This Week@Work Pavlo is more disillusioned than ever with digital marketing. It’s increasingly a game where you pay to play, and the only ones who seem to win are those with the deepest pockets, and the platforms themselves. What alternatives do we have to woo customers? Could the answer lie in getting to know them better?
Tag: Reset rebuild reignite
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.
This Week@Work, purpose is paramount. Pavlo visited a successful tea company who now proudly display their original tea sorter (a DIY modified cement mixer!) in their reception area to remind the business about their heritage. In tough times, go back to what you’ve been through and come through to motivate you to get through now, and focus on what needs to come next.
Once your business has achieved a ceiling of performance, your time and attention determine your future success. Habits formed whilst building your company will fail its future growth and value.
This Week@Work, purpose is paramount. I visited a successful tea company who now proudly display their original tea sorter (a DIY modified cement mixer!) in their reception area to remind the business about their heritage. In tough times, go back to what you’ve been through and come through to motivate you to get through now, and focus on what needs to come next.
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:
Business Leader: Inspiration from an onion – Reset and rebuild your business model to reignite growth
In this article, first published in Business Leader, Pavlo shares a simple tool – the onion – to think about your business, and identify your strategic focus.
Our inflationary, high-interest rate and low-growth economy will see companies with high overheads struggle to maintain the performance demanded by shareholders and executive bonus calculations.
As inflation and interest rates shrink local market value, access to established and new markets offer growth alternatives. Additionally, resetting and rebuilding a business model to increase productivity and performance will become a strategic imperative.
Expect mounting challenges accessing foreign markets. Brexit increased expenses and obstacles to trade with our closest £300 billion market. The array of ratified trade agreements might offer alternatives, such as the recently trumpeted CPTPP trade agreement which is worth a theoretical £37bn. Our challenges will be many. Our strengthening currency, significant differences in labour costs, and rapidly closing gaps in digitisation and technology competitiveness all weigh in. For products, add the cost of inputs and transport, set to increase further as we comply with our laudable commitments to Net Zero and other climate-friendly policies and regulations. All add to the cost of doing business, making our products less affordable than alternatives. For instance, imagine the cost of competing with a chocolate manufacturer in Chile or Malaysia, where our labour and transport costs are higher, before factoring in compliance with legislation and policy.
To overcome these challenges, we must increase productivity significantly. And since 2008, we have struggled to get this right! It can and will be done by those leaders intent on preserving their company value and remaining steadfast in growth despite all our economic ailments.
One way to get this right is to take a lesson from the simplest of vegetables: the onion.
Reset and rebuild your business model to reignite growth
An onion has three layers – the sweet inner; tangy middle; and outer protective skin. Applying this metaphor to your company offers up many opportunities.
Your inner layer is about understanding what is core and strategic to your survival, growth, and domination. You must own, deepen and protect these elements. Your middle layer includes everything non-core but strategic to the business. Outsource these elements to reliable partners on medium-term contracts. Your outer layer comprises everything non-core and non-strategic, where products or services are commoditised, and price wins the deal.
We recently used the onion to reset and rebuild a business intelligence company we work with. At its inner core, it must excel in analytics, interpretation, design, and presentation. It must own its software and skills in analysis and presentation. Its middle layer requires hardware, connectivity, and brand and marketing service providers. They are strategic but non-core to success. We established medium-term partnerships with providers whose services are their core strategic foci and intent. Their outer layer includes stationery, accommodation, refreshments, and other non-core, non-strategic products and services.
Today, they enjoy several benefits. A honed, simplified understanding of what matters most to grow and dominate their industry increased their productivity and market responsiveness. It has also allowed leadership to spend almost 70% of their time leading growth instead of managing operations. The company’s newfound growth has come increasingly from big and corporate clients. Out of necessity, these corporates have had to equally tighten their foci and shed costs by outsourcing previously insourced services such as business intelligence.
As business leaders, our company growth will increasingly come from excelling at how we position, win and lock in our services as middle-layer onion specialists.
