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Crafting a Path to Success with Objective-driven Strategies

Crafting a Path to Success with Objective-driven Strategies

In the realm of business, success doesn’t just happen by chance. It’s a result of careful planning, strategic decision-making, and effective implementation. Just like tuning a radio to the right frequency, aligning your objectives, strategies, tactics, and implementation is crucial for achieving your desired outcomes. Let’s explore how these elements work together to create a roadmap for success.

Objective: Intent, Investment, and Asset Building

At the heart of every successful venture lies a clear objective. It’s not just about making money or creating a product; it’s about understanding your intent, investing wisely, and building an asset that stands the test of time. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or a seasoned business owner, defining your objective is the first step towards realising your vision. Are you aiming to secure a return on investment? Are you looking to build an asset that generates long-term value? Understanding your objective sets the foundation for all your future endeavours.

Strategy: Purpose-driven Solutions

With your objective in mind, it’s time to chart your course with a clear strategy. Rather than chasing trends or following the crowd, focus on solving a problem for your customers. Be a builder, not just a seller. Your strategy should reflect your purpose and differentiate you from the competition. Whether it’s through innovation, exceptional service, or niche targeting, your strategy should pave the way for sustainable growth and customer loyalty.

Tactics: Executing with Precision

Now that you have a strategy in place, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Tactics are the nuts and bolts of your operation – the specific actions and initiatives that will bring your strategy to life. Position yourself to distinguish your brand, develop a system of delivery to enable seamless operations, build a purposeful team to empower your workforce, focus on growth to dominate your market, and create value to remove dependencies. The operator’s job is to execute these tactics with precision and efficiency.

Implementation: Leadership and Collaboration

Implementing your tactics requires strong leadership and effective collaboration. Identify team leaders who can optimise processes, integrate efforts across departments, delegate responsibilities, and inspire others to achieve their best. As a leader, your role is to provide guidance, support, and direction, ensuring that everyone is aligned with the overarching objective. By fostering a culture of accountability and teamwork, you can turn your strategies into tangible results.

Single-Simple-Scalable: The Key to Success

In the complex world of business, simplicity is often underrated. But as the saying goes, “keep it simple, stupid.” By focusing on a single objective, crafting simple yet effective strategies, and executing with precision, you can build a scalable business that stands the test of time. Whether you’re a start-up or a multinational corporation, the key to success lies in clarity, focus, and relentless execution.

Success in business is not a matter of luck – it’s a matter of strategy and execution. By aligning your objectives, strategies, tactics, and implementation, you can create a clear path to success and achieve your goals.


Business endurance lessons from Nyad

In the dynamic landscape of business, the ability to navigate challenges and uncertainties is paramount for success. As we step into 2024, a year filled with global elections, geopolitical tensions, and economic complexities, the need for strategic planning and purpose-driven leadership is more critical than ever. Drawing inspiration from an unexpected source, Pavlo Phitidis shares his thoughts on how the world of business can glean valuable lessons from the extraordinary journey of Diana Nyad, a world record holding long distance swimmer.

Setting the Destination:

In a recent discussion on “The Money Show,” Pavlo & Bruce Whitfield, shared insights into the challenges and opportunities awaiting in 2024. Recognizing the turbulent waters ahead, Pavlo turned to a surprising source for inspiration – a movie called “Nyad.” The film follows Diana Nyad’s quest to swim from Cuba to Florida, a 100-mile journey through shark-infested waters and unpredictable conditions.

Nyad’s journey became a metaphor for setting a destination in the business world. As Pavlo noted, “Without a destination, you’re going to be swimming in circles.” In the context of business, having a clear vision and purpose is essential to guide strategic decisions and overcome obstacles.

Lessons from Nyad’s Journey:

Diana Nyad’s determination and resilience offer profound insights for business owners facing challenges. Her journey wasn’t just about conquering a physical feat; it was driven by a deep purpose to achieve something remarkable. A key takeaway from the movie is the importance of defining a destination and building a team around that shared goal.

Pavlo emphasizes, “Destination matters.” Without a clear vision, businesses risk swimming aimlessly, unable to attract the right talent and resources. The parallel drawn between Nyad’s swim and business ownership highlights the significance of planning, teamwork, and unwavering commitment.

