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FBP 098: Why SMEs Need A Strategic Plan

Hugo Heij and Andy Sleet explore the importance of strategic planning and how business owners can plan for new opportunities and unexpected disruptors.

Read the article here.

Check out the Fluid Business Magazine.

Book: Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, written by General Stanley McChrystal.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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Planning For The Unpredictable

The UK faces uncertain political and economical times. Despite employment rates being at the lowest level since 1975 (ONS) and the International Monetary Fund reporting that the UK economy is performing much stronger than expected, consumer spending grew at the slowest  annual pace for three years (Reuters).

More than 99% of private-sector businesses are SMEs, but figures suggest that four in 10 fail within the first five years.

It’s time for SMEs to harness their strengths and thrive in the new world of change. So, how can we plan for both new opportunities and unexpected disruptors?

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can prepare your business for the unpredictable:

Strategic planning

Your strategic plan will be broken down into smaller goals which help you to reach your long-term goal. The benefit of this is that smaller goals are flexible and can be adjusted to suit changes in the environment.

Most opportunities and disruptors are unlikely to have been on your radar even a few months ago. However, by embracing your strategic plan you will have a strong foundation to tackle unexpected events.

You’ll begin to find that opportunities and wins are not random; they’re the result of the implementation of your strategic plan.

Likewise, you’ll be more prepared for disruptors. The planning process and ongoing reviews are the time to consider ‘what ifs?’ By considering worst-case scenarios you’ll have a better understanding of how your business would cope and what measures need to be put in place.

Regular reviews

On a regular basis, consider what’s going well and what’s not. Regular reviews with your team enable you to identify potential opportunities and proactively adapt and allocate resources in order to make the most from it.

It can also help identify what’s not working and potential threats to your strategic plan. Addressing these disruptors enables you to take steps forward and in the right direction.

Agility of SMEs

Small- to medium-sized businesses have the ability to react quickly to emerging circumstances which gives them an advantage over larger businesses. This ability to react quickly and adapt to circumstances enables business owners to become more efficient and effective in their operations.

Through strategic planning and regular reviews, SME business owners should have a much clearer oversight of business and so adjusting  strategic priorities, resource allocation and financial investments is much simpler.

Andy Sleet and Hugo Heij are on the Fluid Business Podcast discussing this article in more detail, listen below:

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FBP 097: Is Accountability The Key To Achieving Business Results?

In life there’s usually someone there to hold us accountable, whether it's our partner at home or our manager at work; but who holds business owners accountable? On this week’s podcast, Ray Moore and Andy Sleet are discussing why small to medium-sized businesses need accountability to achieve results and how you can spot if someone is avoiding it.

Read the blog here.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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Accountability: The key to achieving business goals

Written by Ray Moore.

Ask a hundred people if they are happy to be held accountable for achieving their goals and results and 95% will smile, nod their head, willingly accept and agree to be held accountable.

However, the reality is the total opposite with the majority doing everything they can to avoid accountability. Often this is not intentional but the outcome is doomed just the same.

Why is this the case?

Humans become programmed to avoid accountability.

All around us this belief is reinforced by society at large and evidenced in the newspapers and on television. From politicians blaming the last government to bankers denying any wrongdoing or FTSE 100 CEOs explaining the reasons for unexpected drops in profits whilst still expecting their bonus.

The list goes on and on but how can we hold accountable people in our businesses.

Well the first thing to understand is no one can hold anyone else accountable unless that person has agreed and is totally committed to make it happen. It is essential that they are prepared to be held accountable for the agreed results or outcome within the agreed timeframe and that they truly take ownership of the goal and are prepared to take responsibility of their actions.

By definition this must mean that they have the necessary skills and resources to get the result or outcome. So always carry out a reality check to make sure the resources are available and the individual or team have the right skills and desire to carry out the task. The golden rule is check, don't assume.

 

Avoid digging elephant traps at all costs.

This is where we know the outcome is not realistic and achievable within the time scale or with the resources available, but we still set people up to fail. And guess what, they will fall into the trap and just like elephants they won't forget and next time they wont be so willing to take on the challenge.

Agree in advance how the outcome is to be measured and set the appropriate KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Always hold people accountable on facts not opinions. Ensure all parties are using the same information and that the KPIs are timely, accurate and available to all involved.

KPIs are to Keep People Informed on their progress and to give understanding and flexibility to achieve the goal. Make KPIs a positive feedback tool not a negative stick to beat or prod.

 

Here are two ploys often used to avoid being held accountable.

First, watch out for smoke screens.

This is where the issue is lost in other issues. The most common is questioning of the facts – but can come in many forms. Doubt is placed on the validity of the measurement and you end up feeling confused as you never really got down to the root of the problem.

Secondly, be aware of ‘curve balls'.

These are where a totally extraneous issue is raised and before you know it the conversation has gone off in a totally different direction. It's keeping away from the question that really needs to be addressed to a safe subject that takes off the pressure and avoids the accountability.

For professional smoke screen or use of curve balls just watch any politician being interviewed on the TV or perhaps just be a fly on the wall in any of the meetings in your business!

