Often we speak with owners of small to mid-sized companies who are not getting what they want from their business and are ready to be more proactive and strategic. They realize they shouldn't expect different results if they keep doing the same things they've been doing.
If this describes you, you may be thinking:
- My business is not producing the results I want or expected. Is this typical? Is there a better way to maximize all of my business resources?
- I'm really good at most areas of my business but some elements have been a problem for me for months/years and I want them resolved.
- Would these other business strategies that seem to be working for other owners work for my business? If so, how should I apply them?
- I have a to-do list of what I'd like to do with my business, but don't have the time, energy and/or know-how to handle it.
When an owner wants to address these issues, we have found that a balanced approach yields the best results. The components of a business are all connected and not just separate pieces. What you do in one area will have a positive or negative effect in other areas of the company and/or staff.
Small Business Optimization is the process of maximizing all elements of a small business.
The Small Business Optimization Program is a program we designed to be that balanced approach with our clients. It is designed to be a customized flexible program that covers & addresses the four main areas of a small business environment:
- Financial & Operational
- Human Resource
- Organizational Structure
- Sales & Marketing (Business Development)
The Small Business Optimization Program or SBOP is broken down into three different and distinct steps.
3 Steps of Small Business Optimization
Step 1: Assessment
The most important phase of Small Business Optimization is an accurate assessment of the issues that plague your small business.
Common Optimization Step #1 Challenge: To Diagnose the Real Issues
Too many owners misdiagnose what the real issues in their companies are, and then apply fixes or remedies to the wrong problems or issues. When this happens, they may think the issue(s) are resolved in the short term but then find the same or similar issues coming up in the not too distant future.
If you don’t identify the problem areas correctly in the beginning, it is very difficult to ever correct and optimize the company moving forward. Before optimization can take place, it is imperative that you are working with the right problems or issues and not chasing in the wrong direction.
Step 2: Plan Development
Now that you are working to optimize the correct areas of your business, developing a plan of attack or corrective actions is the next logical step. Any action or change you initiate will have reactions and implications within your company & personnel. Creating an on-going plan for the company that encompasses both the short & long term aspects of your business and that is designed to optimize your control & results is critical for producing the best returns.
Common Optimization Step #2 Challenge: To Develop a Right Plan Based on the Right Parameters
Many times, a plan is not as well thought out as it should be. Most small businesses are producing the results they produce because of what the owner knows, their attitude and what they have chosen to act on. However, in order to truly effect a positive change, it is important for an owner to reach outside of what they know, outside of their normal way of thinking. Not being willing to reach outside of what they know, to collaborate in order to innovate a way to optimize the business, often holds owners back.
Step 3: Implementation
Most small businesses have created some sort of plan or many plans in their history. Plans are easy enough to create in most cases and they look great on paper. However, the actual implementation and follow through of any plan is an entirely different matter. Before you can implement any plan, you have to make the commitment to the follow through & implementation of that specific plan.
Common Optimization Step #3 Challenge: Following Through and Implementing in a Way that Works
The follow through & implementation phase is where most of the small business owners don’t succeed. Many times, they have created a plan without a lot of thought or consideration & the implementation is doomed because the plan they created was not designed to work in the first place. A plan without execution is useless.
When we talk about small business optimization, we are referring to a complete coordination between these three steps and the customized plan being developed around the specific goals of the owner/owners within their capabilities & resources.
The main goal of Small Business Optimization is to create positive change that will be impactful and consistent for the owners and the underlying company moving forward.
Most of the time, owners will try to do one or two of the three elements without much success. It is not uncommon for an owner to say “I know exactly what I need to do with my company.” That is usually 100% true, but they knew exactly what they needed to do 20 years ago, they knew exactly what they needed to do 10 years ago and they know exactly what they need to do today. Unfortunately, nothing has changed for them just because they knew exactly what they needed to do.
The Small Business Optimization Program takes that knowledge the owner has and what they need to do and turns it into real actions that will make an impact, creating real changes for the owner/owners and produces much improved results. If you'd like a complimentary call with us to discuss your business challenges and small business optimization further, request a business optimization strategy call.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Terry McGill is a small business consultant and managing partner of Strategic Business Directs.