Our clients rate us based on our impact at 97.4%, which we work hard to maintain since 70% of our fees link to revenue growth.
This Week@Work: Defy the skills shortage with a fresh approach to recruitment and your team.
This Week@Work the skills shortage has been touted as a skills crisis. How do you get the right people to do the right thing at the right time, all the time? The solution lies deep within your business – understanding clearly what problem you solve, for whom and then codifying the activities that deliver the solution and experience are the key to building a purposeful team.
The Aurik difference
We don’t consult, advise or coach, we partner with you and work with your team, using smart tools and proven processes to build your business into your greatest wealth generating asset. Our partnership is unique & impactful for 6 key reasons:
We are growth partners and link 70% of our fees to a client’s growth. Their growth is our growth!
Beyond one or two experts, we bring 13 accredited growth system facilitators, each expert in their domain, offering “horses for courses.”
Because client growth is our growth and time is money, we get quick results by working with owners and their teams to implement and delegate fast.
Our smart digital dashboard visually represents a company’s growth system to optimize, integrate, and delegate functions, while data helps visualise business risk, performance, scale, and value.
Our growth system works in two stages: generating reliable, consistent organic growth and then next-level growth to embed 5 levers of valuation to deepen profit and turn a business into an asset.
If a client’s growth needs support in funding, company sales or acquisitions, market access, international expansion, IP, and the like, we access a vetted collection of partners to make it happen.
70% or more of our fees are linked to growth, we are invested in your success and will hold you accountable, it is not a “bill you then leave you” engagement.
With Aurik you get access to up to 13 subject matter specialists who will work with you & your team across all your business functions.
We work with you AND your team to ensure their buy-in and easy delegation which flows from that. This ensures quick adoption, and fast results.
Access to a smart dashboard visualises the evolution of your System of Delivery, which fosters team accountability and guides your goal attainment
A single, simple, Asset of Value™ Growth System anchors the 5 levers of valuation, which ensure your business can, one day, be sold.
Aurik has both the internal competency and world-class partners to support your growth and/or exit ambitions through growth capital, M&A or transaction advice.
“When we joined Aurik we were making a loss, now we’re making profits! Things have changed so much since joining Aurik that it’s not the same business, there is a lot more structure, and even our customers can even tell that it’s being run differently. We are much more efficient, we can make quick decisions, and allow the team to resolve issues. There’s a lot less wasted time.” – Anton Die Makers
“We came to Aurik with 9 staff. 2 years later we have 48 staff on book.” – African Shopping Network
“The sessions were insightful and helped identify areas of weakness that we could turn into growth.” – Fastener Agencies
Unlocking Business Growth: Navigating Stagnation, Stuckness, and Chaos
In the world of business, growth isn’t always a straightforward path. Many business owners, regardless of their experience, encounter three common growth challenges that can leave them feeling frustrated and exhausted. Let’s delve into these challenges and explore strategies for overcoming them.
1. Stagnation: When Growth Hits a Wall
Stagnation in business is like running on a treadmill—you’re expending energy, but you’re not getting anywhere. Business owners often attribute this to external factors, like market conditions or economic fluctuations. However, it’s crucial to recognize that stagnant growth often reflects an inward-looking, passive approach.
The solution? Start by re-evaluating your business mindset. Instead of dwelling on external factors, shift your focus to what you can control. Embrace change, be proactive, and actively seek out growth opportunities. Blaming external factors won’t drive progress, but a change in attitude and approach can.
2. Stuck Growth: Spinning Your Wheels
Stuck growth is akin to trying to move a car out of the mud—you’re putting in effort, but the wheels keep spinning. In this scenario, your business might be making deliberate efforts to expand, but the outcomes remain disappointing.
To break free from this situation, it’s necessary to reconsider your approach and actions. Understand that what worked in the past may no longer be effective in the current business landscape. Re-evaluate your strategies, investments, and operations. Seek expert guidance if required. Don’t persist with the same methods if they’re not yielding results.
3. Chaotic Growth: Thriving Amid Turbulence
Chaotic growth can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. Your business is expanding, but it feels like you’re constantly putting out fires. Daily operations become increasingly complex, and you’re pulled in every direction.
To regain control during chaotic growth, focus on establishing a robust foundation. Reorganize your business structure and operational processes. Simplify workflows, delegate responsibilities, and introduce systems that can handle growth efficiently. Building a structured foundation will prevent you from getting bogged down by the daily whirlwind.
