team performance

Using Business Goal Management to Ensure Team Performance

An organization’s performance is governed by the performance of the people and how well they communicate with each other within internal teams. It is more effective in smaller organizations and contradictorily, as the team size increases, its ability to effectively communicate becomes much difficult. However, the organizational leaders’ ability to define the goals helps to cut through this complexity of team structure.

Research by Deloitte showed that business organizations with high-level goal clarity are four times more likely to achieve a better business outcome. The key is proper goal setting and goal management. Let’s explore the right approach to business goal setting to build teamwork and ensure optimum output.

Manage changes with proper goal setting

Business leaders’ ability to set realistic goals and then manage them properly is essential to manage changes. Every organization is subjected to some changes, and market and technological changes are happening now at an unprecedented pace. A change is driven by many external factors, which an organization doesn’t have full control of. However, the internal changes of an organization are driven by growth, innovation, employee demographics, and other parameters which you can control.

Change management requires timely adjustments and effective prioritization of business tasks. Proper goal setting will provide clarity to the employees on how and which direction to move towards. A good goal setting strategy will also specify the tasks, role, and responsibilities for when, what, and by whom. Organizations which don’t have a defined system for communicating and managing goals are likely to fail over time.

Agility model vs. firefighting model

The capacity to define the actual needs of a business, what needs to be done, and getting it done as planned is what every employee must have, not just the leaders. Each individual’s responsibilities and the scope of their job may vary based on their hierarchical positions in the organization, but the skill to adjust to the circumstances and priorities is essential for everyone.

Appropriate goal setting is an ideal human trait to create a desired future and commit to working towards it. When it comes to a team environment, without clarity and proper communication, effective collaboration towards goal attainment never happens. Without proper goal setting and clarity, the teamwork culture breaks down into a mere “firefighting” environment.

Aligning up, down, across

Many tend to think that business goal setting is much easier, starting at the top and then breaking down the goals for succeeding lower levels. This is just one part of the story. However, in modern-day organizations, the works are cross-functional. When it comes to a service or product, much of the things that customers value are the results of some kind of cross-functional collaboration.

Defining the goals using simple language and the right approach reduce the chances for friction in building collaboration within the team and also between larger cross-functional projects and teams. Adding to it, proper 3-dimensional alignments will help bridge the communication gaps also which usually occurs vertically in typical organizations. Without proper goal setting, the complexity of organizational communication can be overwhelming. this is one reason why many businesses fail and ultimately fall into the bad debt chaos.

Formation and management of strategic goals

All individuals have the innate desire to collaborate to achieve something meaningful. As the organizations build, it actually becomes easier for individuals to get disconnected about how their activities tie to the organizational goals. As an organization is managing changes, these disconnected individuals result in resistance to the changes and eventually collective disenfranchisement.

In such a scenario, the formation of goals and effective management act as a significant tool to help people get through this engagement cycle from the change management perspective. Capturing the hearts of people requires their understanding of the proposed goals, why the achievement of those goals is important, and what they have to contribute in terms of skills and effort.

Creating agility through ongoing revisions and reviews

A good approach to make your organization receptive to change is to introduce a wider framework to implement, review, revise, and track the goals. Such a well-defined framework will help build a proper rhythm which can foster more effective communication. It will also create more accountability for each individual who knows the status of goal attainment and what to do next to move forward to get to the goals.

Dwight Eisenhower once said, “plans are worthless, but planning is everything.” We can redefine his statement like this:  the value of making a plan is in the understanding it produces by the collaboration required to make the plan. Sometimes the plan itself becomes outdated by the time it gets produced. The Six Disciplines program by Dwight Eisenhower focuses on creating a culture of close communication, teamwork, and effective human collaboration through regular revision of plans. This is not about producing more plans day in and out, but rather to increase the understanding and response to the changing conditions with agility.

Successful goal setting

Here is a practical and effective approach to goal setting.

