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How do you overcome obstacles and unlock growth?

Written by Latifa Yedroudj on Thursday, 04 June 2020. Posted in Interviews

CEOs and founders reveal why plans never really go to plan – and what to do about it

How do you overcome obstacles and unlock growth?

How do you stay committed to your goals despite the challenges faced? 

With any business, there will come a time when you will face obstacles and bumps on the road to achieving commercial success. What happens when your plans fall through? How do you overcome roadblocks and stay committed towards your goals? Speaking on the second day Elite Business’ live event on March 10, Eric Partaker, co-founder of Chilango, Alana Spencer, founder of Ridiculously Rich, Jenny Knight, founder of Nutcracker and Scott English, brand director at CEMG, revealed how important it is to stay adaptable and to your goals despite challenges you face along the way. They also discussed why it is important for businesses to shift away from the numbers and focus on building a solid brand, attract a wider audience and build a loyal customer base.

When it comes to expanding your business, there are several strategies you can implement to achieve growth – such as franchising. Alana Spencer, the winner of 2016’s The Apprentice and founder of Ridiculously Rich, decided to franchise her cake business and has since seen tremendous success in attracting new clients and customers. “When I was running the business on my own, I was trying to do everything all at once,” Alana explained. “And after The Apprentice, I had a conversation with Claude Littner and Lord Sugar. Claude said I had a great business already and suggested I try and grow what I already had. So, we’ve franchised the company and we now have 50 ambassadors who sell my product so we make them around the country. Getting people that believe in my company and believed in me basically took it to the next level.” Alana stressed the importance of getting to know your franchisees well and not to rush the selection process, adding: “It is important when taking on new franchisees not to rush that decision on the different people. Get to know them. Because at the beginning you just think you need to get people in. And we’ve got a really great team, just take your time with it.”

Branding is incredibly important when it comes to building your business. Eric Partaker, the co-founder of Chilango, spoke about how he and his team had zeroed into the word “vibrancy” to sum up their business. Since focusing on the specific idea, sales had doubled as the company begin to embody the brand. “The more you can make the company about serving something besides just producing the numbers, the more power gets infused into the business,” Eric explained. “One of the things I’ve always noticed is that the world’s best businesses can be summed up in a single thought or word. Nike screams competition, Disney’s about happiness and I thought – what is that for Chilango? And we zeroed in on this one word, the distillation of vibrancy. It was an absolute game-changer for us. Once we did that, then our menu development focused on more vibrant, robust flavours, the interior started to pop with a lot more colour, we introduced an audition element to our interview process to uncover vibrant personalities. We did various things, for example, we’d have people bring their favourite T-shirt to the interview and when I was interviewing this guy, he unzips his jumper and reveals ‘I didn’t have a favourite T-shirt, so I had this one made’. He was vibrant! But our sales doubled when we introduced vibrancy.”

Setting goals and having a solid plan gives your business structure and direction in order to achieve targets. Unfortunately, there will be times where plans may fall through. That is why it is important to always have various strategies in place to ensure things stay smooth-sailing, Scott, brand director for CEMG explained. “Whatever happens, I have the best-case scenario but I also have the worst-case scenario,” he said. “And I always try to imagine that the worst case is going to be what happens, because then if the best-case scenario comes along, you’ll think ‘wow, this is incredible’. Like everything within the marketplace at the moment you’ve got to plan for a worst-case, and that’s how I work. Chipping into Scott’s point, Eric added: “With some of the special ops I work with, they’ll look at the operation and visualise it’s all going to plan, but then they’ll visualise at every single moment what could happen that will be unexpected and would go off the plan, and they’re thinking in advance how they would counter each and every one of those instances of the unexpected. So, I agree we need our plans, we have to have something to shoot for. But it’s just that very often, things won’t go exactly to plan.” 

While it is good to stay adaptable and think on the spot, Jenny, founder of Nutcracker, insisted that having a plan is essential in steering your business in the right direction. Even if the goalposts may change, having a certain kind of structure gives you have a clearer long-term vision. “I think it’s true you have to be adaptable without a doubt. I do think you need a plan. If you have targets and growth plans, you need to know how you’re going to get there. That plan may well change, but I think that structure gives you something to work with... I think otherwise you’re meandering, you’re going in too many directions. I think it’s very easy to get caught up in short-term pain and then lose sight of objectives. So, if you’ve got a plan in place, and the goalposts have changed at least there’s a plan there you know you still got to achieve that.”

About the Author

Latifa Yedroudj

Latifa Yedroudj

Latifa Yedroudj has joined the Elite team to fully immerse herself in the business side of journalism, a strong passion of hers cultivated from young having co-run her mother's start up business since she was 18. Her interests lie in a wide range of subjects, including start ups, business, travel, and anything entrepreneurial she can get her hands on. She has worked for some of the biggest names in journalism including The Guardian and The Mirror. Follow her on @latifayed on Twitter for her latest journo rants.

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