When I looked at the typical ‘hassle map’ of a business owner, it dawned on me that we tend to focus on the things that we cannot control or have little control over.
Here is a list of things we do have control over:
- Attitude: Do I see the proverbial glass as half full or half empty? This is a purposeful choice I can make.
- Keeping promises – delivering on my value proposition.
- Business expenses: Do I have a 12-18 months cash flow forecast which will highlight times of sales abundance or shortfall?
- Contracting with suppliers (credit terms) and clients (payment terms if credit is granted).
- Creditworthiness: Do I actively manage my creditworthiness and that of my business? A sterling credit record comes into play when the going gets tough, as will happen from time to time.
- Appointing staff: I appoint people to fulfil a specific role in my business. Are their responsibilities clearly defined and contracted? People sometimes do what you ask them to do – but they mostly do what you pay them to do.
- Marketing of my business: I can decide which marketing mix works best for my business and how much I want to spend on promoting my business and product/service offer.
- The sales process. I can decide to whom I want to sell something and how much I am willing to spend on my sales capacity. I can calculate how many sales I need per year, month and day to meet my sales objectives.
- Referrals: Asking for referrals from satisfied clients.
- Service delivery (pre- and post-sales) and meeting of client expectations.
- My own and my staff’s professional conduct.
Here are a couple of things we have limited or no control over:
- Government policies, legislation and requirements. It is best to comply with these.
- Tax: Pay what is due and continue with your life!
- Exchange rates: Take note and adjust your finances, costing and pricing as required.
- Competitors: Keep close tabs on your competitors’ activities (use their website, advertising, PR and mystery shopping as sources of information).
- Interest rate: Ensure the best possible credit rating for negotiating leverage with financiers.
In the end we should all ‘mind our business’, single-mindedly focus on our business targets and apply daily deliberate actions that will deliver results.
To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success. Go to www.sanlam.co.za/gameplan to download your free copy.