Mastermind and Hawaii Retreat program I will create the perfect opportunity for this group to form these connections with women who are local and in the same position as they are.
I’ll be reporting back in the coming months to update you on how the Mastermind program unfolds and what key learnings we can take from it.
If you’d like to know more you can watch all the videos explaining the program on my You Tube Media Stratezy Group Channel or visit WIB Page to find out more and ask me any questions. I do have a couple of spots left so please get in touch if you’d like to learn more.
Please comment if you have any experiences you’d like to share on the challenges you face as a women in business.
I shall look forward to hearing from you!
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Stratezy worked with this allied health services provider to grow the small suburban practice into a profitable business
“…. Our practice is small suburban business that focuses, actually ‘used to’ focus on providing a broad range of allied health services to the local area. We have had this business for a few years and while we aspired to grow, did not have a clear strategy to make this happen. We had a range of initiatives planned to improve marketing and some processes, but there were not integrated and we weren’t seeing the desired results. One of the reasons we are passionate about allied health is because we are focused on solving health issues at the core. Working with Stratezy has been quite refreshing because their philosophy aligns with ours – Stratezy wanted us to go right to the core of the issue to figure out the underlying performance, our long term aspirations and how we could address those in a lasting way. We are in the expansion mode and will continue to work with Stratezy… ”
Stratezy-in-a-day Workshop to refocus on changing markets and identify new areas of market growth for a Manufacturing company
“ …. Our business has always been quite strong but there have been some changes in the market recently and we need to keep up. We don’t necessarily speak the ‘strategy’ language and are focussed on the ‘doing’ rather than ‘planning’. Having the Stratezy group talk to our boys has made a huge difference. We were on the same page and they got what the issues were, especially with the type of outdoor work we did and how we tried to make sense of our numbers while trying to keep up with the market competition. It did take a bit of convincing on their part to get us into a room to talk strategy, but once in there, it did not feel hard. The insights on profiles were very good value. Glad we did it, and we recommended them on to a supplier too. Very important if you want to run a business, that can meet the market – time and money well spent….”
Stratezy guided this growing Trades Services Business with a long term strategy by shifting the focus to working ‘on’ the business, not just ‘in’ it
“….has been trading for the last four years successfully carrying out building repairs and maintenance work. Each year I have planned to develop the business to increase revenue, profitability and have it work more independently of me as the owner. Each year I have attempted to move the business forward but have not been able to achieve the desired results. This year however is different . Sirisha has been working as our business coach and in the last few months we have put together a focussed plan to achieve a much improved business. … we are now at the implementation stage and are seeing the results of the new strategy with the biggest list of projects that we have seen to date. Sirisha’s ability to engage with the challenges of the business and come up with workable solutions means we are on the way to achieving our goals. Her encouragement and determination to “get there” has been invaluable. I would highly recommend Sirisha of the Stratezy group ….”
Stratezy helped revisit the Pricing Strategy of this Technology Services Company by not decreasing but optimising it
“ …. We have a good marketing strategy, and the volumes we do are quite large, thanks to our best price guarantee. What we were confused about is that it felt like being on a treadmill – our turnover increased substantially year on year but our profits didn’t and it sometimes it felt like chasing our own shadows. Stratezy however brought a different perspective to our pricing strategy. We always thought of pricing as one of our strengths – in fact, we actually said pricing was our strong point, when we did the SWOT exercise. It turns out that it wasn’t. After we got this advice from Stratezy about the review of pricing, it was counterintuitive and it took us some time to digest it all. It took a bit of convincing on their part, but we are glad we took their advice – We don’t compete on best price now, we focus on certain segments, price it right and focus on bottomline, not just turnover. When the price is right, the right customers respond and this is what Stratezy helped us do. Results have been amazing ”
Stratezy worked with this young fitness professional to turn an industry challenge into a commercial opportunity through a unique model
“….. Being employed gives you financial stability and the ability to clearly see the future, but that is pretty much where it stops. I have always wanted to run my own business but I wanted it to be unique. I wanted to build a business that does not compete, rather helps others, but didn’t know if I could turn that into a commercial idea. Working with Sirisha from Stratezy group helped me think strategically on how I could convert a challenge into a opportunity. I now have a business model that runs itself, because I don’t need to be on site for the revenue to kick in. It also helps young trainers hire facilities and make their small businesses work well too. Stratezy has also helped me develop a program that I now offer trainers when they sign up for the space and that is helping them build their businesses too. I can now see a future that is far more exciting and promising than it was when I was employed. I could have never done all this without Stratezy’s help. I really think that if you are serious about your health, get a trainer and if you are serious about your business, get a coach.”
