Doing Business in 2021

You can have the best strategy in the world, but without the right mindset, it is of no use.

In this column I discuss how your mindset can determine the success or failure of your business, and some top tips on how you can increase the value of your business.

There is one constant in life and that is change. When it comes to business, we usually change our ways by force, when things are about to go wrong, or when we must react to circumstances outside of our control.

Traditionally, at the beginning of a new year, I am busy advising motivated new entrepreneurs of how to best setup their new businesses. This year is no different. Despite COVID, and the challenges we are facing in an uncertain economic environment, people are determined and focussed.

However, there is one noticeable difference in early 2021: Established and long-standing businesses are being more pro-active and more strategic than ever.

During COVID last year, my team and I coached businesses in the areas of business continuity and finance/cashflow management. The range of business owners was broad, but they all had one thing in common: exhaustion, and a sense of loss and grief.

By applying techniques of Emotional Intelligence (EI) and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), I am coaching people in business to step into their full potential, take their team along the journey with them and achieve extraordinary results.

To me, business is a holistic affair. If you can align your personal desires, goals, values and morals with what you do in business, that’s when the magic happens.

What matters most is the effect you have on your customers, co-workers and everything in between. I teach people in business how to think and act from the inside out based on science and research, combined with my experience and skills.

But don’t be fooled by my soft skills approach, as I am equally enjoying the analytical side in business. Financial planning, strategy, taxes, cash flows and budgets play an important role in helping my clients thrive and grow.

Why do businesses fail?

In my experience there are three major areas.

Cashflow is the most obvious and most common one. Business owners often start a business because they are good at something. Only 30% of what you do make up running a business. The other 70% is made up of marketing, hr, accounts, operation, customer service, sales etc.
It is surprising how many business owners do not value their own worth or know their numbers. It is also interesting that many find it uncomfortable to chase up their outstanding accounts. Of course, there is so much more to managing cashflow, such as managing staff KPIs and keeping track of time and costs.

Not keeping up with your market is another reason why businesses don’t make it past the three-year mark. It is important to look at competitors… however your biggest competitor is yourself. Never stop learning and be bold!

COVID showcased this when we were forced to adapt, but this is not a new concept. Not long ago we were flocking into DVD stores to see the latest release. Within months the business model was obsolete. Adapting to new ways and inventions is crucial. Change simply means new opportunities.

The third reason is business culture. Business is people. Without people, there is no business. It is human nature that we want to contribute and take ownership.

Leadership in the sense of telling your team what to do without the WHY is obsolete! People will buy into WHY you do it, instead of WHAT you do. This also goes for your customers. Going into 2021 will underpin this more than ever. We all had time to reflect on 2020, and it highlighted what really matters.

How can you increase the value of your business?

Running a profitable business is the most obvious answer. But, in my opinion, creating intellectual property along the way is key. Not only can it provide alternative revenue streams, but it will also provide leverage. A business should be able to stand on its own two feet and still produce revenue without you being there.

Most people never consider creating a business that lasts beyond their lifetime. Ask yourself the question “How easy would it be for someone to run my business without me there?”.

The rule of thumb: Treat every day in your business as if you were to sell it tomorrow.

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