Wednesday, 6 January 2010

If we’re all going to survive this much-hyped recession, as business owners we have to go back-to-basics and look at how we got here in the first place.

We have to look at our original business plans (remember that dusty document stuffed in a drawer you did for the bank manager all those years ago??)

We must ask ourselves, what’s gone well, what hasn’t gone so well, could I have done something better, smarter, easier? What worked better than I thought and would it work again? These are critical business review questions that we need to be asking yourselves today and everyday if we want to be in business tomorrow!

We have to look at our business’s personality. Be totally honest with ourselves and be really open to criticism…by our customers and our staff? If we’re not totally transparent, then we run into the danger of compromising our “brand” and before we know it, our business will get left behind in the rush.

We must really define what our “brand” is? It’s not just about the logo, its about the whole look and feel about the business and our customer and staff experiences and in today’s markets, a brand’s got to stand out from the crowd as something truly exceptional.

We have to re-think the marketing messages we want to get out and look at our own businesses as if we were one of its own customers? Would you buy your brand? If not, why not? Can you change things?

As we get older as people, our own personalities change & we adapt to survive. We rely on our own strengths, skills and motivation. And the way we think of ourselves drives us to do things better. And that’s what we should do with our businesses.

Taking a bit of time out away from the shop or the office or factory for a bit of thinking time is crucial. If you get a chance, sit somewhere quiet and without distractions and just try and “brain-dump” everything in your head onto a blank sheet of paper and try to refresh your business ideas. Talk to people. Your customers, your staff, your accountants and your advisors and mentors and run ideas past them for totally honest feedback.

There’s three fundamental words we all need to remember here; PLAN, DO, REVIEW

If we don’t do this everyday , personalities won’t adapt and we won’t be around tomorrow!

Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help and ideally, independent advice. Prepare to be challenged and perhaps make some difficult, but life-changing businesses decisions…………Who said running a business is easy !?

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