In 2012, before the year ended, Mindshop (www.mindshop.com) conducted a global survey across Australia, NZ, UK and the USA of business leaders involved in various business programs and groups in the Mindshop network.
The results of the survey highlighted that business leaders are faced with three critical business issues for 2013 – managing growth, followed closely by maintaining profitability and ensuring that strategy implementation is effective.
Key insights gleaned from the survey are:
1. Understand emerging customer trends for business growth
Growing existing and new markets is the biggest opportunity for Business Leaders in 2013. Having a clear understanding of emerging customer trends, reshaping products and services to meet those trends and having an engaged team to help drive new strategy will help grow your business. It is also important for leaders to review their business models and ensure that their model is capable of addressing these new opportunities.
2. The new normal for business is ‘change’
The ‘new normal’ for businesses these days is that change is constant. This requires a different mindset as a leader to focus on the things you can change (internal locus of control) and not be distracted by the things you cannot (external locus of control).
At the same time, leaders should manage becoming “change weary,” ensuring Project Teams are adequately resourced and that Leaders have the time and energy to juggle competing priorities.
3. Don’t put more business through an incapable system
Growth is a great opportunity but too many leaders try and push “more“ through an incapable system. This is a recipe for disaster that leads to lower profits, poor quality and service and an unhappy team and shareholders.
As economic conditions continue to stabilize it’s important to focus on continuous improvement and driving efficiency. Completing an annual ‘waste audit’ on the business (or your division/department) will ensure a healthy focus on profit improvement and efficiency.
As business leaders, creating a simple ‘stop doing’ list can help to re-prioritise and focus your activities. Here are are 4 generic options for actions that you must “stop doing.”
a. Delegate (internal),
b. Outsource (external),
c. Cease the action or,
d. Re-engineer it to be much more efficient (and take less of your time)
4. Adapt to a changing business environment
The current business environment is rapidly changing. There are massive movements in: demand, technology, consumer behaviors, marketing, products, services and business models.
Most businesses are still locked into long term (5 Year) planning cycles, when in reality plans should be reviewed on a regular basis (at least annually) and the business leadership should be involved in regular “Blue Sky” Planning Days to evaluate changing trends and map an appropriate response, if required.
5. Leverage your team to implement change effectively
Increased accountability and communication is required internally to help team members stay focused on key priorities. Instead of attempting to engage your entire team, focus on the top 25% of performers. Provide them with common problem solving and strategy development tools so that they can be constantly refining and improving processes while staying on track with the overall direction of the business. Business Leaders need to continuously develop their own skills and have high energy levels to ensure they lead by example. Walk the talk at all times.
For many business leaders, 2013 will be an exciting time as they grapple with the complex issues of managing growth, maintain profitability and ensuring that strategies are being implemented effectively. A number of business leaders have been addressing these challenges over the last few years with great success, so there are no surprises here.
The challenge in 2013 is that “growth” has risen to the No. 1 position as post-GFC opportunities start to emerge. How is your business positioned to take advantage of new opportunities?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Russell Cummings is a career consultant having spent the last 25 years working as a Strategy and Business Development Facilitator to a wide cross-section of businesses and industries. For more information on Russell, visit www.sbdbusiness.com.au