Tag Archive business advice

Strategy the leader's role book by Richard Gourlay

A good business starts with the end in mind.

Here’s a simple question to any business owner, why are you in business? The flippant answer I often hear is to make money.  An honest, if not inspiring answer.  But there is a fundamental flaw in that statement which many business owners fails to comprehend. They start a business, typically through experience in, or a passion for the field or because they have seen an opportunity to make money, but fail to achieve that ultimate goal because they fail to plan their end, their exit strategy.

Are you Your Business?

If you can’t get out making the money you intended to when you sell up then why did you set up the business in the first place?  You have a great idea, you work on it, and spend your energy (and life) building your business until it becomes you.  It succeeds and you enjoy the lifestyle it brings.   Then the real challenge of maximising that income to free yourself up and retire or do something else begins.

That final stage often becomes impossible because you are the business and it is you, its lifeblood, main cheerleader and driving engine. To any potential buyer, they see that you are the business, its key asset and real value. This is why buy-out clauses often tie-in existing business owners so that the value that the former owner delivers can be transferred to the new owner.This is a typical scenario of being a successful business owner.

Business owners are driven by the passion to run the business day-to-day. This often overshadows the failure to plan the owner’s exit strategy from the start. To achieve that, owners must build a business with the clear objective to enable the owner to get out and maximising your income from what they have achieved. Nearly all business owners focus on building a successful business, not on making sure they maximise their returns from the successful ownership of the business.

Exit Strategy Planning

The real payback from all that hard work in creating and setting up a business for an entrepreneur is the final payback. It is in the shareholder value being realised by a sale of that business. Few owners think about realising their shareholder value, being more interested in the Profit & Loss than the Balance Sheet when making key decisions about the business. That approach is effectively summarised in the phrase; the turnover is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is king. This great motto in the running of any business. But it does not hold true in achieving exit strategy success as a business owner.

 

Exit Strategy: think like a Shareholder

Achieving shareholder success is the only motto to follow if you want to have a saleable asset.  Owners need to focus on developing an exit strategy which achieves their personal goals.  While profit and cash rule the day, building a valuable asset requires building shareholder value, through building sustainable long-term profitability.

Success in business requires owners to build a business which you own but are not concreted into the business foundations. Building a forward strategy for your business is a vital first step in building your exit strategy.  It is the old adage that you need to work on your business not in your business for success. This great motto underpins successful entrepreneurs.

Long Term Thinking

Short-term profitability is always an important goal. But long-term share value is a strategic consideration which owners need to consider in building the value of their business. If you would like to discuss this article further or further information about our services in working with business owners in achieving  successful exit strategies then contact us at enquiries@cowdenconsulting.com or see our contact page for further options.

Like to learn more about creating and leading a business, with a successful exit strategy in place? Then click here to buy the book with all the tools you need to become a better leader: Strategy The Leader’s Role by Richard Gourlay

 

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strategy, leadership and vision in business by Steve Jobs

Values matter in BUSINESS more than ever

Values must be transparent

The way you provide your product or service and to whom, says more about you than how much business you do. Being big in a highly segmented world is no longer the determination of success. How you do your business now determines your current credibility and future success. Credibility is as much about your values in becoming successful as about the success you have. Mohamed Al-Fayed for example, despite buying Harrods, never shook off questions about his background.

Your values as an organisation as demonstrated by everyone inside your organisation matter to both existing and potential customers in choosing to do business with you. People have choices and they can now exercise them more freely than ever before, and that means customers can access information instantly to make choices that are more informed. Ikea’s staff misinforming undercover Times reporters about their sustainable and certified sourced products at a number of shops are one symptom of Ikea’s rapid growth boardroom culture.

Values Must Live the Moment

Almost everything in life is in real-time and instantly communicated to circles of influence and beyond. A restaurant having  bad night can have a poor reputation before the starter has even been cleared away as customers post live feed back to sites such as Qype or Trip Advisor . Therefore, before the waiter, maitre d’ or chef knows what’s happening the world outside already does by Twitter and Facebook and are cancelling their reservations in their droves.

Why clean lavatories matter?

The old adage that if you want to know how clean the restaurant kitchen is, inspect the lavatories, because they tell you how the restaurant values cleanliness, is a great example of modern customer awareness. Do you live your values or just post them on your website? Is the question customers want to know in establishing and experiencing trust with you and your brand.

Rail companies learning fast

The recent story of the man on the train talking too loudly causing enraged customers to Tweet  complaints about his behaviour which was picked up by a duty manager hundreds of miles away who then contacted staff on the train to track down the loud caller and asked him to quieted down.
This story is very much testimony to the growing demands of customer expectations, immediate online response, not waiting for passing train staff to react. This story is part of the reputation shift that train companies are actively pursuing.
The values that a business lives really matter to customers and to the brand reputation. Learn more about strategy and how to build yours in your business, click here or on the book below.
Strategy The Leader's Role By Richard Gourlay

Strategy: The Leader’s Role by Richard Gourlay

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Dyson strategy to outcompete the competition

What Makes a Great Brand (Part 2)

Clear Brand Strategy

Being clear and precise is also important in the company’s messages for a brand to succeed. A strong undiluted brand message must enthuse internally but must also consistently connect with customers through touch points. For great examples look at Innocent, Dorset Cereals or Apple as classic examples of touch point engagement. They also demonstrate a clear story delivered with passion about who they are what they do and why they matter. This focused and consistent message is not just a marketing message but an ingrained set of values which consumers buy into with passion. These brands not only position themselves as premium players in their fields and earn more but they also continuously find new ways to spread their key messages to customers, they have a clear brand strategy to achieve it.

Everyone Must Live The Brand

Another vital aspect of any brand success is that the people within that brand demonstrate what they preach.  They live that lifestyle, support the values and aspirations associated with a brand and contribute to its success. It is their lifestyle, it is a part of the way they and their brand do business.
Great brands go beyond the logo to understand its real value to existing customers and also to tomorrow’s customers.  Whether it is a family run local shop or a global supermarket chain, great brands position themselves so they develop and hold a market position to develop long-term success.

Great Brands

Great brands also develop their own uniqueness, not just the product or service but the whole package is how we do it around here. There needs to be not only consistency but the brand hand writing and value on how they do it. The best brands always develop singular simple signals for customers, cutting through jargon to create clarity without patronisation.

For brands to succeed in today’s global markets these golden rules have never been more important as consumers have never had so much information, but if you follow these simple rules of brand success you can develop and maintain a great business.

Looking for Advice 

If you want to develop your company’s brand and are looking for some advice on developing your company, its marketing, its sustainable competitive advantage then contact us at Cowden Consulting to see how we can assist you, or read more about us in this blog or at Cowden Consulting.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Strategy-Leaders-Successful-leaders-business/dp/1508761965/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1476384916&sr=1-1

Strategy: The Leader’s Role by Richard Gourlay click to learn more

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