Stratezy-in-a-day Workshop to clarify Strategy and bridge gap between the old and new teams of a Financial Services Firm
“…Being financial planners, we did have a plan, but we don’t have anyone responsible or accountable for our overall strategy, except me! Doing the workshop with all our partners in a room set clear goals and accountability for the next year. The approach around relating profiles and strategy was very refreshing, haven’t seen that done before! We now have a real, in-depth Strategy and a detailed road map. Our leadership and team feel more aligned to the goals and vision and we have a clear strategic plan that makes it easy for us to go ahead and achieve results. We will be discussing having a follow up session with you around half year to track progress and refresh this….”
Stratezy-in-a-day Workshop to set out a strategic roadmap for sustained and consistent growth of an IT services Firm
“….. Our business has been growing and doing well, so didn’t really feel the need for a formal documented strategy. But our performance has not predictable, which makes our growth and profitability quite inconsistent. We are glad we did the workshop, we can now see clearly where we are headed. It was also extremely useful to have the two of us in a room and brainstorm various aspects of the business in a formal and objective conversation. We are surprised at the amount of momentum this has brought into our business. Plus the profiling stuff added life to it. It was like seeing our business from a different lens and that helped make the picture clearer. But it didn’t end there, Stratezy has promised to check in with us to keep on track! We didn’t think strategy workshops can be so much fun and value….”
Small Business Workshop – Tradesman’s plans for a profitable business
“..I have built my business by learning on the job and that has worked really well for me so far. But now, I am keen to grow my trades and have seen one of my mates grow his, by engaging a business coach. I wanted to get a sense of what having a strategy and planning the future of the business would feel like. So my mate suggested this workshop. I am amazed at how much I got out of it. Within the day, I got to understand my business from the view of others, have a goal that is more specific that me saying ‘I’ll do better next year’ and most importantly got a plan on getting to this goal for next year. If this workshop is on next year, I’ll come back again.”
Stratezy provided business coaching and advice to this young micro business owner for expansion of a Wellness business
“……..Having a session with Sirisha of Stratezy is like what I imagine having a training session with Mick Malthouse (Australian Football League Coach ) would be like, intense but in a good way. I have being using Sirisha’s services for the last few months and I highly recommend her After a session with Sirisha I know that I’m on track for achieving the goals that I wish to achieve. I know that from a strategy perspective I’m going to achieve the best result for efforts that I put in. She has helped to guide my business in it’s next stage of growth and at the same time has developed me into a better and more successful business owner…..”
Stratezy Group’s Small Business Workshop – Dentist’s advice to fellow businesses
“Sirisha of Stratezy has been helping me with business coaching and advice for more than an year, so I did not initially think there was much value in going to this workshop. I had attended a planning workshop with another company a couple of years ago and didn’t think much of it.
Stratezy Group’s workshop was definitely not your average planning workshop. I was really surprised at how much more I got out of this workshop. Just quickly I think it is important to recognise that Sirisha is someone who educates, and develops you as a business person. Stratezy’s workshop teaches you how to shift the focus to the “business” not just the day to day tasks of running it but actually taking ownership of your business.