Regardless of the growth challenge you’re facing, it all begins with a shift in attitude and approach. Recognize that your business and the business environment are in a constant state of evolution. What worked in the past might not be effective today. Embrace change, take control of your business’s destiny, and adapt to the evolving landscape.
In the words of Thomas Edison, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Don’t let these challenges deter you; instead, view them as opportunities to evolve and thrive in the ever-changing business world. Unlock your business’s growth potential by adopting the right mindset and strategies.
To listen to the full discussion from the show:
BUSINESS LEADER: Rituals, routines, habits: The blueprint for transforming your business growth
In this article, first published in Business Leader, Pavlo shares Rituals, Routines, and Habits: The Blueprint for Transforming Your Business Growth.
Once your business has achieved a ceiling of performance, how you invest your time and attention determines your future success. To understand how we invest our time and attention, we can look at the habits that drive us, consciously and unconsciously, every day. Our habits form behaviours that manifest both good and bad outcomes.
Habits form when you do something that makes you feel good and can be initial and ongoing. Here’s an example of each.
A cigarette makes you feel good when you light and drag on it. You might feel awful after, and swear to stop smoking, but you won’t and don’t. I’ve observed this as a non-smoker for years. So why did you start smoking in the first place? Was it to be cool or fit in?
Whatever it may have been, you likely developed a habit around it – a morning and evening smoke or when things get rough in life. Mostly, you don’t even think about it. You light up and draw, reminding yourself that you are going to die one day or promise yourself you’re going to give up next week.
A good habit might be brushing your teeth twice a day. Don’t do it and feel uncomfortable. Do it, and you feel virtuous, clean, and fresh. You likely do it now without even thinking. It’s a habit.
Both are mainly unconscious. You do both whilst thinking or doing other things. And yet, these acts bear consequences. They shape your future despite your aspirations and intentions.
What does this have to do with business growth?
Upon reaching a certain level of business performance, your time and attention, more than money, skills, strategy, and advice, are the greatest determinants of future growth.
Understanding what guides your time and attention becomes the most critical insight into your company’s future and leadership imperative.
There are primarily 3 drivers:
These are considered actions and behaviours intended to yield a clearly defined outcome. For example, 20 min of exercise, followed by 10 minutes of meditation first thing every morning. It is deliberate, purposeful, and practised.
Patterns of behaviour set by circumstances. For example, a weekly routine that sees you go to work differs from a weekend routine that does not. In each case, the routine is governed by the day’s or event’s logistics and requirements.
Both routines and rituals can become habits. A ritual that becomes a habit loses its purpose since rituals are meant to be intentional and purposeful, requiring conscious, practised presence. Routines lead to habits more often. But habits also form based on past behaviours, responses, practices, and circumstances. It makes them the hardest to see, understand and change and skews your ability to evaluate how you invest your time and attention.
As a business grows from one level to the next, fundamental changes are needed to support the growth. How you lead, manage, and behave as a business owner in a company generating £5m annual revenues is fundamentally different to what is needed for a company generating threefold that. And to get a company from there to that future revenue requires different routines and habits to those that got you there in the first place.
So, can you change your habits to enable this growth?
Popular culture says yes. Identify the habit, understand the trigger, replace it with better behaviour, reward yourself each time and after 21 or 33 and ¾ days, a new habit is formed.
I don’t buy it. Many business owners backslide from leading growth into operating the business. What’s needed is more than willpower and six steps to success in habit formation.
By creating a monthly ritual that holds you accountable to your intentions and goals, using a trusted observer who asks the right questions, challenging and debating your answers, and using data and evidence to maintain clarity and truth, the likelihood that you will always practice the right habits for the right time is greatly enhanced. Consciously investing time and attention to growth, rather than having time and attention absorbed by old habits, is the key to unlocking your full potential in life and business.
Embracing Relentless Uncertainty: A Business Owner’s Guide to Thriving in Chaos
In the fast-paced and ever-changing landscape of today’s world, uncertainty has become an inevitable part of life, especially for businesses. The overwhelming influx of variables and challenges can leave even the most experienced entrepreneurs feeling stuck and unsure of their next move. However, there are tactics that can empower you to navigate through uncertainty, seize opportunities, and drive your business forward with confidence and vigor.
In a recent podcast of The Money Show, Pavlo Phitidis explored some essential strategies that can help you embrace and conquer relentless uncertainty.
1. Drip Feed Your Psychic Energy
To combat the mental exhaustion caused by a barrage of uncertainties, learn to draw inspiration and energy from both your past successes and your vision of the future. Reflect on your past achievements to boost your self-confidence and envision a successful future to fuel your motivation. This balance will help you maintain your focus and determination amidst the chaos.