  • Clarify the process of goal setting

Train all the goal setters on how the organizational goals are defined and also how these are going to be managed, including the strategic plan, team plan, individual plans, and cross-functional plan.

  • Minimalism vs. goals going wild

Don’t set many goals at a time, which is a big error many teams tend to make. Boil you’re your goals list to the most crucial few, i.e., the top three goals or so.

  • Review and revise plans from time to time

A plan shouldn’t be rigid. Review your plans and goals and revise them from time to time. Researches have shown that the organizations which review and revise their plans tend to outperform the organizations which seldom do so.

While thinking of effective goal management, you must invest in everyone to equip them with the ability to understand the goals and work towards the attainment of those. The plans are never right for a business if there isn’t a shared understanding.

Cindy Hawthorne is a noted blogger who has thorough knowledge about the Business and Startup. You can follow her blogs on the same to know more about the conceptions. She has also worked as a Debt Consolidation expert on this particular field and has a great deal of knowledge on the same.

Aepiphanni would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below.

If you are ready to discuss how Aepiphanni can help you with digital marketing, overcoming challenges to growth or any number of business solutions for your business, whether a small, growing or established company, contact us directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & A Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an Extraordinary company.




business

What’s Next??

As a business owner, how many times during the day do you simply want your staff to “get it done?” Do you find yourself getting frustrated, sitting down (or getting up) and doing the task yourself? What kinds of feelings does this incompetence engender in your line of thinking? Where does it go?

Here’s an example: You own a busy catering company. When you started the company, it was just you. You were the cook, the cleaner, the server and quite literally, the bottle washer. You‘ve done a great job. Your reputation has spread to the point that you’ve had to add on staff in order to help you get the work done. They are an extension of you; everything that happens in the company is by your word to their ears.

What’s wrong with that picture? Well…ask yourself: is this what you want to be doing in twenty years? Do you want to have a business whose very heartbeat is aligned with your own?

Said differently…if something happens to you, how will that impact your business? If you need to take some time off to deal with family or some other type of emergency, how does that impact things?
(True story: I missed 3 of my graduation ceremonies because I had to run my companies. Can’t get those ceremonies back!)

Well, if you are like me, you know that this method of ownership is NOT sustainable. If you are like a lot of entrepreneurs – getting stuck in the everydayness of running a company is about as fun as pressing the “next” button on a production line; you have eyes on the NEXT BIG THING down the road!

Bottom line: With all of the work that you have put into your company, you want it to pay off. NOBODY is EVER going to pay you for your sweat equity. (Anybody know about that one?). And if you are the heartbeat of the company, your company has very little to no value without you in the midst of it.

And nothing will change unless you do something about it.
NOTHING. WILL. EVER. CHANGE. UNLESS. YOU. DO. SOMETHING. ABOUT. IT.

In order to get your company to that illusive “next level” (or “Stage Up” as I heard someone say…I think I like that better), you have to be prepared to think, act and do differently.

Yes – you might start by reading articles about why companies don’t grow. One that I really enjoyed by Erika Anderson, contributor at Forbes is called, “Top 10 Reasons Businesses Don’t Grow – Boiled Down to 2” (Sorry for Forbes’ eternal words of wisdom when you arrive!)

Do you know the reality of why they don’t grow? Business owners don’t have time to take care of the laundry list of tasks that it takes to grow their companies because they are always working. They are always working on some aspect of delivering products and/or services, interfacing with clients and prospects and pointing, directing people and clicking. The tail wags the dog. (No offense dogs!)

It means that you’ve got to empower your employees.  Which means that:

  • When someone asks you how to handle a situation, you say, “Not sure. Let me know what you come up with.”
  • You hire people who are smarter than you…that can do your job
  • You develop managers and leaders to take on some of the load of running the company
  • You systematize things so that tasks are not solely dependent on one person, i.e. YOU.
  • It means that when you give someone a task to do, you give them the leeway to get it done. Get the H E double hockey sticks out of the way

While these are bold tasks – there is a great deal of trust required to let these things go – one of the biggest obstacles we have seen with business owners is getting in their own way.  When you own all of these tasks, there is no room nor any time for you to focus on planning for what that “next level” is going to look like, nor planning how you will get there. You might look at this along the spectrum of leadership maturity.