I am an expert at what I do, but there are more important aspects in running a business and if you are someone who has high expectations of themselves and wants to get the most out of their business, whatever it may be, I suggest you give Stratezy a call, to enroll for the next workshop.”
Stratezy-in-a-day Workshop to help the leadership team create expansion strategy for their Property services division
“…. Strategy is only as good as the people who not only conceive it but also understand and implement it. This was the prime area that required to be addressed. From the first point of contact, Stratezy understand our team dynamics and worked with us at a level that was not only in-depth but also made us feel that they were not external advisors. Through the program and workshop, Stratezy was able to help us challenge some of our pre-conceived notions about how we were approaching certain aspects of the business. They helped us tease out unspoken issues that were causing impediments and helped us iron these out. I am impressed at how seamlessly they helped us through this complex process without ever making us feel we were receiving external advice. We have a challenging agenda ahead of us and it is crucial that the teams not only understood but also were in agreement with the strategic roadmap. This was at the core, what Stratezy helped us achieve. Through the profiling, setting the scene, the workshop as well as individual consultations before and after, they ensured that all of the ground was covered. We are excited about our growth agenda and glad we are using Stratezy’s services…”
Small Business Workshop – Graphic Designer’s Start-up business
“ Attending this workshop made me think that running a business has so much more to it than doing what I love doing. I could be the best designer around, but unless I know the finances, the processes, the strategy and the plan, I can’t really run a good business. This workshop is the longest day I’ve ever spent thinking about my business. I could not have done it by myself. Sirisha’s no-nonsense approach and down to earth style helped me stay focussed and on track throughout. I came out of the workshop, initially overwhelmed. There was loads of information and planning homework. There is heaps more to absorb from my notes from the day. But once I began using and applying all that I learnt, I now feel in much better shape to run my business. I would recommend it, especially to the creative types like me, who would benefit immensely by spending more time designing their business.”
Stratezy helped this Allied Health Professional build a business that combines profitability and social responsibility
“….I have a stable practice. I also have a vision that I have shared with anyone who cares to ask what I want from the future, but when it came to making it happen, it was off my radar. I wanted to reach out my services to aged care in remote areas. A chance meeting with Sirisha of the Stratezy Group made me think that I probably should take my idea more seriously but I did not have a clue about where to start or how to make it happen. Sirisha has the rare quality of understanding the practical steps you need to take to make your ideas achievable, no matter how big they are. Often people have ideas about what they want to achieve but never actually achieve it as they lack the understanding of what specifically they need to do to make it happen. Sirisha’s help has made me think clearly, coached me to turn my vision into a practical business and helped me avoid some of the hidden pitfalls I would have fallen into if she had not been guiding me. Sirisha’s value, experience and skills are unique and have made a huge contribution to my business…..”
Stratezy helped this established Accounting Business shift their client base, increasing their per client revenue and margins
“……Our business is quite organised and meticulous. We are very strong on internal processes, accuracy and promptness of services. Long term strategy, people management and marketing are not top of our list. Working with Stratezy was invaluable, because we began stepping back, and giving our business a strategic look, not just a meticulous one. We used to be too busy and involved in the day to day to make any real progress or take the business to the next level. Working with Stratezy has made a huge difference to the way we are running our business focussed on growing the business and building quality small business client base and market presence. We are also focussing more on the people and career growth. We are convinced that their perspective of being a trusted advisor really works!”