2. Simplify and Group Variables
Facing a multitude of variables simultaneously can lead to a chaotic and overwhelming experience. Instead, simplify the complexity by grouping related variables together. Categorize challenges into themes such as customer issues, capacity problems, and supplier concerns. This organization allows you to tackle each group with a clearer, more effective approach.
3. Visualize and Shape the Challenge
Visualization is a powerful tool for comprehending intricate challenges. Grab a whiteboard or a piece of paper and visually map out all the moving parts and variables involved. This process will help you identify the significant issues rather than getting lost in a sea of minor problems.
4. Break It Down Into Steps
When confronted with an overwhelming challenge, break it down into actionable steps. Focus on the first step and the desired outcome, leading to the second step and it’s outcome, and so on. This approach allows you to test the waters without risking everything upfront. However, be cautious not to abandon an idea prematurely, as some endeavors may take time to gain traction and show results.
5. Envision Multiple Scenarios
The future is uncertain, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for it. Envision various scenarios, both favorable and unfavorable, to understand potential outcomes and associated risks. This foresight enables you to be proactive and make informed decisions based on the situation at hand.
6. Rely on Data to Objectify
Data is an invaluable asset in navigating uncertainty. Analyze what can be measured and what is tangible. While it may not be feasible to quantify everything, leveraging data can provide invaluable insights and clarity during critical decision-making processes.
7. Get It Out of Your Head
When grappling with complex challenges, avoid keeping everything confined to your thoughts. Talk it through with a trusted colleague, mentor, or even write it down. Hearing yourself or reading your thoughts aloud can shed new light on the quality of your thinking and uncover new perspectives.
8. Seek the Right Guidance
Consult with experienced individuals who have faced similar challenges. Remember, expertise is not solely measured by time, but also by the depth of learning from mistakes and experiences. Engaging in discussions with the right people can provide you with invaluable advice and insights to make more informed choices.
9. Embrace Decisiveness
In an uncertain world, decisive action is a game-changer. Embrace the unpredictability and recognize that taking a stance is essential. Choose a path, and once decided, act deliberately and boldly. Your courage and conviction will set you apart from competitors, enabling you to shape the market rather than reacting to it.
Embrace the chaos, and by doing so, you will not only survive but thrive, becoming a driving force in reshaping your industry and creating a brighter future for your business.
Building Meaningful Customer Relationships: The Key to Sustainable Success in Business
In today’s fast-paced and competitive business landscape, finding, winning, and holding onto customers is the lifeline of any successful venture. However, traditional approaches like door-to-door selling and social media bombardment have lost their charm, leaving businesses wondering about the next viable strategy. In this blog, we delve into the essence of what you are really selling when you make that initial customer call – is it a product, a solution, or a relationship?
Product Selling: Showing Up and Throwing Up Product selling is often characterized by the one-sided presentation of features and benefits. The focus is on pushing the product onto the customer, hoping that it will somehow meet their needs. However, in today’s market, customers are savvy and skeptical, and such tactics may leave them disinterested or turned off.
Solution Selling: Unveiling Benefits The approach of solution selling involves understanding the customer’s pain points and presenting the product as a solution to their specific problems. It’s about highlighting the benefits that the customer would gain by using the product. While better than product selling, it still lacks a personalized touch that resonates deeply with the customer.
Relationship Selling: The Power of Trust Building a relationship with the customer is the most effective and sustainable approach. It involves taking the time to know your audience, their needs, and the genesis of their challenges. When you build trust and familiarity, customers feel valued and understood, leading to genuine interest in engaging with your business.
The Foundation of Relationship-Selling Engagement
- Know Your Audience: Understand who your target customers are, what drives them, and what problems they face.
- Identify the Problem: Clearly define the issue your product or service solves. This is not just about the surface problem but digging deeper to grasp its roots.
- Empathize with the Customer’s Journey: Recognize how your potential customers search for solutions, learn about them, and set their expectations for the fulfilment process.
- Shift Cognitive Biases: Often, customers don’t know what they don’t know. Earning a relationship allows you to help them understand the value you bring.
Building Strong Customer Relationships: Points to Consider
- Be Fully Present: Avoid multitasking during interactions with customers. Give them your undivided attention.
- Listen Actively: Focus on hearing what the customer is saying rather than formulating your reply.
- Be Curious: Show genuine interest in learning more about your customers’ needs and challenges.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions: Encourage meaningful discussions by asking questions that require more than a simple “yes” or “no.”
- Let Conversations Flow Naturally: Avoid forced sales pitches and let ideas and stories unfold naturally.
