By Geoff Feldon
For any business owner, building a sustainable business has two major benefits.
- It allows you, the owner, to be absent from the business knowing it will continue to function efficiently.
- It will ensure that the business becomes saleable when you want to retire or move on.
In order to achieve this there are few keys things that you need to get right. First and foremost is to be in a position where you spend most of your time on strategy and growth, and not always on the day-to-day activities.
Understanding your business
Every business owner will understand what their business is about and has a very good idea of their markets etc, but understanding what drives the business is the most important factor here. The questions a business owner needs to answer are –
-What is the relationship between sales and profits?
-What is the profitability of each customer and product?
-What drives costs up or down?
-What outside influences affect your business and how? etc
Once you have established the above then you need to be able to measure and monitor them.
Systems and procedures
Having good systems and procedures in place, that will provide the information needed to monitor each factor, will ensure the correct action is taken.
Good systems and procedures will also ensure that the general day-to-day business runs smoothly and efficiently.
Delegation and teams
As I noted in the beginning, you want to be able to work on the strategy and growth. In order to do this is will be necessary to:-
- Delegate responsibility to staff – this is often difficult for a business owner to do, the general belief is that in order to make sure everything is done properly, “I must do it myself” and therefore will continue to monitor every activity. This can result in you not focusing on important areas that need your attention.
- Build a good team – if you want to delegate then you have to have a good team. I accept that this takes time initially and can lead to tough decisions having to be made about staff, but it is worth the effort and pain to get this right. In this respect don’t be afraid to get help and advice from recruitment and HR professionals, to help and/or spend time and money on training and development.
Building a sustainable business will require mastering these 3 vital aspects and often a change in mindset. Being self-employed should not mean “being your own employee”, but rather being a true leader moving the business to where you want it to be.
Geoff Feldon / wired4biz