The reality, it is not as difficult to get there as you might think. While I would not go to the extent of saying that there is a secret elixir that everyone can drink that will guarantee that you will get there faster than you can shake a stick, I would bet dimes to dollars that you know what your customers want and how to give it to them at a price they are ready and willing to pay.

That means you have a marketable business. That is the foundation upon which every business is built.
The businesses that become extraordinary are run by those who have figured out how to get out of their own way, vision, plan and build on that foundation.

Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results.  We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below. If you are seeking advice on how to grow your business, streamline systems and processes, implement software or overcoming challenges to growth, please contact us, directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an Extraordinary Company.




Downturn

Is Your Business Ready for the Next Downturn? | Extraordinary Business

A successful business often tends to add costs indiscriminately. Business owners get blinded by the fact that their company is rapidly growing its revenues while maintaining a healthy bottom line. This lax attitude percolates down to employees who start incurring expenditure that does not provide any real benefit to the organization.

In many instances, company staff do not even provide customers with a basic level of service. They are so caught up with their daily activities and with managing increasing revenues that customer complaints and feedback get ignored.

When revenues and profits are rising, businesses can absorb excessive costs easily. But when growth slows, every additional item of expenditure becomes important.

What can a company do to ensure that it continues to thrive when there is a business downturn?

Retain your high-margin customers

When the business cycle turns, the immediate reaction is to cut costs across the board. But when you do this, make sure that your most important customers do not get affected.

In an article titled Could Your Business Survive An Economic Downturn in 2016? Four Ways To Prepare Yourself, Michael Evans advises businesses to identify and maintain their strengths and their best customers.

When a cost-cutting exercise is in progress, care should be taken to list key clients and to shift resources to ensure that they are given every possible facility. When the market is contracting, the last thing you want is to lose your high-volume customers.

Raise money when you can

When you are making profits and your cash flow is strong, you do not need to raise funds from external sources. But this is the best time to approach banks and other lenders to establish a line of credit.

Writing in Inc.com, Janine Popick, says that company owners should seek funding when business operations are doing well as this is the time that lenders are more likely to grant an approval. If you wait till you are in dire need of money, it will either not be available or will come at a very high price.

Eliminate non-productive expenditure

In Prepare For a Massive Recession, Grant Cardone points out that companies should spend “only to increase income.”
Unfortunately, many business owners are not aware of the often wasteful expenditure that builds up in their firms over a period of time. A thorough exercise to prune all unnecessary costs can yield substantial results.

Don’t wait for the recession, the best time to start preparing is now

It is impossible to predict when the next recession will take place. But your company could face challenges even if the overall economy is flourishing. Your industry may experience a slowdown or some of your major customers may stop from buying from you.

Every business owner should have a plan of action that can be put into operation when market conditions deteriorate and sales start decreasing. Even if you never have to use this plan, having it ready will give you the confidence that you are prepared to meet a downturn, should one arise.

Ravinder Kapur is a business operations writer at Aepiphanni, a small business operations and strategy consultancy that exists to help small business owners CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses. He is a commerce graduate and a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He has been affiliated with various interests in the financial services industry for more than 30 years. His finance expertise includes the commercial vehicle, automotive, and construction equipment sectors, as well as corporate finance. His experience in these disciplines has included business development, credit analysis, risk management and financial recovery. In addition, he worked extensively in corporate finance recoveries and was involved in several large value arbitration cases.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below. If you are seeking advice on how to grow your business, streamline systems and processes, implement software or overcoming challenges to growth, please contact us, directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an extraordinary company.




