When I am working with clients, so often they say it will be different this year, however, unless you made some fundamental changes and most significant time out to plan, and ensure the right processes are in place, the likelihood is nothing will change.
Now is the time to take a look at my 4 step approach to ensure profitability for the coming year:
Reflect on the biggest mistakes you made last year and where the most significant lessons are to be found then ask yourself and your team some soul-searching questions.
What was the root cause of the biggest issues you faced?
What processes could you put in place to prevent these happening again in the future?
What were your greatest successes?
How can you build on those successes?
Analyse where you can make the greatest difference and increase profitability. Consider this very carefully and decide if the successes generally came from your 'A Grade' clients with the headaches, and misery came from the 'D Grade' clients.
Apply the Pareto Principle or the 80/20 rule
Could you business actually be more successful by letting some of your 'D Grade' clients go?
Define the strategic objectives and critical drivers for success and profitability ensuring you cover all operations, sales, and financial KPIs.
Consider strategic objectives
Re-visit your PR and marketing activity
Chose your clients ruthlessly by grading the target market
Look at up-selling to your best clients
Maintain customer delight
Set SMART targets: financial and new business acquisition. Use all the tools you have available to you to ensure focused performance from the whole team
Revisit the sales process and training
Set target based on profitability and not just on number
Increase prices wherever possible
Hold the whole organisation accountable
Know your numbers and keep on top of the profitability of every product and service on at least a monthly basis
Is your business stuck in the paradigm, comfortable with 'the way we do things around here'? Perhaps it's now time to question the status quo and the paradigm, or cultural web, within your organisation?
The Cultural Web identifies six interrelated elements that help to make up what Johnson and Scholes call the paradigm - the pattern or model - of the work environment. By analysing the factors in each, you can begin to see the bigger picture of your culture: what is working, what isn't working, and what needs to be changed.
The six elements are:
Stories - The past events and people talked about inside and outside the company. Who and what the company chooses to immortalize says a great deal about what it values, and perceives as great behaviour.
Rituals and Routines - The daily behaviour and actions of people that signal acceptable behaviour. This determines what is expected to happen in given situations, and what is valued by management.
Symbols - The visual representations of the company including logos, how plush the offices are, and the formal or informal dress codes.
Organisational Structure - This includes both the structure defined by the organisation chart and the unwritten lines of power and influence that indicate whose contributions are most valued.
Control Systems - The ways that the organisation is controlled. These include financial systems, quality systems, and rewards (including the way they are measured and distributed within the organisation).
Power Structures - The pockets of real power in the company. This may involve one or two key senior executives, a whole group of executives, or even a department. The key is that these people have the greatest amount of influence on decisions, operations, and strategic direction.
If you'd like to find out more about anything I've mentioned here and help your company achieve a successful and profitable 2018, call me on
For more than 40 years Kath specialised in sales & marketing, operations and general management. During that time she studied a business degree at London Thames Valley University and a coaching and mentoring degree at Oxford Westminster, started a successful innovative subsidiary business in Essex and was General Manager of a ￡12.5m company in Maidenhead.
Kath is passionate about coaching and mentoring business owner/managers to help them achieve their goals and aspirations. Her emotional intelligence combined with her warm, incisive and curious style ensure consistently good results. She encourages business owners to develop an entrepreneurial approach to their business and works with businesses at various stages from pre-start and start-up, through to high growth and exit, enabling the business to be successful and the owner to achieve his or her highest aspirations.
Kath is an approved and accredited Skills Advisor, and is a professional coach holding a certificate in Coaching & Mentoring Practice from Oxford Brookes University. She is a local Town Councillor, a Young Enterprise mentor, mentor of women through South East Women Mentoring Service, a member of The British American Association and an avid networker.
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