Team Collaboration: Nyad’s success wasn’t a solo effort. Behind her remarkable achievement were a coach, a navigator, a nutritionist, and a team dedicated to her vision. In the business world, Pavlo draws parallels to successful entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs. Each of them began with a vision, assembling teams that shared their passion and commitment.

Dealing with Failure: The conversation delves into the fear of failure, acknowledging that failure is often seen as a black mark. However, the lesson from Nyad’s journey and the experiences of renowned inventors like Thomas Edison is that persistence and relentless pursuit of a goal lead to success.

Purpose Beyond Fame: One notable aspect of Nyad’s story is her pursuit of a greater purpose beyond fame or fortune. As Phitidis observes, “Diana Nyad never did what she did to be famous.” This echoes the idea that a business should be driven by a purpose that goes beyond financial success, leaving a lasting impact on the world.

As we navigate the business obsctacles of 2024, the lessons from Diana Nyad’s extraordinary swim resonate deeply. Setting a destination, building a committed team, embracing failure as part of the journey, and finding purpose beyond personal gain are crucial elements for enduring success in the business world. Let Nyad’s journey inspire business leaders, to swim with purpose and resilience, overcoming challenges to reach their desired destinations.

Elite Business: The six phases of business leadership to deliver your legacy

Elite Business: The six phases of business leadership to deliver your legacy

In this article, originally featured in Elite Business: To create wealth as a business owner, you need to change how and what you lead over time.

Wealth creation is a strategy, not luck. As a business owner, embracing change is vital to remain relevant, grow, and win in a noisy and competitive market. It’s essential to wealth creation.

Across your lifespan as a business owner, how you lead your business determines your wealth creation outcome. As your company grows, how you lead and direct it must change to ensure it becomes your greatest wealth-generating asset. 

Using a framework against which to know when and how to change the way you lead a business is helpful. I’ve noticed six distinct shifts in leadership attention and direction that enable the likelihood that your business and career generate wealth and a legacy.

Positioning growth leadership

This is about understanding what business you are in defined not by your product or service but by who you serve, what problem your product or service solves for them and what the ideal engagement experience would be to favour your business above competitors. When you start, it’s about serving anyone and everyone in your industry. It ends when you can prioritise less than a handful of segments you want to dominate in the future. This engagement experience includes how to market, sell, fulfill and retain your customers and forms the blueprint of your business model.

Organic growth leadership

Once we know what business we are in and who our customer segments are, the next phase of leadership centres on scaling your customer engagement and fulfilment system using the blueprint. Put differently, it is about building commercial processes and systems, which you can delegate to a team that will create a reliable, consistent customer experience. Getting this right is vital to release your time from daily operations to deliver the next phase of leadership growth.

Accelerated growth leadership

At this point, at least 70% of your attention should focus on accelerating your growth to dominate your segments by deepening your market share of the segments you have chosen to dominate. For example, if a furniture manufacturer decides to dominate the SOHO segment, calculate its approximate value and ensure you develop and enable market access strategies, campaigns and relationships that deepen your market share.

Next-level growth leadership

As you deepen your share of the segment you’ve defined your business against, the next phase of leadership is about de-risking your exposure to that segment and deepening your profitability. In my book, Sweat-Scale-Sell, I highlight the trickiness of this phase of leadership through the story of Jack the Baker. 

Having positioned his business to solve the requirement of 365-fresh-baked-goods for continental breakfast to hotels, he created the ideal experience with his team to dominate this segment in the hospitality industry. His next-level growth play saw him translate the same proposition into the supermarket segment across food retail to solve the problem of morning trade. 

It brought in a new source of revenue that could be serviced off his scalable fulfilment platform, necessitating only a moderate cost increase. The “yawn” between revenue and costs dropped down to the bottom line and a significant shift in profitability. The key to next-level growth is that leveraging your fulfilment platform solves the same problem. It was and remains the blueprint against which his brand, commercial system and team had become expert at delivering. 

Capital growth leadership

This phase ensures you lock in your business value for a successful capital exit. From start to exit, over a 20–30-year period, a business built and led against the above framework should achieve a capital exit above £50m. 