- Inject Humor and Authenticity: Build rapport by using humor appropriately and being genuine.
- Admit When You Don’t Know: It’s okay not to have all the answers. Customers appreciate honesty.
- Follow Through on Commitments: Deliver on promises made to build trust and reliability.
- Organize Your Engagement: Provide structure to the conversation while allowing flexibility.
- Respect and Empathize: Treat every customer with respect and be sensitive to their unique circumstances.
- Avoid Judgments: Stay open-minded and refrain from making assumptions about your customers.
In the evolving world of business, the key to success lies in building meaningful relationships with customers. Understanding their needs, communicating authentically, and earning trust can make all the difference. So, as you make that initial call to a potential customer, remember that what you are selling is not just a product or a solution – it’s the beginning of a long-lasting relationship.
To listen to to the radio discussion
Elite Business: Be wary of false prophets and white knights as you scale and grow your business
In this article, first published in Elite Business, Pavlo Explores: Being wary of false prophets and white knights as you scale and grow your business
Exhausted, frustrated, driven business owners are vulnerable to false promises. We encounter various individuals claiming to have the solutions we seek, often leading us down costly paths. Let’s explore some of the most common pitfalls, look at how to avoid them, and design your business to scale and thrive.
One group to watch out for is software salespeople. We all have strengths and weaknesses when it comes to managing our businesses. Software solutions, like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, promise to address our management shortcomings. However, it is crucial to approach them with caution. Many providers offer comprehensive solutions, but purchase, customisation, and training costs can be significant.
Before investing, we must map out our commercial system that marries and matches how you have positioned your company to provide an exceptional customer experience. That blueprint should guide your ERP decision, not the limitations and capabilities of the software itself.
Another common pitfall is hiring team members based on their charisma and passion. We are all vulnerable to slick promises that we can see could fill gaps in our capabilities or business activities when hiring new employees.
To make informed decisions, precede your hire with a clearly defined job function. Beyond asking ChatGPT to spit one out for you, design it yourself, aligning it to your positioning. Any and every job should shape up into a system of activities, and all should integrate to create a single customer experience across and through your commercial system.
It enables you to recruit more effectively, capacitate faster and turn this significant investment into a return more deliberately.
Collaborations and deals with external parties can hold great promise but also carry risks. Many businesses have fallen victim to partnerships that did not deliver the expected results.
Be clear why you are doing it.
A recent study indicated that around 84% of mergers and acquisitions failed to yield the value that seemed to justify them in the first place. And when partnering with someone or an organisation, besides first assuring alignment and non-compete parameters, dig into the detail of who does what, why, when and how. Then, dig further before inking an agreement.
Selling a business is a significant milestone but often fails. Flattering statements and attractive numbers from potential acquirers may grab our attention. However, conducting thorough due diligence ensures buyers’ credibility and protects our years of hard work. It’s an obvious, bland statement, but do it! Arm yourself by mathematically understanding your business’s value and securing a body of evidence to back that up. To secure a clean exit, negotiation must be pragmatically informed, not emotively driven.
Family and friends
While well-intentioned, relying on family or friends to solve business challenges can lead to difficult situations. It becomes particularly challenging to part ways with underperforming relatives or friends.
It is crucial to separate personal relationships from business decisions. By maintaining a clear delineation between personal and professional spheres, we can make strategic choices based on merit and the best interests of our businesses.
Building and growing a business takes time and effort. By being aware of your vulnerabilities and these common pitfalls, you can save valuable resources and maximise your chances of success. Trust your instincts and stay resilient on your path to business growth. With a proactive growth mindset and a systems-based approach to building out your business, you can build your business into your greatest wealth-generating asset.
Elite Business: Choose the right type of growth at the right time or face the perils of chaos
In this article, first published in Elite Business, Pavlo Phitidis digs into strategies to achieve accelerated growth – how to get it right (and avoid getting it wrong).
Recently, I had the opportunity to meet a business employing 58 people, growing at a steady 18% annual compound growth rate. Given the smooth ride they enjoyed in achieving it, I asked why only 18%? Why not double it?
They confessed that they sought to accelerate this growth rate through an acquisition they were mulling over. The target was a smaller business in the same industry.
Whilst growth through acquisition has its place, it’s equally fraught. Globally, the stats suggest that around 86% of acquisitions fail to deliver the promised value. There are a host of reasons. I’ll share the few that changed their minds.
