There are a lot of people telling Business Owners what to do with their business. Accountants are telling them to reduce their tax exposure, Advisors are telling them to sell more to make more or plan for their business exit, Consultants are addressing business pain points, and Coaches are either telling them to feel good about their business or are helping owners solve their business problems themselves. All of that conflicting and competing advice and owners are confused about what to do. As a result, many Business Owners do nothing. That is, without question, the worst thing a Business Owner should do. The question remains – what should a Business Owner do?
The first part of the answer to that question is simple – what does the Owner want to do? The rest requires some thought as doing nothing is the best way to ruin a business. It starts with asking themselves the following questions –
Where do I see my business in 5 or more years?
What do I want from my business?
As of the publishing of this Blog, we are entering the 3rd month of the first calendar quarter of the year. Some Business owners used the previous Quarter to plan for the next steps in their business. These could be:
- Grow the Business
- Open a new Business Location
- Start a new product or service
- Sell the business
- Improve the Business’s value
And many other things that should, if they work as desired, improve the Business Owners wealth and the Business itself. As the Business Owner thought of these different approaches for their Business, they could have done so privately, or they could have used a 3rd party. Either method also requires more consideration. For example, if doing it yourself how you can be certain you are considering everything necessary? If using a 3rd Party how can you be certain this person is looking out for the best interests of your business and not in the best interest of their revenue stream?
I recently read an article from a Regional Accounting firm that started with “Over the next 10 years, 4.5 million businesses with over $10 trillion in value will need to transition to new hands.” The assumption being that Baby Boomers are going to retire and that they will decide to transition instead of continuing to work. Yes, some will, some will not, but a growing number are continuing to work. Many that I know will continue to work until they no longer can. While inevitably all of us will one day stop working, tying that day to a specific age or generation is a fool’s errand and one that does not recognize the individual circumstances of each. What the Business Owner wants to do, as opposed to some element of society trying to apply a stereotype, should be the focus of any business efforts.
Interestingly, the steps a Busines owner would take to grow a business are not much different than they would take to sell a business. Some of these steps are:
- Know your Business Processes
- Continue To Market
- Develop Sales Goals
- Build Good Customer Relations
- Understand Where Your Money Goes
- Stay On Top Of Your Accounts Receivables
- Diversify Your Customers
- Add Value, Not Price
A key area and one that is often not truly addressed is improving the efficiency of your workforce. Commonly business treats its workforce as a cost to be managed instead of the primary source of revenue. More imp[ortant than your product or service it is your workforce that makes you competitive and is the only unduplicatable resource your business has. Knowing how to ensure your workforce is truly the best, instead of uttering that they are, is a key component to the success of your business. Engaging is quantifiable Strategic Workforce Planning is the key. It is important to remember that your workforce will make everything in this article happen; assuming you have the right workforce.
The Business Owner should do what is best for their business. That is the answer to the question. The rest are the details about what that means. If you need help planning and executing what you want to do just ask. It’s what we do.