I’ve worked with lots of businesses over the years, across a range of different industries, from small home based businesses, and tradespeople, to multi-million dollar, multinational companies. And for all their differences they all wanted the same two things.
1. Grow Their Business
2. Reduce Their Tax
So it was on this very premise that Watson & Watt was born.
But how exactly do you grow a business, and what does that even mean?
When you talk about “Growth” everyone thinks of something different. But in general, most people think “more sales” and immediately think of new and improved marketing/advertising campaigns. But “growth” can also mean more profit, more staff, more value, more time, and one person’s more, is another’s not enough.
The main issue here is that “more” doesn’t operate in a vacuum. By that I mean, you can’t just focus on more sales. You need to consider it in context with your vision, and your current skills and resources. You need a plan.
Because let’s say you want to “grow” and double your sales. So you focus on that. You spend up big on marketing and advertising and it pays off. People love what you do, sales go through the roof. You’re elated. It’s all working out for you. Except it’s not.
You’ve got more orders, than you can make, and you don’t have enough raw product anyway, because the bank wouldn’t give you any more money. Plus now you’ve got orders from other countries, but you don’t have a freight company lined up, and they’re paying you in USD, but you need AUD to buy more product and the exchange rate keeps going the wrong way and its costing you a bomb in bank fees. People waiting for their product are getting cranky, they’re emailing you night and day wanting their order, and poor reviews are starting to get posted online, but you’re trying to make the products, and reply to the emails and get ready for that big trade fair you committed to when you set out to increase sales.
So focusing just on sales, or any other area by itself, is foolhardy.
Growing a business is a process. And for any process to be successful, it needs to be complete, comprehensive, and consistent, from start to finish.
But Nathan, there are so many frameworks, theories, and business “gurus”, so much information out there, where does a business owner even start to do this properly?
I’m glad you asked
The Watson & Watt Way
In all my years as an adviser, whilst studying as an undergraduate, to be a Chartered Accountant, and even in my MBA, I never found a proper answer. It seemed all the frameworks were working in isolation. Just addressing their one area of specialisation. There was no, “start here, then do this, then do that”. So I created it. I found the best frameworks out there, interlaced them so they work together in unison, and put them in order. I created a complete, and comprehensive 5 phase system to grow businesses.
As you can see the process is circular. There is no end. There is always room for improvement, and re-evaluation. The economy, business and customers change. And so does your business. Your business needs to be continually worked on if it is to stay relevant.
But where do we start?
At The End of Course.
This phase challenges you to dream. To visualise what you want your business to be and commit to it in writing. You’ll have heard the phrase “Begin with the end in mind”. And that is exactly what this Phase is about. It’s about working out what you truly want the business to be, and by when.
There is a lot of work in this Phase. It tends to be fairly uncomfortable, trying to pin down what people want because there is no right or wrong answer. Some people are embarrassed of having big dreams, or having dreams at all, like it’s a bad thing to want more or less or different. Maybe they fear judgement, of being greedy, or ungrateful, for what they have, or not wanting just a little bit more, or maybe it’s the fear that no-one will believe they can do it, or maybe it’s a fear that if they externalise it, and make it real, they could fail. So they keep it quiet, keep it as a daydream, and then when it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t hurt, it was only a day dream anyway.
My advice to you and them, and everyone else, and that which forms part of the workbook for this Phase is this;
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat”
So we work on getting to your dreams, your vision, your values, what you want. And that’s the key to it. It’s what YOU want. These are all YOUR things. I (and no one else) can tell you what YOUR vision is. I can’t tell you what YOUR values are, or which customers YOU want. You can’t outsource this to me. But I can help you get to your answers. To identify what it is you really want, and that’s the value of having someone external, with no bias, or emotional attachment, help tease these goals out.
So after all this work, at the end of this phase, you will have identified;
– Your vision.
– Your core values.
– Your target customer.
– Your future staffing structure.
– Your financial targets.
And be ready to move to Phase 2; Assess
In this phase, you “assess” your current reality. An honest and objective, warts and all assessment of your business, your key people, the industry, the economy, your current customers, your finances and your current staff.
There is significant work to be done in analysing your current business, and they way it does things to create value for your customers. This is not an easy or quick process, but it is worthwhile. This analysis will go deep into activities your business conducts to identify what is value creating, and what is not. It is unrivaled in its effectiveness of identifying your value creation activities.
And it is exactly because it is hard, and often, time consuming that few, if any of your competitors will have done it. And that is exactly why those who do it. Win.
But you are in luck, because unlike Your Aspiration, I can get more involved in answering some of these questions and conducting the analysis. This phase is more than guided questioning. It is rolling up the sleeves, and looking deep into the workings of your business. And I love it. Once we have completed this phase you will have an understanding of the gaps between where you want to go, and where you are now, and what resources you have at your disposal. All of which is integral to developing your strategy. And that is precisely what we do in Phase 3: Architect, we design YOUR strategy to bridge YOUR gaps.
Something that we will go through more next month, so keep an eye out for that on your favourite social media channels, or you can sign up to our monthly email here so you never miss a thing.