2016 calendar

New Steps for New Year: Prioritizing Steps for Growth in 2016

2016 Calendar Target Showing Year Planner And Schedule

Over the past few years, you have committed a great deal of time and money to developing your small business. By reinvesting your business’s profits back into the company and keeping a close eye on the often unstable US economy, you have made strides in creating a profitable enterprise.

However, as a seasoned entrepreneur you are also aware that the only way to persevere is to continue to grow. The question is not whether you will grow; it is how to grow without overextending your investments or making other costly mistakes. Having a clear understanding of the landscape in which you intend to increase your business will clear the path for successful growth in 2016.

Be Sure You are Ready…and Your Customers Are Too – Naturally, there are caveats. As entrepreneur and TV show producer Yanaeek Page writes in a recent article for the Jamaica Gleaner, before you enact any brand extension, spend considerable time researching its profitability. Does the demand for manicurists or pedicurists match the demand for hair stylists so that hiring a manicurist or pedicurist offers a greater ROI than hiring an additional hair stylist? Similarly, while professional hair care will remain in demand, you need to know if and how the local consumer changes his or her purchases during changes in the economy; during a minor recession, do economists report a drop in high-end hair salon business and a spike in visits to more ‘economy’ salons, such as Hair Cuttery or Fantastic Sam’s?

Know Where to Start – The first step you need to take when planning your service-based business’s growth is to know why your customers and clients have chosen you in the past; why have they hired you to mow their lawns or manage their taxes. The best way to acquire this information is simply to ask, whether during a casual conversation while conducting a service call or via end-of-year customer satisfaction surveys. Once you have a good idea of the aspects of your service people love, you can push that market differentiator via viral marketing. In his article for Toronto’s Globe and Mail, culinary industry consultant Mark Wilson shares an important point that all businesses should heed: listen to client feedback and act on it.

Execute Your Growth – Once you have analyzed and determined your own business’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the market in which you intend to grow, you can then enact your strategy. However, as an article published in the online forum SME Business Academy states, this plan has to allow for some fluidity. Based on your previous successes, you already know this to be the case. Just as a football coach will abandon an ineffective strategy for one that succeeds in winning the game, you must be willing to quickly change focus if your latest project does not result in a timely profit increase.

Anticipate Challenges – You are likely to face the same challenges as when you first began your small service-based business, such as how best to market your product and whom to hire, as well as new challenges unique to a growing business such as where to expand without spreading your business too thin or “cannibalizing” your current success via excessive geographic proximity.

The decision to expand your company’s list of services or to offer your current service to a larger market requires a high degree of scrutiny. You will find that referencing professional consultants can be very helpful in selecting and executing the correct strategy for your company’s growth.

You have succeeded in nurturing your small service-based business, which now enjoys stability and recognition within its specific arena. 2016 is the time for you and your staff to take the next step toward long-term success. Call Aepiphanni today for a free business assessment and to begin taking your business to the next level.

Ian Erickson is the writer for Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Managed, and Implementation Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. Ian Erickson has been advising managers and clients in a wide spectrum of industries on the most effective strategy for years. Ian discusses situations facing small businesses and how to turn challenges into opportunities.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below. If you are seeking advice on how to grow your business, streamline systems and processes, implement software or overcoming challenges to growth, please contact us, directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an extraordinary company.




When Things go Wrong | Extraordinary Business

How to plan for and manage unexpected challenges you face in business

image
 
You have probably been to a restaurant when it is extremely business, with people waiting out the door, slow service and very busy servers. You’ve probably been stuck in traffic at rush hour or when a big event is coming to town. You may have waited in long lines for a movie or for a ride at an amusement park or some of their place where you probably thought or said to yourself that they probably need more people or could use more space.
While you might understand or be patient if it happens once or twice, you will probably find alternatives – be it alternative locations if they are available, or available times if the issue seems to be a timing issue. In either case, you are thinking about the cost to switch or select a different option. If it is a restaurant, it may be fairly easy to find another restaurant or movie theatre, making the switching cost low. If it is an amusement park or a road, the switching cost might be higher – you may have to travel a great distance (cost) to avoid the lines or to get on open roads.