Paying too much
Once the acquiring leadership team gets excited about its potential, they will overvalue it. If the company being acquired can successfully feed the buyer’s imagination, they tend to become increasingly convinced that the acquisition will be a silver bullet that would double up their company value in a couple of years. Great for the company being acquired, but a few months into the acquisition, the buyers are usually less thrilled.
Mismatched customer base
Defining the business you are in should be about defining who your customer segments are, what problems your product or services solves for them, understanding how that problem comes about and the cost of that problem not being solved, and finally, understanding how that customer segment goes about solving that problem. It’s not uncomplicated!
For example, the company I met with recently refers to their customer segment as “SMEs”. The last time I looked, the companies that make up SMEs are widely, profoundly and deeply complex. Be it industry, size, age and capability of the owners, location, business model, sector trends and many other variables. A lazy or superficial definition of the customer segments you serve will create a torturous marketing and service fulfilment outcome that keeps you tightly knit in the daily-weekly-monthly operational activites of your business and collapse your productivity. Misaligned or misunderstood customer segments in acquisitions compound this trauma tenfold.
People are the heart of any business, and most stay at a company because of its culture. It is the glue that holds things together, especially in smaller businesses. How do you come to understand a company’s culture? If you rely on the values presented on the website or stencilled on the reception wall, you might find yourself in hot water. When two bodies of water with widely differing temperatures come together, they catalyse a thermocline, repelling each other. Mismatched cultures infamously poison the wellspring of most acquisitions.
Given the nature of this steadily growing business and its large span of control, which already had leadership too involved in operational activity, we opted to take another approach to double growth.
In 3 months, we created two management roles to release the time of the CEO to become an actual CEO rather than a general manager, the commercial director to become an actual commercial director instead of an operations manager and the head of business development to move out of operational sales into building a team. Today, we have ‘locked and loaded’ the company to eat their competitor’s lunch rather than buying it for them. Let doubling up growth begin!
Building an International Brand: Uniting Big and Small Businesses
In the dynamic landscape of business, building an international brand is a dream for many companies. The potential to see their products showcased on global shelves is within reach, but achieving this goal requires a collaborative effort between big and small businesses. In this blog, we explore the key elements that pave the path towards international success
Unforgiving Consistency – The Cornerstone of Quality:
To establish a brand that transcends borders, unwavering quality is paramount. Customers worldwide seek products they can rely on, and that reliability stems from unforgiving consistency. This means ensuring that every unit leaving your premises meets the highest standards, with no compromise.
Proof – Demonstrating Reliability and Viability:
The global market demands more than mere claims. To conquer international shelves, your products must offer tangible proof of their worth. From functionality to serviceability, from production to supply, your offerings must showcase their capabilities. Providing solid evidence of your product’s performance is what sets you apart from the competition.
Story – Captivating the World’s Imagination:
Amidst the clamour of countless products, stories have the power to captivate and connect. Most brands have a rich tapestry of narratives to tell, stories that resonate with diverse audiences. These stories breathe life into products, forging an emotional bond with consumers worldwide. Embrace the power of storytelling to rise above the noise and create a lasting impact.
Scale – Delivering Beyond Expectations:
Global retailers demand products they can count on – products that can be delivered at scale. Meeting this criterion is essential for gaining their trust and loyalty. Furthermore, financial stability is vital to fund operations and navigate potential stock outs. By demonstrating your capability to scale, you position yourself as a reliable partner for international retailers.
Investment – Dedication that Drives Success:
Building an international brand demands significant investment – not just financially, but also in terms of time, commitment, and passion. Business owners must be willing to invest their heart and soul into this endeavor. Only then can they weather the challenges and complexities that come with expanding on a global stage.
A Challenge for Big Retailers and Dedicated SMEs:
For both established retailers and ambitious SMEs, building an international brand is a collective challenge that can be overcome through collaboration. Here’s a five-step approach to help embark on this journey together:
- Identify Potential Categories:
Identify product categories where your local offerings have the potential to replace imported products. Focusing on these niches will increase your chances of success.
- Set Clear Objectives:
Define the quality, volume, promotion, and pricing specifications necessary to compete with existing imported products. Clarity in your objectives will guide your path forward.
- Seek Dedicated SMEs:
Reach out to ten passionate and dedicated SMEs that have the desire to step onto the international stage. Collaborate with these businesses to create a robust support system.
- Progressive Contracts:
Formulate five-year progressive contracts with these SMEs. These agreements will enable both parties to evolve and adapt to changing market demands.
- Uphold Service Level Agreements (SLAs):
Throughout this partnership, never compromise on Service Level Agreements (SLAs). High standards and consistent delivery are the pillars of success.