Yes, it is possible, and you can do it. I’ve seen this year in and out across the UK, USA and EU companies. Retiring in the sun by the sea is for the birds, bringing us to the final phase of leadership.  

Legacy growth leadership

The opportunity to create a Family Office to house the capital gained from an exit is worth considering. Set aside a portion of the funds within your Family Office to invest in a few early-stage companies within the industry in which you have successfully built your now-former business. You will have the network and relationships to spot young winners who benefit from your knowledge, insight, relationships, and mentorship. Investing in them can keep you in the game at a strategic level, not a daily grind, and allow you to remain relevant and enjoy a life of purpose and meaning. 

Wealth has three elements: Make money, the first 2 phases; Grow money – the subsequent 2 phases. And Protect money, the last 2 phases. Having a plan to make it happen is as important as enacting it. It will set you apart from the 94.6% of businesses started that ultimately close. It will also let you continue serving humankind, arguably a key to a rich, fulfilling and contended life.

There is more foam in the AI coffee than actual coffee right now

Elite Business: There is more foam in the AI coffee than actual coffee right now

In this article, originally featured in Elite Business, Pavlo Phitidis explores the notion that while AI may not propel your business growth in the immediate future, grasping its potential value and applications is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge.

Recently, I grabbed a to-go coffee between meetings. As the coffee arrived, I tapped and left. It felt light, given the size of the cup. I lifted the lid and stared into the foamy abyss. Using the wooden stirring stick as a dipstick, I realised my large coffee was 70% foam!

It’s much like the current hype about AI.

If the job of a coffee is to have the caffeine keep you racy, pacy and alert, why the big cup if it is 70% foam? We buy with our eyes, and the psychological economics of different cup sizes and price points makes for smart retailing. 

The same triggers in our brain that let us buy with our eyes activate around the AI hype feeding hope and fear. And the world of AI did a great job of it with the introduction of ChatGPT earlier this year. And that is where it feels like it has stayed.

In response to the impact of ChatGPT, we sprang into action and spoke to our teams. The message was clear. You’re fired if you ever approach me with a question that ChatGPT could answer. However, if you ever come forward with an answer that ChatGPT provided and that you could not explain or argue, you’re equally fired. Two juxtaposed positions are dramatised for impact but point to a simple, clear message. Get with it on tech, or you are no longer relevant in the world of future commerce, and that future is now.

Mindset matters, and adopting the right one to technology is essential to stay relevant and solvent. But mindset on tech is not enough to use it effectively and profitably.

Over the last 6 months since ChatGPT sprung into the market, we’ve reviewed multiple AI solutions or strategies proposed by clients across most industries. By far, most have been theoretical in value or moribund in reality. I write from the position of established mid-sized businesses with annual revenues between £5m-£75m.

Theoretical in value

Be it the hype, noise and thousands of AI hack infographics on LinkedIn; videos on YouTube and articles in the digisphere, the world of possibility is interesting but not practical. From taking jobs, doing jobs, and creating new jobs, what started fast has slowed as quickly. Bringing real productivity gains into your business without losing a distinctive personality remains a hope and dream rather than an accessible, practical reality. Building AI is hard and expensive, monetising it across a broad landscape through SaaS offerings and overcrowded app stores is harder. 

Moribund in reality

Already, ChatGPT feels like it’s entering this categorisation. Has it become dumber? The quality of answers it offers on mostly similar questions I asked over the last 6 months has waned. It has left me wondering if a suite of privacy interventions has compromised its ability to generate more meaningful and robust answers. Even prompt engineering hardly distinguishes one answer from the next. Across marketing, content generation seems to have peaked already, with little or no impact on the cost and investment in time and money to use the ocean of AI options.

A profitable reality

Across more than 3,000 companies, we see an approach, rather than a neat AI app, win the day on digitisation and AI solutions. However, it’s not about a hack or infographic on bringing AI into your business profitably. Like most successful acts in business, it goes down to the basic principles of what informs your action in building your business and step-by-step patient work.

