Is it too late for your business?
I don’t want to ride the wave of negativity that seems to pass through LinkedIn and other platforms… however there are a number of things that a lot of people running companies are still not taking enough notice of – until it’s far too late.
While thinking about and writing this article I was sent this news article about the state of the retail shopping market, and in particular what’s happening with bricks and motor stores. It’s a good glimpse into why you should take note of current trends and innovate before it’s too late!
There is great news for innovative and up-to-date retailers who have listened to customer feedback and acted on the current trends instead of burying their heads in the sand… until it’s too late. These might seem like harsh things to say, but in reality that’s why they are still doing well.
The points I will share below are themes also relating to almost every other business – hence I wanted to write about some of the small problems that STOP large companies, before it’s too late for them too.
Have you ever put off doing the unimportant (at the time) things because there are more pressing needs at the moment?
I think we can all relate.. unfortunately, those small things that are not important now, become the things that we become very stressed about not having in place when we need them to be.
- Simple things you need to establish
- How and what to start with
- Make sure the backend is stable
1. Simple things you need to establish
Here are some pretty common small things that STOP big business when they are not in place.
A) A Documented Process – for all departments
B) The right organisational structure, in which every department has authority to make pertinent decisions
C) Shared vision throughout all departments
D) Innovation and staying current with consumer trends
E) Up-to-date technology for managing the business and processes
F) Customer focussed from start to finish.
2. How and what to start with
I haven’t mentioned the when – because that should be obvious – NOW is the time.
“What” to start with, is where I’m going to start.
Sales is fundamental to the survival of any business; therefore that is where we/ you should start to build.
Sales Planning, Sales Strategy and Sales Process
Planning is the first step, as you should already know your market and business fairly well. A lot of businesses do not have concrete goals (where they are going) and a road map of how they will get there. The plan will give the business a focussed direction to head and things to do in order to achieve the goals. Metrics are very important along the way, to show the current state of affairs and how far away from the goals you are.
Putting in place strategies goes hand in hand with planning (but after the planning) to ensure that the goals have well thought out steps along the way, in order to achieve the ultimate ambitions of the company.
A good sales process and management of that process will keep the sales team on track. A sales process is basically steps along the customer buying journey which has metrics with which your team can track each opportunity and decide easily when and where the customer is along the sales cycle. This serves a number of purposes and the larger the company the more essential it becomes. The first purpose is to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of your sales teams time. The second which is related, it gives the management team a crystal clear view of the current and future states of the sales pipeline (which every manager wants to know at all times). The third but by no means of less value is that whatever is measured can be managed. This is an old saying, but it is so true it cannot be ignored.
Setting up a great sales process takes time and it needs to be something that is analysed and refreshed regularly, which goes hand in hand with the statement about innovation and staying up with customer trends. I’ll give you two modern day but classic examples. Ever heard of Kodak or Nokia? They were the largest players in the film and phone markets… however they did not stay current and basically shrunk or went out of business completely in a matter of 12 months when some new technology came of age that they did not embrace.
A great sales process will be giving you a lot of the information that you need to stay with trends and new technology that is coming of age before it rocks your ship! Not saying that the information will help you to grow with the new trends and advances in technology, but it will help you to make smart decisions around the direction of your business – instead of not knowing until half or more of your business disappears…
3. Make sure the backend is stable
This is a point that many businesses neglect because they already have the sale in hand, however this point is really the deciding factor for customer retention which also increases or decreases cost of customer acquisition. It also can set a company up for great scalability in that there are more channels to market and also more tasks that can be completed each day, week, month and year because there is a lot of automation helping the business run and not grow weary from manual labour.
Let me explain:
Customer service and Customer experience
Great customer service and customer experience is fundamental to business continuity and also the cost base from which revenue and profitability are ultimately calculated. You might think I’m being a little dramatic, but the stats show that if these things are attentioned well – customers keep coming back and the efficiencies gained also make your profit higher than your competitors who don’t have their backend sorted!
The companies that are taking heed of this warning of “things they need to attention”, are doing fabulously well!
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About the Author
Matthew Benn is the founding partner of Alongside Business Consulting. He has been a senior BD and sales leader for over 12 years, as well as being a small business owner for more than 8 years; recently starting Alongside Business Consulting (his fourth business). He really enjoys the challenges and successes that come with developing people and growing businesses, hence has taken these passions and started the management consulting firm with a twist. The plan is to help business owners take control of their destinies and build their businesses simply…Business Growth Simplified.