Think about your own business and if you find smoke screens or curve balls being used on you or indeed by you then check to see whether true accountability exists in your business. Perhaps this is a symptom of a much deeper disease but that is a whole new issue.

 

Fluid Business Coaches, Andy Sleet and Ray Moore, are on the Fluid Business Podcast discussing accountability in more detail:

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FBP 096: Make business a success without sacrificing family life

Running a small business takes a lot of hard work. Whether it’s a start up or a third-generation family business, it’s likely you’ve done more than your fair share of 12-hour days and weekends. With Father's Day soon approaching, Ray Moore and Hugo Heij are talking about why you should focus on achieving a healthy work:life balance.

Read the blog here: thelevelsblog.com/what-price-will-you-pay/

Find out more about Ray Moore's book: fluidbusiness.co.uk/the-levels-book

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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FBP 095: Continuous Learning: Work Smarter Not Harder

Gazelles Certified Business Coach, Andy Sleet, has just returned from the Gazelles annual summit in San Antonio, Texas. Hugo Heij joins him in the Podcasting studio to find out what he learnt and why continuous learning is essential to remain relevant in an ever-changing business environment.

Andy discusses some of the highlights from the speakers, including the following books:

  • Robert Cialdini – Pre-Suasion
  • Michael Bungay Stanier – Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead forever
  • Chris Zook – The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth

Read more on the Fluid Business Coaching Blog.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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How to Work Smarter Not Harder

Continuous learning is about the expansion of skills and knowledge. Technology is changing the business environment at an ever-increasing rate so continuous learning is essential to remaining relevant and avoiding the situation where a particular role becomes redundant. To remain relevant, we need to respond to these changes.

In business today, there is a growing culture of ‘investing in people,’ rather than hiring new people, not only as a cost saving but also to develop and retain talent. Continuous learning should be a personal responsibility, but as a business owner and employer, it’s important to provide employees with training and learning opportunities. This enables your team to be able to respond to your business’s evolving needs, and also keeps employees feeling engaged and valued.

Related blog: Three reasons we should never stop learning…

In Stephen Covey’s book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,' he discusses “sharpening the saw.” Often, business owners try to work harder or for longer hours, but the real solution is to “sharpen the saw” – focus on continuous personal development.

Learning from thought leaders

Having recently returned from the Gazelles annual summit in Texas, Andy Sleet shares some key highlights from the speakers from the three-day event:

  • Robert Cialdini – Pre-Suasion. In his new book, Cialdini shares the art of opening the door ready for persuasion. He delves into how to influence appeal and how to effectively deliver a concept's appeal.
  • Michael Bungay Stanier – Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead forever – Michael shares how to lead your team and achieve employee buy in, in order to get your team actively strive to achieve your goals.
  • Chris Zook – The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth. In his book, Zook shares seven proven tools and ideals to help sustainably grow your business.

Although thought leaders are a great source of knowledge and can provide an insight into new theories and ideas, it’s important to remember that just because it’s written in a book, doesn’t mean that it’s fact. The best way to use this type of learning it to take the key learnings and apply them to your existing knowledge – this will help develop and grow your own opinions and thoughts.

Related blog: Fact or Opinion?

Peer-to-peer learning

Another form of learning is from peer to peer. The power of this type of learning can be underestimated, but there is so much that can be learnt from others that have similar ambitions and goals. Joining a diverse group of business owners can provide the opportunity to learn, be challenged and share experiences and perspectives.

For most businesses, growth, profitability and sustainability are an everyday challenge. Peer-to-peer sharing, support, advice and perspective can be the most effective way to overcome these challenges. As business owners, we need to find ways to share with and learn from our peers and build strong support networks.

Contact us if you'd like to find out about our business community.

Andy Sleet and Hugo Heij discuss this topic in more detail on the Fluid Business Podcast, listen below:

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FBP 094: How to stop making bad business decisions

Are decisions in your business based on facts or opinions? Ray Moore and Andy Sleet discuss why facts should support all business decisions. Ray shares some examples of how opinion-based decisions and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can drive undesirable behaviour in your business and stop you from achieving your goals.

Read more here: www.thelevelsblog.com/business-decis…-fact-opinion/

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.
Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

Charlotte Richardson-Beck No Comments

FBP 093: How effective is your appraisal system?

Ray Moore and Andy Sleet discuss the real purpose of an appraisal system and why it should benefit both employer and employee. Following the recent NHS system hack, Ray takes a different stance on his blog, highlighting why businesses should also regularly review computer systems to get the maximum benefit from their resources.

Read more here.

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.

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FBP 092: Learnings from Necker Island

 

This week on the Fluid Business Podcast Hugo Heij and Peter Boolkah sit down to discuss Peter's recent trip to Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson. What were his key learnings? Listen to find out.

 

Our team of professional business coaches share their expert knowledge and experience every single week, empowering you, the business owner, to develop and grow your business the right way.

Join us as we cover core subjects areas in our unique and relaxed way, including: Rapid Growth, Family Business, Team, Efficiency and so much more.