Building an international brand is a journey that begins at home. The partnership between big retailers and committed SMEs is the driving force behind achieving this vision. By embracing quality, providing undeniable proof, telling captivating stories, demonstrating scalability, and investing wholeheartedly, domestic businesses can rise above borders and shine on the global stage.
To listen to to the radio discussion click here
Fuelling Vibrancy in an Economy: Unleashing the Power of Competition, Innovation, Funding, and Talent
Discover the key drivers behind a vibrant economy as discussed on a recent Money Show insert with Pavlo Phitidis and Bruce Whitfield. This highlighted the crucial factors of competition, innovation, funding, and talent and their role in shaping economic landscapes. Here we delve into the main takeaways from the show, exploring how individuals and businesses can contribute to building a thriving economy.
Competition Drives Progress: Competition is the driving force behind growth and progress in any economy. When businesses compete, they are motivated to constantly improve their products and services. This healthy competition fosters innovation and encourages companies to develop groundbreaking ideas and solutions that address market needs.
Innovation and Funding for Success: Innovation is the lifeblood of success in today’s fast-paced business world. It requires adequate funding to thrive. Access to capital is essential for businesses of all sizes as it enables them to invest in research and development, upgrade infrastructure, and expand their operations. Adequate funding also plays a vital role in attracting and retaining top talent.
Talent as the Engine of Success: Talent is a critical driver of success for any enterprise. Skilled individuals with expertise and creativity propel businesses forward. Whether large corporations or small startups, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for driving innovation and achieving sustainable growth. Nurturing talent within an economy is vital for long-term prosperity.
Roles of Different-Sized Businesses:
Understanding the roles played by businesses of different sizes is key to fostering economic vibrancy.
- Large Corporations: Large corporations focus on distribution, leveraging their extensive networks to efficiently bring products and services to consumers. Their ability to reach a wide customer base and operate on a large scale drives economic growth and stability.
- Medium-Sized Businesses: Medium-sized businesses play a crucial role in new market development. Their agility and flexibility allow them to explore emerging markets, identify untapped opportunities, and pioneer innovative solutions. These businesses drive economic expansion by adapting to evolving market trends.
- Small Businesses: Small businesses contribute to the economy through innovation at the edges. They bring fresh ideas, niche products, and specialized services to the market. Their ability to swiftly adapt and experiment fosters diversity and resilience within the business ecosystem. Small businesses often serve as incubators for innovative concepts that can eventually scale up and benefit the broader economy. Building an Economy: Key Insights: The radio show provided valuable insights on building a robust economy. Here are some key takeaways:
- Take initiative and don’t wait for external forces to improve your circumstances. Start pursuing your entrepreneurial ambitions now
- Medium-sized businesses are the bridge from the large to small enterprises. They can maintain their agility by embracing smart strategies and leveraging contracting and consulting opportunities.
- Set a single destination and adopt a focused approach to navigate challenges and seize opportunities. Learn from past experiences, take ownership of decisions, and leverage acquired knowledge.
- Uphold ethical practices, avoid theft, late payments, and animosity towards competitors. Foster collaboration and continuous learning as part of a healthy business environment.
To listen to the full discussion from the show:
Unleashing Scalability: Driving Sustainable Business Growth
Scalability is not the same as growth. Scalability proceeds growth as it is the process of preparing the business to handle increased workload and customer demands without compromising performance or incurring excessive costs.
One of the best indicators of a scalable business is to see if they grow not only revenue, but profitability too, as their costs don’t rise in tandem with their revenue increase.
To listen to the full discussion from the show:
Building While You Fly: Achieving Sustainable Growth for Your Business
Introduction: Building a successful business is akin to our personal development journey. Just as we evolve from infancy to adulthood, our businesses must also adapt and grow to support their expanding needs. Relying on the same foundation that launched your business may hinder its potential for growth. To avoid adverse outcomes such as being trapped in the day-to-day operations, losing customers, team members, and suppliers, and stagnant growth, it is crucial to embrace the concept of building while you fly. In other words, as your business takes off, you must continuously improve and upgrade your infrastructure to soar higher and achieve sustainable growth.
- Evolving with the Right Chassis: Similar to our musculoskeletal system adapting to support our growth, your business needs a strong foundation that can accommodate its expanding size and ambitions. The chassis that served you well during the initial stages may not be suitable for long-term growth. By recognizing the need for a more robust infrastructure, you can build it out to operate independently of you and thrive beyond your individual efforts.
