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Strategy the leader's role book by Richard Gourlay

Do you have a vision or are you just a dreamer?

Leadership starts with  a Vision

No matter how big or small your business is without a clear vision of where you are going owners and directors often fall into the classic trap of just managing from day-to-day. A business needs great leadership, and for that they need to create a clear business vision, which will make and deliver longterm leadership success. Customers have choice by Richard Gourlay , Cowden Consulting.

Envisioning the Future

Leadership is about investing time, envisioning the future and effort to see into the future and imagine how things could be, is as important for success as having real passion for the business and the determination to create something new. These three personal qualities of leaders are vital for successful companies and a vision statement, sometimes called “a picture of your company in the future”, but it’s so much more than that.

Vision Statement

Your vision statement is your inspiration, the framework for all your strategic planning. A vision statement may apply to an entire company or to a single division within that company. The vision statement answers the question, “Where do we want to go?” What you are doing when creating a vision statement is articulating your dreams and hopes for your business. It reminds you of what you are trying to build. A vision statement is for you and the other members of your company, not just for your customers or clients. Visionary goals should be longer term and more challenging than strategic goals. Collins and Porras describe these lofty objectives as “Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals.” These goals should be challenging enough so that people nearly gasp when they learn of them and realize the effort that will be required to reach them. Most visionary statements fall into one of the following five categories:
  1. Targeted – quantitative or qualitative goals such as Nike: “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world” “If you have a body, you are an athlete.”
  2. Common enemy – focused on overtaking a specific firm, becoming the number one in that sector, such as Amazon: “Our vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
  3. Role model – to become like another in a different industry or market, the mirror role, Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice) “Right from the beginning, I said I wanted to be more famous than Persil Automatic”.
  4. Internal transformation – creating internal vision, GE set the goal of “Becoming number one or number two in every market it serves”
While visionary goals may require significant stretching to achieve, many visionary companies have succeeded in reaching them. Once such a goal is achieved, it needs to be replaced; otherwise, it is unlikely that the organization will continue to be successful. The second most dangerous place for a company is to have achieved its only goal, the most dangerous place is never to have had one.

Creating Your Business Vision

Simple steps to creating your vision, ask some simple questions:
  • What will our business look like in 3 to 5 years from now?
  • What new things do we intend to pursue and how?
  • What future customer needs do we want to satisfy?
Write the answers down and focus on developing them into a coherent, motivational and purposeful message which can connect with everyone. Then Question:
  • Does our vision statement provide a powerful picture of what our business will look like in 3 to 5 years from now?
  • Is your vision statement a picture of your company’s future, which everyone can interpret into their role?
  • Does it clarify the business activities to pursue, the desired market position and capabilities you will need
If your statement answers these questions then you have a vision worth owning and sharing. A vision must be motivational to everyone inside an organisation. The classic apocryphal story to demonstrate the effectiveness of great visions is about the time President Kennedy visited NASA. During one trip he came across a cleaner sweeping the warehouse floor, and asked him what his job at NASA was. The cleaner replied “My Job is to put a man on the moon, Sir.” Now I don’t know if the story is true, but it’s inspiring. In a facility full of high-powered individuals and great minds, even the cleaner was completely on board with the strategy. While you may not be planning to put a person on the moon, we can learn a lot from the story. It may sound ridiculous, but every business needs to be a little like NASA.
Great visions can create an unstoppable company
Every organisation needs to have a clear vision, owned by everyone inside and outside it. An owned and shared vision creates and sustains great morale and internal strength for companies, which can become a powerful and unstoppable force in any market no matter how competitive. At Cowden Consulting we focus on ensuring companies can successfully compete in their chosen or desired market. Like to learn more then get in touch with at Cowden Consulting. Or learn more about creating your vision and how to lead your organisation with a clear strategy, but my book: click this link or the book cover below Strategy the leader's role book by Richard Gourlay

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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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