In either case, you are dissatisfied, perhaps thinking to yourself that you are the customer, you are ready and wiling to invest your money and/or time in order to make use of the product or service, but the provider is making it difficult to do so.
As a small business owner, you most likely have competitors – those providers who can give consumers exactly what you do, or something that would serve their needs instead of what you are offering. For example, you might be willing to give up reading books for watching television or movies. While they are not exactly the same, one use of time is a replacement of the other, versus replacing one book with another one.
Your competitors are more than likely more than happy to take business from your company. That said, what do you do when your company experiences fast growth?
Never is the adage “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” more important than when your company is preparing for and moving through growth. There are few more volatile times in the life of a business then when there is a rapid increase in the amount of business. How many customers could you afford to lose before your brand is damaged? What is the maximum leeway your customers would be willing to give you? Is it 15 minutes? an hour? a day? a week? How do you know and how do you manage it?
Surely, on one side of the picture, you might say that you will rent facilities, increase staff or work with part time staff or contractors. However, at times, things happen that are beyond your control, such as supplier or space shortages. How will you handle this, both when you understand that there is a possibility that could happen, when it happens and after it happens? Do you simply wing it and hope for the best, or do you think through how you will communicate with your client base?
Of course, you never want it to happen, and you will probably do everything in your power to keep it from happening, but planning for how to handle it can be an asset no less important than having insurance. If you want to build a company that is extraordinary, evaluating and reducing risk will be an important part of your operating model.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results.  We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below. If you are seeking advice on how to grow your business, streamline systems and processes, implement software or overcoming challenges to growth, please contact us, directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an extraordinary company..




When Things go Wrong | Extraordinary Business

How to plan for and manage unexpected challenges you face in business

image

 

You have probably been to a restaurant when it is extremely business, with people waiting out the door, slow service and very busy servers. You’ve probably been stuck in traffic at rush hour or when a big event is coming to town. You may have waited in long lines for a movie or for a ride at an amusement park or some of their place where you probably thought or said to yourself that they probably need more people or could use more space.

While you might understand or be patient if it happens once or twice, you will probably find alternatives – be it alternative locations if they are available, or available times if the issue seems to be a timing issue. In either case, you are thinking about the cost to switch or select a different option. If it is a restaurant, it may be fairly easy to find another restaurant or movie theatre, making the switching cost low. If it is an amusement park or a road, the switching cost might be higher – you may have to travel a great distance (cost) to avoid the lines or to get on open roads.

In either case, you are dissatisfied, perhaps thinking to yourself that you are the customer, you are ready and wiling to invest your money and/or time in order to make use of the product or service, but the provider is making it difficult to do so.

As a small business owner, you most likely have competitors – those providers who can give consumers exactly what you do, or something that would serve their needs instead of what you are offering. For example, you might be willing to give up reading books for watching television or movies. While they are not exactly the same, one use of time is a replacement of the other, versus replacing one book with another one.

Your competitors are more than likely more than happy to take business from your company. That said, what do you do when your company experiences fast growth?

Never is the adage “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” more important than when your company is preparing for and moving through growth. There are few more volatile times in the life of a business then when there is a rapid increase in the amount of business. How many customers could you afford to lose before your brand is damaged? What is the maximum leeway your customers would be willing to give you? Is it 15 minutes? an hour? a day? a week? How do you know and how do you manage it?

Surely, on one side of the picture, you might say that you will rent facilities, increase staff or work with part time staff or contractors. However, at times, things happen that are beyond your control, such as supplier or space shortages. How will you handle this, both when you understand that there is a possibility that could happen, when it happens and after it happens? Do you simply wing it and hope for the best, or do you think through how you will communicate with your client base?

Of course, you never want it to happen, and you will probably do everything in your power to keep it from happening, but planning for how to handle it can be an asset no less important than having insurance. If you want to build a company that is extraordinary, evaluating and reducing risk will be an important part of your operating model.

Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results.  We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below. If you are seeking advice on how to grow your business, streamline systems and processes, implement software or overcoming challenges to growth, please contact us, directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an extraordinary company..




Your “Tipping Point” Will Make or Break Your Company | Extraordinary Business

What is a tipping point and how does it apply to business growth?

tipping point

 

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” describes the tipping point  as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” Gladwell describes examples of this such as, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.”

In the same way, business growth stages can occur, wherein a business reaches a point at which it moves from one stage to the next – over the tipping point. As he goes on to describe, going over a tipping point requires extra effort than normal operating procedures. If you think about it like reaching boiling point, at 211 degrees, water is starting to show some activity, while at 212 – one extra degree, water goes from still to boiling.

For example, your company might experience a tipping point when you hire additional staff to take on the work you expect to have at some point in the future. It is difficult because the amount of resources exceeds the amount of income or work while we push to increase productivity. Once over the “Tipping Point”, we will be back to a normal situation where the amount of work is equal to the number of resources and paying them properly.

The challenges with tipping point is a) funding it, b) negotiating it, c) becoming a different sort of leader and d) maintaining the integrity of the product.

Many times, during a growth stage, you run into problems with staff. It is important to remove people quickly who would not be as committed or be detrimental to the flow of business. If they are not removed immediately, it could have long-standing implications on the business, causing other members to either not be as committed to the work or creating a lower morale amongst the team members.

Ideally, all new members have to be with the understanding of doing more than their job, but rather, contributing to a greater purpose – to the sustainability of the business. If the business is sustainable, it provides steady income and opportunities for growth of its members.

A wise business leader will encourage his or her team to consider the business as their own and have an understanding of how their thoughts and actions impact the business. A wise employer will also hire based not only on current skills, but also potential, ability to think and conceptualize, ability to learn, work ethic and integrity. In other words, people should be hired on their ability to be developed and what they can bring to the company. This makes for a greater exchange than simply work for money.

The tipping point, if not successfully planned for and managed, can put a business out of business. Having more clients than the company can handle can cause poor customer service, poor pipeline (sales) management, product outages, poor financial controls and cause irreparable damage to the company brand. While some of these issues can be worked through, the greater the impact, the more it will cost to overcome it.

This is why people have written about business growth phases and the different expectations a business should have for itself at each stage, ranging from having the on-site owner through company mergers and acquisitions; from raising money through personal savings and assets to going public. Thinking about the business lifecycle in terms of stages allows the business leaders to prepare the business for and navigate that stage.

 

Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results.  We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.

We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below. If you are seeking advice on how to grow your business, streamline systems and processes, implement software or overcoming challenges to growth, please contact us, directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an extraordinary company..




Your "Tipping Point" Will Make or Break Your Company | Extraordinary Business

What is a tipping point and how does it apply to business growth?