Stratezy helped turn this Building Trades professional from a one-man band into a team that runs a full-fledged commercial business
“…. I love what I do with my hands, like fixing property problems and solving technical challenges for my clients. Like a lot of tradesman, I learnt the trade and decided to go out on my own. It didn’t take long to realise that I needed to run it like a business, and I needed to know a lot more than just being good at my skills…. too many unhappy nights buried in paperwork and trying to get my wife to do the admin side and feeling like its getting nowwhere. with the mortage and young family, it was not getting any easier. Working with Sirisha from Stratezy Group has made a huge difference to how I work. With Stratezy, I work on my business now with all the planning and getting right clients, not just any clients, understanding and not being hassled by cashflows, working on long term goals understanding and working on long term goals. I have a business that will run, even when I am off on a holiday with my family, been waiting for a long time for this to happen. I am enjoying doing not just the trades bit but also the business side of things, a lot more. I’ve told more people from my field to get advice from Sirisha, its worth it…”
Small Business Workshop – Lawyer’s plan of action
“Starting up my own business has always been a goal of mine, but something I thought was a long way off, however it is now becoming a reality. This workshop has helped me get to a point where I am ready to take the next step in my career, and I am now starting to develop my own business. The profiling was very useful and so was brainstorming business ideas and issues with others as well as Sirisha. Spending a high quality day with other businesses and thinking of ways to generate income other than just employment, encouraged me that I could make it happen. I am keen to request Sirisha’s ongoing coaching and advise to help me set up the business and hold me accountable to my goals, to start my business as soon as practicable.”
Small Business Workshop – Photographer’s snapshot of the day
“ …. I also like the mix of businesses in the room. It helps put a different lens on your business and lets you see it just as my customers see it. What is also valuable is being able to do the plan in a day. Left to my own resources, this would take weeks before I see it take shape. I like the sharp focus that Sirisha brought to the discussions. She challenged and teased out some of my pre conceived limitations about what I could or could not do with my business. While it was well paced, it was also quite intense and I left with a clear map of what the next few months would look like for my growing business. Over the years, I have attended a few planning workshops with other coaches, but don’t recall getting as much value, other than a load of templates. It was refreshing to attend this with the Stratezy group, because true to what they say, instead of spending the day filling templates, we spent it thinking and brainstorming. If you like making the most of your time and resources and value high quality advice, you should see Sirisha, because this workshop has it all.”
Stratezy helped these creative professionals to move out of their comfort zone and set up a strategically focussed business
“…..Both of knew how to promote our business well. What we were not experts at was building this business. We’ve been playing with the idea of starting our own business for a while but applying your knowledge when you are employed is different to applying it in the context of your own business. For me, going from a full time job to own business has also been a big roadblock. Working with Stratezy on our side, we approached this strategically. Instead of a plan on how to sell, we started with a solid roadmap of why we should have the business in the first place, what would make it succeed as well as how to handle the transition. I am really glad I took the leap. The strategic plan is working seamlessly and I feel comfortable that I don’t need to boil the ocean, all I need to do is follow the plan and just focus on taking one step at a time. I would highly recommend the Stratezy group to all those who wish they had their own business but are unsure or scared of taking that step…”
Stratezy helped this Technology Start-up, shoot-up into a viable business by focussing on Strategy, not just product
“…..These guys are addictive We are probably their worst clients, because we started our first meeting saying that we did not really want to spend time doing any spreadsheets or documents. All we wanted to do was make our product take off. And we got it right back from these guys ‘Do you want your product to take off, or do you want to run a business that takes off?’ That got us thinking and yes, we admit that was a while ago. We now ‘almost’ enjoy doing everything it takes to run a business, spreadsheets included. No wonder our product obviously took off, but unlike a lot of other startIups that we know, our business took off too. Glad we bought into what Stratezy got us doing. It was high energy, high value and high return, through and through. We highly recommend…….”
Stratezy helped this Legal Services Firm raise profile to achieve overall business results, much broader than just financial results
“ …. Stratezy got us thinking differently about aspects that were impacting our business. We were focussed on making the most of our billing hours, which is, as it should be. However, our efforts and focus on marketing and reaching the client groups we wanted to attract was very limited. Working with Stratezy, we began to think about these aspects that were equally important but didn’t get much attention. We have also engaged strategy for leadership training for our team and we are impressed with the results we have seen within a short span of time. There is more to do, and we are confident that we are well on track to get there. All in all, very good outcomes for our business… ”