As I encounter various ‘want to be’ or existing business owners and entrepreneurs’, one of the things that worry me is their unstructured or sometimes uninformed approach to building their business. These business owners are usually in two categories; the ones who started their business out of passion that love what they do, but they don’t quite know how to move it further, and the ones who started their business because they wanted to make a lot of money and now they have made some, but they don’t know how to scale the business.
When I have conversations with them or examine their business operations, I notice one or more of these 5 principles are missing and that’s why their business has stalled. Omitting one of these 5 principles is like attempting to cook a pot of soup without a vital ingredient.
I would like to share the 5 ‘S’ for business success and once again, I deliberately made it one letter of the alphabet to make it easy to remember. They are:
Your business strategy is how your business plans to achieve its objectives in the long term. Every business should have a long term plan that would keep the team motivated and serve as a compass to guide decision making and action. If you fail to plan, you inevitably plan to fail. You need to be decisive and deliberate in your business to increase the chances of success.
This is how your business is organized to achieve its objectives efficiently. It starts with the legal structure, i.e is it a sole proprietorship, partnership or limited liability. The legal structure would determine the types of returns and taxes the business would pay. Your accounting and human resource structures are also important. When you hear people say; that business is not structured it simply means it is not organized efficiently and most likely everything revolves around one man popularly known as ‘one man’ business in Naija parlance.
Business systems according to Law dictionary are a combination of people and automated applications organized to meet particular objectives. Technology is a big driver to improve the efficiency of your business. A lot of your business systems like your customer response, inventory management, order processing and sales systems can be automated using technology. When your business is done manually, it is prone to errors and omission. As a small business owner, there are a lot of small business friendly systems that don’t cost a lot which you can use right now.
I always say; generating sales is the lifeblood of every business. If you fail to sell, you fail to remain in business. I advise my clients to focus very squarely on their sales process and ensure that their business is bringing in money continuously. Spend more time ensuring that your business is generating revenues than on making your operations perfect, especially in the early stages of business. One of my mentors says: your marketing is more important than your mastery. You need money to implement systems and structures, so make sure your business is bringing in money first. If you want to learn more about creating an effective sales system check out our upcoming training HERE
Sustainability is the ability of a business to survive and remain a going concern in an environment into the future. It means you need to build a sustainability consciousness into the business by paying attention to social, economic and environmental factors. This takes into consideration things like corporate social responsibility and business ethics. My sister is a sustainability expert and I used to think it was just a big word until I witnessed businesses suffer because they did not have a sustainability plan. Even if you are a small business owner, you should have a plan to respect and contribute to your local business environment.
These 5 ‘S’s’ might not sound like so much fun, but they are the bedrock on which a successful business would be built.