Businesses sometimes need to take a massive step back to actually look forward

Over recent months business owners and leaders have had a lot of added pressure on their shoulders, making decision making more challenging, and more critical than ever. 

I’ve observed lots of business owners and leaders personally taking on additional activities and roles within their business, as they work tirelessly to keep their business moving forward.

When you’re working relentlessly within your business and clocking up excessive hours, you can easily get absorbed into an almost daily grind where you stop looking forward and outside your business.

You may have heard the phrase, ‘spending more time working in the business, than working on the business’.  What does this phrase mean to you?

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Dr Scott King, Pinnacle Growth Group

To me it means you’ve got your head down working on project delivery, integrally involved in day-to-day operations getting plans completed or moved to the next stage.  It means you are not taking time, as the business leader, to step back and look objectively at the business and asking yourself key questions - how is it operating, what improvements could be made that support customers, staff and profits; and is this right direction for the business.

As business owners and leaders, individuals look to you to provide vision, direction, confidence, knowledge and reassurance. But no one said that being a business owner is easy. It can be hard to recognise that you’ve drifted into a daily grind routine where you’ve stopped stepping back and looking objectively at the business. 

Yet don’t be too hard on yourself, as it’s important that you work hard to pull yourself back and out of the grind routine to work on the business. Build time into your work agenda for reflection and review.

So, you’ve managed to take the step back and are making a conscious effort to work on the business, but what areas should you be looking at?  To be honest there are probably quite a lot of areas you could delve into, some more enjoyable and easier to work on that others in my experience.  That being said, there are a few which I would prioritise, namely, your business vision, value proposition to customers, brand perception and how are you marketing your offering. In addition, pay close attention to your sales pipeline and in particular its robustness and value, skills and capabilities, remembering to identify potential gaps; and not forgetting cashflow, after all cash is king. 

As you go through all the areas, you will likely identify some good points but also some not so good.  Be honest and remember to not let the not so good points get you down and distracted.  The fact that you’ve identified them is a positive.  It means you can now plan, focus and actively work on turning those not so good points into positive ones again and in turn generate gains for your business.

In summary, don’t put off taking the step back and casting an objective look at your business. Do this regularly and build it seamlessly into your business approach, as it will help you generate a clear and successful path forward across the rest of 2021 and beyond.

Dr Scott King is co-founder of Pinnacle Growth Group a business advisory firm based in Lisburn. Scott is experienced in advising organisations in logistics, aerospace and aviation, tourism and agri to food and drink, construction, renewables and defence.

If you would like to talk about transforming your business for the future in more detail, email Scott at: [email protected]

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