tipping point
 
Malcolm Gladwell, in his book, “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference,” describes the tipping point  as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.” Gladwell describes examples of this such as, “Ideas and products and messages and behaviors spread like viruses do.”
In the same way, business growth stages can occur, wherein a business reaches a point at which it moves from one stage to the next – over the tipping point. As he goes on to describe, going over a tipping point requires extra effort than normal operating procedures. If you think about it like reaching boiling point, at 211 degrees, water is starting to show some activity, while at 212 – one extra degree, water goes from still to boiling.
For example, your company might experience a tipping point when you hire additional staff to take on the work you expect to have at some point in the future. It is difficult because the amount of resources exceeds the amount of income or work while we push to increase productivity. Once over the “Tipping Point”, we will be back to a normal situation where the amount of work is equal to the number of resources and paying them properly.
The challenges with tipping point is a) funding it, b) negotiating it, c) becoming a different sort of leader and d) maintaining the integrity of the product.
Many times, during a growth stage, you run into problems with staff. It is important to remove people quickly who would not be as committed or be detrimental to the flow of business. If they are not removed immediately, it could have long-standing implications on the business, causing other members to either not be as committed to the work or creating a lower morale amongst the team members.
Ideally, all new members have to be with the understanding of doing more than their job, but rather, contributing to a greater purpose – to the sustainability of the business. If the business is sustainable, it provides steady income and opportunities for growth of its members.
A wise business leader will encourage his or her team to consider the business as their own and have an understanding of how their thoughts and actions impact the business. A wise employer will also hire based not only on current skills, but also potential, ability to think and conceptualize, ability to learn, work ethic and integrity. In other words, people should be hired on their ability to be developed and what they can bring to the company. This makes for a greater exchange than simply work for money.
The tipping point, if not successfully planned for and managed, can put a business out of business. Having more clients than the company can handle can cause poor customer service, poor pipeline (sales) management, product outages, poor financial controls and cause irreparable damage to the company brand. While some of these issues can be worked through, the greater the impact, the more it will cost to overcome it.
This is why people have written about business growth phases and the different expectations a business should have for itself at each stage, ranging from having the on-site owner through company mergers and acquisitions; from raising money through personal savings and assets to going public. Thinking about the business lifecycle in terms of stages allows the business leaders to prepare the business for and navigate that stage.
 
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results.  We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
We would love to hear from you.  Please share your thoughts and comments below. If you are seeking advice on how to grow your business, streamline systems and processes, implement software or overcoming challenges to growth, please contact us, directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an extraordinary company..




How’s Your Plan? | Extraordinary Business

How planning can and will impact the success of your companysmall business planning

Apple bought Beats by Dre…AT&T bought Dish Network…Facebook is after WhatsApp.  Which question is more important – the what, as in what did they buy or the why?
Well, more than likely, these were part of their plan to perhaps gain more market share, expand their capabilities or offerings, purchase some new technology or knowledge or some other strategic initiative to increase shareholder value. In the case of these businesses, they have their board of directors and stockholders that are holding them accountable for achieving or exceeding the company’s strategic goals. No acquisition is done in a corner or without some type of planning.
As small business owners, while we aren’t beholding to our stockholders, at least to the extent of larger companies, we should have some type of accountability to ensure that we are creating and following through with the strategic initiatives that the company requires. This could be – should be  – people who would be willing to have a stake in the success of your business and will be committed to making sure you don’t drop the ball.

If you have ever spoken with someone about or read about people who want to make significant changes in their lives, you know that they start out with a goal, and perhaps a number of milestones. The understanding is, however, that most of the times, more difficult plans to achieve goals fail. Think about the number of times people try to lose weight, quit smoking or break other habits.
The key is to tell people around you – in your inner circle – who will help to hold you accountable to your plan. If you consider the success of Addictions Anonymous (formerly Alcoholics Anonymous) this is similar to their approach – a room full of people who will hold you accountable, who have been where you are and will celebrate your successes. Furthermore, you would have a sponsor who you can reach out to at any time and who will come and find you if you fall off the grid.
The people around you could be members of the small business community – those that have been where you are and those that are going through the same process as you are with your company. You will also want to have a sponsor – a business coach or advisor who will be the person who is intimately aware of and involved with ensuring that you are creating, pursuing and achieving your goals, and to be the person you strategize with when things do go differently than you might expect.
Building an extraordinary company doesn’t happen by accident – it requires planning, execution and monitoring progress and results. As a business leader, this should be your primary emphasis. If you run your company based on inertia – just doing what you have always done – eventually, you will run up against an obstacle and your business will stop. If you don’t manage your company and its resources – people, productivity, products, money and time – all of which should be part of your planning – again, you will end up out of business.
When you plan strategically – with the emphasis on finding some way to create sustainable distinction in the marketplace – and execute your strategy like Apple, AT&T, Facebook and so many others, you will find that your company has the ability to weather storms, move through obstacles and maximize the use of your company’s resources.