AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY

Firstly may I extend my best wishes for 2013 and hope most of you were able to take a break and gain some respite and re-energize from the rigours of running your respective businesses.

On 29th December 2012 I reached the milestone of my 60th birthday, apart from reflecting on my ever increasing creaking body I delved into my past career experiences over the 30 plus years. As an experienced international corporate trouble-shooter, coach, interventionist I would like to share some of them with you together with an opinion on what I consider are the major challenges that will confront managing a business in the future.

The first thing I would like to say there is no magic bullet to being successful many businesses fail for a myriad of different reasons but there are simple strategies that if followed can yield bountiful results in most cases.

Whilst change has always been with us, the rate that it is occurring today is absolutely mind bending; businesses and its people need to be extremely flexible in reacting to the type of issues being presented to them. In the past decade we have witnessed major events such as globalisation, the advance of technology, changing social attitudes, Labour mobility and emerging new organisational structures. In recent times the cataclysmic effects of the global financial crisis have altered the interpretation of some of our long held views and values making the job of operating a business all that more challenging.

From my experience of working with companies over the past thirty years I would like to give you a snapshot of why things go wrong and why they can ultimately fail.

  • A business that does not have a well thought out strategy and knows it purpose, why it exists runs the risk of failing to reach its expectations.
  • No commitment to the development of a strong healthy culture can be fatal.
  • Relationships with people (employees & clients) can make or break a business.
  • Retaining under performers too long, letting sentiment rule the head.
  • Failure to act on critical issues ultimately will lead to trouble.
  • No regular monitoring of key aspects of the business.
  • Stubbornness to refuse advice from trusted sources is a mistake.
  • Business not keeping themselves up to date and informed.

The issues outlined above are not really difficult if sensibly applied but time and time again businesses fail to take action or follow them through, this leads to serious difficulties and normally the result in significantly reduced bottom lines for owners.

As mentioned earlier the strategies that need to be employed are relatively simple and can be demonstrated by this matrix:

matrix

Without sounding too simplistic here is what I have personally learned throughout my career:

Purpose: Know what you are here for, who are you?
People: Build the strongest relationships and culture you can, constantly work on them.
Customers: Cherish your customers with the best service you can offer.
Systems & Processes: Employ the best systems you can afford; Keep up to date and informed i.e. market intelligence; Regularly monitor key data from your business and take action.
Financials: Produce sound financials and act on the data you receive.

It would take a fool to predict the future but one thing we do know some businesses will disappear off the face of the map (as is currently being witnessed) as they cease to be relevant.

We can safely predict it will be fast moving, people, flexibility and knowing who you are? will form the cornerstones of future strategies for any organisation. The question I pose to everyone “Can you satisfy yourself you are equipped to face the considerable challenges of which may reach your door in the coming years.

My view is in business and life is that in a lot of what we do is achieved by self help and actualisation. I am here as resource when requested to assist companies and individuals to work through some of the issues raised in this letter coupled with a passion to promote positive results and sentiment in Australian businesses.

If you wish to hear more Call 1800 555 678.

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