Growth vs Internal Challenges – Which should get your attention?

Strategic Planning, Videos,

We’re always happy to act as a sounding board, whether for clients or contacts, as we can often provide an objective view. This week, one question stood out, so I thought I’d share both it and my answers… Watch this to find out more!

Transcript:

Hi and welcome to another episode of BaranovTV, designed to demystify the world of accounts and tax and to help your business grow.

Today we’re coming from a Premier Inn. We’re on our travels again, seeing a client who’s in a lovely far-flung location. Today I wanted to talk to you about a conversation I had earlier in the week with a contact of mine who phoned up for a chat and to pick my brain.

She’s got some challenges within her business and just wanted a bit of a sounding board. She’s not a client, but someone I’ve come across, and as I said, she just wanted a bit of a chat.

We were talking through various things around marketing: how we do ours, how we made the transition from our last business through the sale process to starting up again, to where we are now. We covered lots and lots of ground, but one particular question she asked really kind of stuck with me. I thought it might be useful to relay it to you guys because if this person is asking these questions then other people may be having the same sort of concerns and the same questions buzzing around their own brains.

The question I was asked was whether she should be looking to spend some time resolving some of the internal issues that she has, or whether she should be doing that at the same time as really pushing for growth.

It’s quite a small business. She’s had some problems with staffing over the last year to 18 months, which aren’t really fully resolved as yet. She’s really finding it difficult to decide which way to focus and what to really prioritise.

Now it was only my opinion, but that’s what she asked for! My opinion was that she really needed to focus on the internals first, and I’ll explain why.

First off, I felt that if she hadn’t resolved the staffing issues, she was very much dragged into doing a lot of the day to day work herself and with her business partner, and was struggling to get the structure right within the business.

My feeling was that if the structure wasn’t right in the business now, if you add more customers and clients to that, then that’s really just going to amplify the problem.

So my advice was to get the internals right first, get the staffing right as a major priority, which would give her the capacity to be able to focus on the other internal things that I thought she ought to address, which were getting her processes clearly defined and clearly documented.

She needed to get the staffing in place so that she could work out what things like her customer journey needed to be and what she wanted people to experience as they went from prospect to customer to happy customer at the back end, hopefully who’s going to go out and tell other people good things about her business!

So I felt that that should be her primary focus.

Secondly, I thought that if she was bringing more customers in, then that was only going to increase the pressure on her, her business partner, and their extremely small team at the moment who aren’t quite bedded in the right way. And they know they need to recruit, so they’re all under a lot of pressure.

If they’re already under pressure, that’s only going to be exacerbated by bringing in more customers!

It makes much more sense to relieve that pressure first, then bring in the extra customers who will all then hopefully receive a fantastic service and go away really happy. What you don’t want to do is knowingly increase the risks of having unhappy customers coming through your business and sadly then having unhappy stories being relayed around the community and through your demographic about your service not quite being up to par.

So, they were my initial views.

She’s already working long hours, I thought she needed to get that capacity back to be able to focus properly. This will make sure that when she does start to bring the growth in and the new customers and the new leads, that she’s got the process really well worked out to make sure that every one of those leads is properly looked after.

That may be just having something on a spreadsheet; it may be having something in Trello. It may be having something in something like Pipedrive, depending on the number of customers that she wants to bring through. Whatever she chooses, she needs to make sure that she’s actually looking after every single one of those leads absolutely thoroughly, because you can then spend lots less time on getting leads because you’re increasing your chance of converting every single one of them.

What you don’t want to be doing is bringing a whole load of leads through, not looking after them properly, and then needing to keep bringing lots and lots in because your conversion rate is low. A lot of businesses struggle because they’re trying to look for more and more leads but they’re not actually looking after the ones they’ve got!

So, those were my thoughts around the conversation that I had earlier this week. If you’re in a similar position, then do get in touch. I’m more than happy to chat those sorts of questions around, because sometimes having an external viewpoint can actually just be really helpful. I’m no expert but I’m always happy to offer an opinion and perhaps just ask one or two awkward questions which might just be helpful!

So if any of that sounds interesting do get in touch. Otherwise, I’ll see you all very soon.