First, know what business you are in. It has nothing to do with your product or service whose sole job is to solve a problem for your customer. It is all about who that customer is. Broad definitions of customers harm your ability to get this crisp and clear. Narrow definitions of customer are notoriously hard to get right. Yet, they are the blueprint against which your business should be defined, built and shaped.

Second, articulate your commercial activities, processes and procedures using this blueprint. How they are designed and implemented must be determined by that blueprint. The smart way to do this is with your team. Their involvement will create ownership and accountability as well as measured outcomes.

Finally, these activities hold the key to digitisation and AI adoption. Whether across marketing, sales, fulfilment, administration or procurement, inefficiencies and dull processing requirements are the first areas that lend to digitisation. Try it with your functional teams. Ask what is the most tedious part of their job and start there. Take that activity and see how it can be digitised using off-the-shelf or native software. 

Don’t put the horse before the cart.

What is critical in this process is that you start at the beginning and define your business. For example, adopting software to digitise a marketing or sales process not designed and characterised by your customer segment’s behaviour creates a generic experience. Perhaps we no longer respond to canned marketing emails or automated sales engagements. If you start with the software, you will build what everyone else already has because they use software to create structure and systems, not the lived experience of the people in the organisations that engage and buy answers to problems. 

AI is exciting. We have baked it into our platform across 3 areas. It’s working okay. Each week, it gets better as we learn its limitations and potential. Adopting technology is a vital act of leadership. Leading it, adapting it and recognising that it does not hold all the answers but will hold many opportunities is a critical mindset.

Embracing Relentless Uncertainty: A Business Owner’s Guide to Thriving in Chaos

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.

What is business experience and how can you value it?

Experience holds much promise. When you want to grow, experience can accelerate it. When you are facing challenges that overwhelm you, experience can solve it.

What does experience look like?

Grey hair, time in the game, a fancy car, connections and networks, a string of degrees, Harvard, titles and the list goes on. Is that the experience you want?

Onboarding experience into your business to grow or solve problems is valuable only if you get it right. It will otherwise be a costly mistake.

Listen to this podcast from The Money Show where Pavlo Phitidis breaks down what elements of experience you need to look for, to achieve clear outcomes.

How do you evaluate experience?

Time – Does someone who’s been in business for 20 years have more relevant experience than someone who has been in business for 5 years? Think of driving to understand the value of time.  When you first learn to drive, there’s a massive, steep learning curve and within a few months, you quickly get the hang of it! Since then, how much have you improved your driving? Sometimes we don’t even remember driving to the shop – it’s automatic. And would you like to be driven to the shops by your 95 year old grandpa? No, even though he has 80 years of driving experience, it doesn’t make him a better driver.

But think of Lewis Hamilton, who spends every single day working on his driving. He’s got far fewer years in the driving seat but his constant attention to it sees him improve every day.

Context – Does the experience come from government, corporate, university or the school of hard knocks and is that relevant to your business?

Position – Chairman, CEO, CMO and everything else, what does their experience actually look like, what do you need them to achieve.

Function – Strategy, sales, ops or admin – where is your biggest need?

Activity – Were they alone, in a team, led by the team or leading the team, saying or doing?

Outcome – How is success and failure communicated, evidenced and truthfully expressed

How do you value it?

Onboarding experience should be preceded by need.

A need to grow – remember if you are not growing you are dying.

A need to solve challenges – some come from complacency, others come from growth.

Define what the problem or opportunity is. This means give it context, description, shape, and form and ultimately a measured outcome. Hire the right experience to deliver on that, and value it at the resolution of opportunity or solution to the problem.

If you are not seeking the outcome of experience in your business, it might be time to question your ambitions or purpose. Nobody knows it all and wisdom, the sum of insight and foresight, will never leave a growth mindset comfortable or complacent on status quo. It can always be better. You can always be better. If that’s the case, why not be better. Experience, well placed, can constantly close that never closed gap at being the best you can be!

funding for growth

Growth funding – debt, equity, or both?

Not all business growth needs funding.

There are two types of growth: organic growth and next-level growth. Listen to this podcast from The Money Show where Pavlo Phitidis unpacks both, and what the funding options are for each. 