This week@work Pavlo met with a frustrated, established business owner who is looking to sell his business in the next 5 years. As part of his exit strategy he ramped up revenues to appeal to a buyer, but his success has put him squarely in ‘No Man’s Land’: Too big for private buyers to afford and too small for listed entities to be interested in.
It’s another warning to start with the end in mind so you can build your business for the right buyer.
This Week@Work, Pavlo was reminded of the necessity to reset, rebuild, and reignite your business annually as a practice to ensure it’s relevant, optimised, and set for growth. Don’t get caught with your pants down because of comfort, complacency, boredom, or exhaustion. You’ve worked hard to create the value you have; be sure to vigilantly nurture it!
Late payments are a menace to businesses, innovation, industries, the economy, and society as a whole.
Firstly, late payments have a significant impact on businesses, affecting their cash flow, which is akin to suffocating the business. It affects confidence both from your suppliers and your staff who will start looking around if you can’t pay them. This is compounded by increased costs of finance and expensive short-term loans, which can cause a ripple effect on the business and its stakeholders, even leading to bankruptcy in some cases.
Secondly, the economy as a whole is impacted by late payments. Unstable employment leads to mental health issues, businesses closing their doors has a huge ripple effect on their suppliers and the value chain they sat in. It can also affect trust and spoil relationships between businesses, leading to a bad culture of late payments.
Late payments can occur due to various reasons, such as cash flow management, complex payment processes, administrative errors, disputes over goods or services, intentional delay, lack of priority, inadequate payment systems, late payment culture, and anti-corruption legislation, and red tape.
There are many, many reasons so as business owners we need to look not at why these occur but what we can do to mitigate their impact on our businesses.
What can businesses do?
To avoid or manage late payments, businesses must know their industry and understand how value is created for their clients and customers so you know who they are, what can go worng and what their payment reputation is. Only offer services that you clearly understand and can deliver to prevent disputes on services redndered when it comes time to bill and be paid. Also, don’t be greedy – avoid deals that concentrate your risk.
Prevention is always better than cure but sometimes you might find yourself beholden to a delaying client and it’s important to build relationships across big corporations you are supplying to so that you are able to escalate when needed.
Be clear and concise with terms of service and administration and invoice accurately, per your clients requirements to get in front of the pyment queue. If payment is delayd, be practical and negotiate settlements, and with that lesson learnt, avoid repeating mistakes. If payment seems unlikly, be bold and fight for it if it is a big enough invoice. Nowadays, you can also remind customers of how late payments can affect their ESG rating.
What can government do?
The government also has a role to play in preventing late payments. There are various interventions globally, which fall into various categories, and which can be drawn on to build a framework to support SMEs
- Legislate it – The Payment Times Reporting Scheme in Australia requires large businesses with an annual turnover of over AUD100 million to report on their payment terms and times for small business suppliers twice a year. Or the The Late Payment Directive in the EU sets out a framework for businesses to ensure prompt payment of invoices.
- Change tax policy to a cash rather than an accrual VAT system. This would be a remarkable coup for the small and medium businesses that suffer late payments. Upon issuing an invoice, your cashflow takes a hit. Payments delayed for months in effect rob your business of the cashflow you need to sustain and grow on this basis. A cash based VAT system would alleviate this misery.
- Punish it – The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act in the UK allows SMEs to charge interest on late payments, as well as claim compensation for the costs of debt recovery.
- Negotiate it – Prompt Payment Code in the UK is a voluntary code of practice that you might well be able to leverage with Trade Associations that your big client is a member of.
- Police and enforce it – In 2020, the Grocery Code Adjudicator fined Tesco, UK £7.56 million for “serious breaches” of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, including delayed payments to suppliers.
In 2021, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) fined Coles Group AUD5 million for failing to pay suppliers within the required timeframe under the Food and Grocery Code of Conduct.
In 2020, the French competition authority fined Sanofi EUR3 million for late payment of invoices to its suppliers.
Pavlo discussed this in a recent Money Show podcast.
There is regulation but don’t rely on it. Do your homework, be savvy, don’t be greedy and always operate with enough self doubt to guard the downside when opening the upside of a big customer….