- Escaping the Life of Firefighting: Failing to build while you fly often leaves you in a never-ending cycle of firefighting. You find yourself constantly addressing urgent issues, unable to focus on strategic growth initiatives. By investing time and resources into building a solid foundation, you can release yourself from the daily operational challenges and gain the freedom to concentrate on driving your business forward.
- Safeguarding Customers, Teams, and Suppliers: If you don’t evolve your business, it can have detrimental effects on your relationships with customers, team members, and suppliers. As your competitors adapt to changing market demands, you risk losing customers who seek innovative solutions elsewhere. Additionally, without a scalable infrastructure, your team may become overwhelmed, leading to disengagement or turnover. Suppliers, too, may be hesitant to collaborate if they perceive your business as stagnant. Building while you fly ensures that you retain these crucial stakeholders and foster long-term relationships based on growth and mutual success.
- Embracing a Virtuous Cycle of Growth: Stagnant growth can create a negative feedback loop, draining your business of vitality and potential. On the other hand, building while you fly establishes a virtuous cycle of growth and confidence. By consistently investing in your business and upgrading its capabilities, you attract the right opportunities and talent, further fuelling your growth trajectory. This cycle fosters an environment of continuous improvement and optimism, empowering your business to reach new heights.
- The 9-5 Operation and 5-9 Investment: To successfully build while you fly, it is essential to strike a balance between day-to-day operations and investing in future growth. The traditional 9-5 work schedule may fulfil immediate responsibilities, but dedicating the 5-9 time slot to strategic planning, skill development, and innovation is equally crucial. By allocating time outside regular working hours to invest in your business, you can unlock numerous benefits.
Benefits of Building While You Fly:
Sustained Passion: By embracing the mindset of building while you fly, you remain enthusiastic about your business, constantly discovering new facets of yourself, your industry, and its potential.
Increased Efficiency: Investing time in growth-oriented activities allows you to optimize processes, improve productivity, and streamline operations, resulting in time saved that can be redirected toward expansion.
Competitive Advantage: Remaining proactive and forward-thinking positions your business on the front foot, ready to seize opportunities and adapt to industry shifts, enabling you to attract the right collaborators and stay ahead of the competition.
Sustainable Growth: Building while you fly propels your business toward sustained growth and success, as you continuously upgrade your infrastructure, attract new customers, nurture your team, and forge stronger partnerships. Building while you fly is a critical concept for achieving sustainable growth in your business. By acknowledging the need for ongoing evolution, you can avoid stagnation and unlock your business’s full potential. Escaping the life of firefighting, safeguarding valuable relationships, and fostering a cycle of growth and confidence are the rewards of investing time and resources into upgrading your infrastructure. Embrace the 9-5 operation and 5-9 investment approach, and you will witness your business soar to new heights, driven by continuous improvement and a passion for progress.
To listen to the full discussion from the show:
How you position your business determines your ability to grow.
Pavlo recently had a valuable conversation that highlighted the common challenges faced by many business owners. One crucial aspect that determines the effectiveness of your business in terms of competition, scalability, growth, and industry dominance is how you position it.
Here’s the context: the business in question deals with second-generation door and window frames, and it has been operating for three generations. The owners have been blindly loyal to their suppliers, but they are experiencing a decrease in customer loyalty. Additionally, they are grappling with an aging workforce and the absence of apprenticeships and artisanal skill development.
The business has hit a growth ceiling, and what makes matters more pressing is the fact that the average age of competitors across the industry is approaching 61. This poses a challenge as the business needs to grow to combat inflation and secure retirement and pensions for the third generation, who are constantly uncertain about the future.
The owners are aware of what needs to be done to foster growth, but they find themselves lacking the time to dedicate to it. Their daily, weekly, and monthly operations are the center of their attention.
To overcome these challenges, the resolution lies in repositioning the business. The following steps should be taken:
- Position: Clearly define the business and its core focus. Determine precisely who you serve, and what experience you provide in delivering your solution to them.
- Build a system of delivery that codifies every action and step that enables that delivery, consistently.
- Do it with your team: Acknowledging that growth cannot be achieved alone, they engaged their team in the decision-making process. By leveraging collective knowledge and expertise, they instilled a sense of ownership and commitment, inspiring everyone to work towards a shared goal.
- Release your time: Recognizing the value of the business owner’s time, they delegated and automated tasks that could be handled by others. This freed up time for the owner to focus on growth strategies, explore new opportunities, and build connections with industry leaders.