Organic growth sees your growth emerge along with the business’s ability to support it. Your organic growth rates will be governed by your working capital cycle, team, and equipment capacity and then outside influences like the country’s growth rates and economic cycles. See this as a marathon that requires a consistent, predictable pace to finish the race. 

Next-level growth relies on you going beyond your weekly, monthly activities and requires trailblazing and a very deliberate, focused effort. Think of entering a new market, acquiring new assets or teams, developing new products or innovations, or even acquiring a competitor or aligned business. See this as a sprint within the marathon to get ahead quicker and faster than the rest of your former best time. 

As you put more effort into growth, you need more oxygen or fuel to feed the increased activity. Accessing this funding is vital and failing to do so fails your effort of next-level growth. 


Where do I go first for funding? 

Depending on your life stage and stage of business. The further you are from retirement, the more risks you can take. A more mature and established business means your funding will be cheaper.  

A younger business and owner may start by looking to banks for debt and likely fail. Next will be an external funder called an angel funder, who will look to take equity against a loan provided, or a pure equity stake as an early-stage investor. This means they become a shareholder and earn a seat in your future and direction. It is a marriage of sorts.  

At a later stage, business owner and business can turn to banks for debt funding and likely succeed. A loan is granted and requires capital and interest payments to be made until it is settled and repaid in full. It will mostly be granted against the security of an asset. 


When is debt best and how do I get the deal done right? 

Debt is best and cheapest in all cases of organic growth. If you tick up the growth rates in your business, debt is still best. The reason is that you remain in full control of your business – this might be a good or bad thing! Nonetheless, it’s an easier source of funding to understand, evaluate and calculate, keeping things simpler for you.  

But, it is unlikely to be granted in any meaningful amount unless underpinned by an asset.  

Your business assets – plant, equipment, debtors, stock, investments – all act to cover the risk of the debt being provided by the funder. Earlier stage businesses will require higher risk cover than later stage businesses because they face a less predictable future. If you need funding to support your businesses growth and uptick using non-material assets like salaries, technology, marketing, and so on, you might get some through overdraft (costly), but it’s unlikely since there is no security against that spend. You can look elsewhere to get that funded, but it’s messy and complicated.  

When raising debt, be sure to understand the cash flow implications. The next month you’ll be required to pay back the debt! Payments include principal capital amounts as well as interest on the debt.  

Suppose your funding is an investment that will take time to yield an increase in revenue or profit to settle that debt. In that case, you need to negotiate a moratorium on capital or interest or both. This acts as a holiday on the payments you owe for a specified period but increases the debt’s accumulated value, which still accrues interest. 


When is equity best, and how do I get the deal done right? 

If you are ready to sprint, you need growth funding. Again, your first option should be from your coffers, followed on by debt if the amount is not too big, and you can manage the payments you’d need to make to the debt provider.  

Alternatively, and most likely, if it’s a big sprint, you’d need to raise equity. The process begins with finding the right funder. More than money to invest, they should bring skills, relationships, understanding, and other benefits to help you attain your next-level growth ambitions. This would make them a strategic funder. If all they offer is money, they are simply a funding provider. This matters because the pricing of the equity will differ between the two options.  

A strategic funder can get you where you want to be faster, safer, more reliably, and more efficiently. They can probably also get you there bigger. They will price it all into the cost of the equity. In addition, equity funders will also want a clear, obvious exit strategy.  

Their business is about investing an amount of money with the intention to get out of your business in the future with more than they invested. How they extricate themselves from your business will be a key concern for them and you need to be able to convince them accordingly.  

Equity is good to fund your business once you have exhausted your debt options and it stretches across all your growth assets, tangible, or intangible. It’s hard to raise, takes a massive amount of time and tests your intention behind why you do what you do. Seldom do we have time to think ahead into the future – equity. 

The way we build businesses, and the way companies must be built to secure the right funding at the right time differs. Often, we bemoan the funders, blame others, and claim there is no funding in the market when we fail at securing it.  

There is more money to fund business growth than there are businesses worthy of funding. Knowing that and adopting an Asset of Value™ growth approach will locate you in the heart of a deep oxygen pool to fuel your greatest ambitions.