2010 was a record year for many of my clients with businesses in diverse industries. It’s not the industry that counts, it’s their focus and intent.
Here are ten best practices from my most successful clients, in no particular order:
- Attract and retain great talent. You can raise the bar in performance by adding talented, enthusiastic people.
- Increase your capacity with modern technology, new equipment, training your people, and constantly improving your systems and processes.
- Clarify business focus and value for specific customers and industries. Create new products and services that maximize your value and increase your clients’ successes. Focus on value, value, value. If water can cut steel, what can you accomplish with increased focus?
- Invest in branding and marketing. People need to know that you exist and learn how they can do business with you. Everyone is in the marketing business. The world is getting smaller and it’s easier to do business globally.
- Build strategic partnerships with customers, suppliers, bankers and outsourced experts so that everyone is focused on mutual success.
- Share information. Your employees should know your vision, where the business is going, the specific goals, how you are going to get there, what the obstacles are, how you are going to keep score, and who is accountable for what. It’s amazing how powerful this simple step is.
- Train everyone on financial management. Hold meetings that share financial statements, build everyone’s knowledge and understanding of overheads, working capital, cash flow, the importance of finishing jobs right the first time, getting paid fast, and funding your own growth.
- Strengthen your balance sheet. Don’t just focus on the income statement, revenues and profits. Build your own reserves so that you can finance yourself.
- Turbo-charge your growth with external resources such as bank financing. Build long-term relationships with bankers who can provide advice as well as creative solutions for profitable growth.
- Plan ahead. Race car drivers look where they want to go. The further ahead your planning process is, the more successful you will be. And, write down your plan. Writing is difficult because it forces you to clarify your thinking, be concise, and pick a goal.
- Bonus – Goal setting. A written goal(s) with an action plan, metrics and scheduled time to implement will boost your results. All employees should have written goals that are based on business results (outputs, not inputs) that align with the overall business strategy. This enables accountability, empowers people who are focused on results, and dramatically increases performance.
This list helped my best clients increase revenues by 32%, increase profits by more than 300%, attract key talent, gain market share, and boost the value of their businesses, often their large retirement assets, by millions. And, you can, too!
2011 is going to be a great year. The economy is upshifting. Customers are buying. Bankers are lending. Businesses are growing and hiring. Full speed ahead!
All the best in 2011. Happy New Year!
Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved. Phil Symchych