As the business owner, you need to ask yourself, “What is your job”? In our door and window frame company example, the business owners shifted from being immersed in daily operations to becoming leaders. Guiding and inspiring the team towards achieving growth objectives became their primary focus. To get this right, take a leaf out of their playbook:
- Start: What business are you in? Revisiting their core purpose, they identified the specific niche within the door and window frame industry where they aimed to excel. This allowed them to differentiate themselves and concentrate efforts on areas with the greatest growth potential.
- Build – create a chassis to support growth: By decoding what they did and how, they established a solid foundation to develop apprenticeships and skill development initiatives to attract and nurture new talent, ensuring a sustainable workforce for the future.
- Grow and lead it: The business owner took the lead as the driving force behind the company’s growth. Actively seeking expansion opportunities, exploring strategic partnerships, and embracing innovation became their mantra to stay ahead of the competition.
- Sell and package it: Understanding the value of their business, and with a system and team in place that showed potential buyers the sustainability and growth trajectory, the owners have built the business into an asset that functions without them in it, and thus can be succeeded or sold.
Positioning your business effectively is crucial for competition, growth, and industry dominance. The experiences and challenges faced by this door and window frame company underscore the significance of strategic decision-making, fostering a growth-oriented culture, and adapting to changing market dynamics.
To listen to the full discussion from the show:
Elite Business: If your business is not growing, it’s dying!
In this article, first published in Elite Business, Pavlo Explores: Crafting a Strategic Growth Plan for Success in Today’s Economy.
Is your growth plan actually no plan at all? Or is it to sustain your value – neither is enough in this economy.
The Ukraine invasion, global supply chains, chip wars, trade ‘wars’, COVID hangovers, access to skills and grumpiness have heavily impacted our economy. Add inflation to a grumpy mood, and you, not the state of the economy, will kill your business if you allow it.
Let’s prevent that!
Plan to plan, but no plan yet.
If you are stuck here, you will develop an irreversible aversion to risk and a mindset that only sees risk and reasons not to act. A year back, I met the owner of a second-generation family business in the construction sector. He enjoyed a reliable £13m annual revenue, up and down a few percent for the decade preceding covid. Since then he has wanted to regain his revenues and dividend flows. Still, it remains talk, unable to commit to building a growth plan. Perhaps a decade of comfort atrophied the muscles needed to act amid his competitors enjoying record growth over the last 3 years.
Should this be you, sell your business before its value erodes further or act now. Here are two options.
Act to sustain your value.
In February, I met the owners of a once beautiful £21m revenue business. In response to the strain of their overheads bearing down on them, both partners dove back into operational sales. Spinning rolodexes, bouncing between their digital platforms, CRM and debtors book helped find, win and hold customers. It’s an exhausting and chaotic strategy, and they are reclaiming their £21m.
It’s not sustainable, and it’s not enough.
To maintain their 2019 value, they need growth to meet the corrosive elements of business value. They include:
Inflation – at 10,1% in March, robust inflation is likely to overstay its unwelcome visit. As business owners, we should look to open our upside and protect the downside so let’s expect the promised 2% target to arrive only three years from now.
Currency – our currency’s value is driven by relative inflation and belief. Technically, the gap between our inflation rate and that of our peers drives the relative depreciation of our currency. This gap runs around 4% at the moment. It is then either depreciated or compounded by the belief and trust in Britain’s ability to grow and attract investment.
Industry Growth Rate – Industry growth rates are, at best relative and as speculative as any revenue forecast a business owner presents to investors. Many factors weigh in on this number. For the benefit of a simple calculation, let’s assume that your industry is expected to grow at 2%.
Adding up the numbers, to maintain the value of their company, they need to grow their £21m by 16,1%.
After running these numbers, the mad flurry of activity undertaken by the founders paused. They boldly and purposefully replaced it with the following plan.
Plan to scale, grow and dominate segments in your industry
While 16.1% feels like a considerable number, scaling, growing, and dominating a few segments in your industry needs more. At least add another 3-5% to boldly set your year-on-year growth at a minimum of 20-23%.
A tough economy rewards companies that respond on the front foot ahead of the changed lived reality that their customers and clients face.
Start by revisiting which customer segments you wish to dominate and reset your product-market fit to meet the new experiences demanded by these customers. Next, articulate these experiences into your commercial activities, processes and systems. Done with your team, not alone, helps create accountability and enables effective delegation.
The result will be a simple, relevant, crisp strategy defined against a well-defined market segment. It will be a commercial system honed to service that market, empowered and led by a purposeful team. It will generate organic growth and resuscitate the value and dividend stream you once enjoyed. Valuably, it will release your time to lead the 20-30% that this economy offers.
Yup, I know, I said 20%. However, done this way, 30% year-on-year growth is likely, so why not!