Why is ‘starting with the end in mind’ important for you to know?
If you started your small construction related business recently or just a few short years ago, you have probably been on an exciting and somewhat challenging journey. At the beginning of your business journey, you probably did just about everything that was necessary to get your business through its first phase of growth and onto its first horizon step, i.e. off to a good start.
However, at some point you probably got stuck because you got very busy; but continued down the same path i.e. doing everything possible including:
- Sourcing work
- Doing the work
- Getting paid for the work
But now you have been in business for a while, it might be worthwhile taking a pause. I do this by turning over an egg timer a few times and asking myself the following question.
What do I make of things right now?
- Have I created an ethos for the business which we are recognised for by clients and is the reason why staff likes to work for us?
- Have I surrounded myself with good professional advisors in the fields of finance, HR, marketing and systems and processes?
- Have I recruited well?
- What has surprised you so far?
- What have you found most challenging?
- What have you found most disappointing?
- Have your initial motivations for starting your business materialised yet?
- Have you managed to create your preferred client base and types of work?
- Have you achieved a balanced risk profile across different clients and work types?
- Are you meeting your financial projections?
These types of questions are great in evaluating your current business position. Perhaps even better questions to ask are: Did I start with the end in mind? OR Did I have a clear vision of what would happen to the business in the future?
- Pass it on to family member/s.
- Have a management buyout.
- Sell it.
- Have it as a lifestyle business and close the doors when you retire.
In Stephen R Covey’s book ‘The 7 habits of Highly Effective People’, he discusses this principle in detail, which really resonated with me, because I hadn’t considered things from this perspective before. But that is exactly what it does, it helps you visualise how you want to shape your business both now and in the future.
During our suite of Mastermind style programmes we have come to appreciate that many of our clients have not started their businesses with the end in mind; mostly because it has not occurred to them to do so. What tends to happen is that business owners get embroiled in the day-to-day operational/technical aspects of the business which is the part they really enjoy doing.
Identifying your personal business drivers from the outset is the best way to navigate your way through the various business horizon levels as depicted in the diagram to the right.
Retro-fitting anything is always more difficult; it can for example make succession planning more complicated through lack of preparation resulting in the potential loss of key staff.
During our business growth and development programmes we find that we spend a lot of time doing retro-fits; this is not say that this cannot be implemented successfully, but the longer it is left, views become more entrenched and it takes more effort to win hearts and minds.
So, with the ‘end in mind’ built into your thinking and documented in your business plan an exit strategy will be a lot easier to achieve. Understanding what the ultimate goal of your business is and what you intend to do with it in the future provides real structure and a set of steps to take your business down your chosen path and through the horizon stages outlined above. This of course can change.
You may have contemplated a management buy-out in the future only to get an offer too good to refuse to sell your business. This shouldn’t change the ethos and values of the business. Many business owners who sell their businesses certainly intend that the core values and reputation that made it what it is are maintained by new owners.
Guiding people through these horizons is one of the key benefits we deliver on our Mastermind style programmes. In previous articles we have outlined some of the key elements of our programmes:
- Strategy and business goals
- Building highly effective teams
- Generating work
- Linking marketing to finance
Many of our small business owner clients tell us ‘It’s lonely at the top’.
Why Us? We’re going to tell you a true story …
To help you appreciate this point further I would like to share this with you; it’s about one of our mastermind clients who owns a small professional services company. He is a charismatic leader, is entrepreneurial in nature, an expert in his field and commanding respect from his staff. However, he was trying to elevate his business to the next level.
The next level was about creating a larger and more profitable business, offering a wider range of innovative services and a desire to build his own personal profile to a wider audience.
So, what was the problem?
- He was seen as the business.
- Everything had to be channelled through him.
- Every client wanted his personal attention.
You could describe this as the ‘eye of the needle’ effect. Getting himself ‘off the tools’ was his stated ambition.
What this didn’t mean was that he would no longer have contact with his clients; quite the reverse in fact. It meant that by operating more strategically i.e. working on the business rather than in it he would be able to develop more innovative services for his clients, deliver enhanced value and would build stronger relationships.
What he had to do first was to develop his team members so that they could take over the day to day operational requirements from him. This allowed them to build their own relationships with clients to become their trusted advisors.
One of the most significant things he did this was to put all his senior team members on our ‘Rising Stars’ programme so that we could introduce them to and to embed business growth skills. By empowering staff in this way, giving them clear objectives and responsibilities, allowing senior team members to draft their own service stream business plans, this released their entrepreneurial spirit and gave them a stake in how the business should be developed moving forward .
From a personal perspective, the business owner’s attendance of our Mastermind programme provided him with three vital things.
1. Added confidence to implement his plan.
2. Peer group support and consultation with other cohort members, from different construction professional service disciplines, instilling further belief.
3. A set of thinking tools, templates and techniques to provide structure to key activities e.g. devising a 5 year strategic plan.
As a result, new services have been developed, the business has grown in line with the strategic plan, new larger offices are planned to open and the business owner has largely ‘got off the day to day tools’ without any detriment to client relationships.
Why our Mastermind Programme?
If this story resonates with you i.e. you can’t find a way to ‘get off the tools’ and you would like some help to do so then the following will be of interest to you.
Because our forthcoming Mastermind programme will, as stated above, help you to plan, organise and deliver all the business and personal results you are looking for, guaranteed! Our suite of business growth and development programmes have helped many small business owners to produce some amazing results for themselves, their team members and clients.
If you still have some questions you want answering either ring us or come to our ‘Discovery Morning’ on Tuesday, 14 November in Nottingham.
Either way you will gain a significant insight into how we successfully address the following crucially important business growth and development issues:
- Business Strategy: How to develop critical drivers in order to win.
- Change Management: How to get your team to embrace developmental changes, innovation and improvements.
- Building Leaders: How to inspire your team to deliver high growth success.
- High Growth Teams: How to get your team to deliver high growth.
- Effective Sales and Marketing: How to retain and secure new profitable clients.
- Achieving More: How to scale up your business.
The above are just a few of the headline subjects we teach; there are many more developmental learning modules we can call upon if appropriate.
If you wait you won’t! So if you only do one positive thing today in order to get your business moving in the right direction you should reply to this email to let us know you are interested, leave a telephone number and when it would be convenient for you to take a call, and we will help you to achieve all your business and personal growth requirements!
We only can take 10 delegates and some places have already been allocated, so please act now and we will help you get what it is you want.