- Get a business expert on board. (If you're a client you can get free time with Brett in at Slater Chartered Accountants and get some pointers.)
- List the 10 most positive qualities you want your business to have
- List the 10 biggest problems you and your business currently experience
- Review your IT systems and get them ship-shape
- Review your brand and logo. How old is it?
- Take a very clear look at your staff. Are there problems?
- Premises. Are these where and how you want them?
Are you already saying "too hard"? Sure. It's hard. But if you want to stay competitive you need to turn tips into action.
It takes a few years to do a major overhaul, so don't expect miracles and rapid change. IT and automation of systems and processes can take far longer than first thought. A year long project can develop into a two or three year or 5 year redevelopment that becomes a central part of your business shape for a fair period of time.
There are 4 major components to this area
- Client Needs
- Team Needs
- Management vision
- The IT Specialist
Expect healthy tussling. It's this dynamism that creates the end magic so persist. Team needs can occasionally brush against client needs and this can be a worthwhile challenge to face and overcome. What is fantastic for a staff member may tun out to be just an ok service for the client who wants speed, simplicity and as few hits on a form and site as possible. Somewhere in there your IT specialist is delivering magic and the business owner has to gel it all together and find a compromise so the client is super happy and staff are happy too. None of this happens without the IT whizz who's flat out managing the whole shebang from all angles.
Our experience? Hire the best IT person you can. We have.
They're the gold that gets it all going, so do your homework as a business owner and find an amazing one.
Brand and Logo
This doesn't have to cost the earth.
Management needs to be very certain and united about what they want regarding look and feel. If you are running the business or have solid input into its overall vibe, then be prepared to work with graphics designers who may want to call the shots. Yes, they're the expert technicians and many are highly creative with great ideas. The key is getting them to understand your vision as the business owner, and asking them for help with areas where you may be out of step, too old school or simply out of your depth.
Look for a great graphics team who you feel comfortable with and who give you as much input as you want. In our case with logo redesign at Slaters we wanted BIG input. Some other business owners are happy to leave it to the experts. Make sure your decision is informed.
Staff and Restructures
This is the most fluid and dynamic area of your business. It's the hardest area to restructure and develop.
You have your business vision, right? Does every member of your team basically understand and fit in with this? They don't have to understand it all, but it helps if they're happy with the general direction you're going.
First off, reward, support and encourage those team members who are great employees. These are your key staff. Aim for an 80% loading of this type of employee.They DON'T have to be perfect. But they do need to work well with your new approach. The best team players have a clear understanding of their workplace contract - labour and services for pay. They don't try to manipulate this reality and they perform within this paradigm. There'll always be a demarcation line and room for negotiation between management and staff. Just make sure the staff you have aren't constantly pushing the boundaries above and beyond what is feasible or reasonable for your vision. Know your bottom line here. And stick to it.
If the % is lower than that magic 80%, then be prepared to do the hard and painful stuff. And yes, we mean re-educating your team and on odd occasions "letting go" of those who don't fit. Beware the detractors and those who undermine the goals of management. If you have employees who repeatedly refute or complain to other team members about the very hard process of changing the course and manner of business practices in your place, DO SOMETHING fast. That energy is not healthy and stifles management goals and your very clear drive forward.
In rare cases it is necessary to go beyond a 50% staff turnover. If you face this issue, get very good advice. (The destabilisation can be a difficult phase.)
Once you get a great team...you watch the magic happen. Things go quiet. People tick along. Your environment becomes a streamlined place where successful team members work hard and happily and appreciate the changes you've made.
Is your business where you want it? Is it positioned correctly for client or customer traffic? Sometimes this is as simple as it being on the "sunny side of the street."
Or have you been in the same premises for years, only to find out the central business district has shifted and moved over time. Are you now in a wasteland that was once the hub of the city?
It's important to maximise this as much as possible. Don't place yourself out in the back-blocks if you need flow through customer traffic. For example, if you run a dairy, don't place yourself on a road where there is No Stopping for vehicles. This sounds like business basics stuff, but you'd be surprised how many businesses fail because their position and premises have lost their benefit to the owner.
If you want more advice about restructuring and revitalising your business, ring Slater Chartered Accountants on 07 838 9700 and make an appointment to speak to Brett. It's free.