Businesses do not exist in a vacuum. External factors and the impact of the business growing has a relentless impact upon a business. In some cases, the owners will notice them and will act, as everyone expects the impacting factor to be addressed. In other cases, the impact creeps up, unnoticed. The owner realises the issue needs addressing but is not sure how to start to make a change.
In businesses where there is a formal review process, the creep will be captured at the early stages. Review processes can be set to occur at a fixed time, but to avoid them becoming a purposeless uninspiring routine, the reviews frequency must correlate with the likelihood of there being a resultant action.
Businesses revolve around marketing, sales, operations and finance which each have their own natural cycles. Each function has short term and long-term actions and issues. For example, staff resources to deliver next month’s orders are short term but a succession plan to replace a senior member of staff who is retiring, would be a long-term issue. Some issues are internal and some external. So, the preparation of a quote would be an internal goal but securing several new leads from new sources would be an external one.
By examining the considerations, a pattern emerges for reviews for each function and the purpose of a review will become clear:
· Short term – internal and external
· Long term – internal and external
External considerations move at the slowest pace. New legislation and changes in public spending take years to come into effect and be noticed. Technology, advances at a pace, but again takes years to be noticed. Social changes may take a generation to be significantly different. The owner of a business, although working in it, has an external face and their outlook will be significantly different in their 30’s to their 50’s. If you look back a year, your outlook on the world will have been very different from what it is today. So, if you have not had a review of the future direction of the business for a year or more, there is no better time than the present to take stock.
Using an external facilitator for the annual review will break the circular discussions which often occur if a business has a monthly board meeting. By standing back and taking stock, you can revel in what has been achieved in the last year, reignite the direction of the business and develop a plan to deal with those issues which are holding you back.
Find out more about having a facilitated “away day” to take stock Peter.Searle@ba4cs.co.uk
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