Six tips from a strategy consultant to run a successful business

It's been said that 90% of businesses fail. While this vague statement may be technically true - a vast majority of businesses fail at a certain point - it doesn't give us an accurate picture

Six tips from a strategy consultant to run a successful business

Looking at new data, we can see that:

  • 8 out of 10 businesses survive the first 12 months
  • 5 out of 10 businesses go past the 5th year
  • 3 out of 10 businesses remain active after their 10th year

As years go by, your chances of success decrease. Turning your business idea into a reality takes a lot of effort and sacrifice. Staying in business demands even more.

At Boardroom Advisors, our advisors and strategy consultants have worked with hundreds of different businesses over the years. Everyone from sole proprietorships to multi-national corporations has been guided by our strategic advice. We’ve talked to some of our advisors and come up with a few tips on how to run a successful business.

Be honest

The key to success in business is honesty; without it, the building blocks of success will always remain out of reach. Honesty builds trust, which is essential for any business to form meaningful relationships with customers and other businesses.

– John, CEO 

Practically every company claims they promote transparency, trust, and honesty. But how many actually do? Not too many it seems. 

The downsides of lies and dishonesty should be pretty obvious: customer trust goes down, reputation is damaged, and you may even face legal consequences. But for some, it’s easier to tell lies and hope that no one will find out.

Make sure you’re honest with your customers and stakeholders, plus try to retain a sense of integrity among your workers. Studies have shown that stress from lying can decrease employee productivity by 20% and lead to a decline in morale.

Plan in advance

It’s a well known fact that most SMEs only decide to look for cashflow funding 5 days before they run out of money. Plan early and ask when you don’t need it. Getting a facility in place rather than scrambling to produce the required documents in days is far more productive.

– Gerry, Regional Director

When in doubt, always have a plan. Every business needs to have a clear roadmap of what they want to achieve and how they will get there.

Having no plan is the same as having an incomplete one. An incomplete plan exposes your business to all sorts of risks, from financial losses to a lack of customer support.

Take the time to properly plan and strategise. Make plans for short-term goals and long-term objectives, outline a budget, and measure performance.

Your business plan should include the following:

  • A description of your business and what sets you apart from others
  • Market research and analysis of your industry and main competitors
  • Management and business structure of your company
  • A description of the services/products you offer to the customers
  • Funding you need to operate over the next five years
  • Financial projects based on the current data you have
  • Resumes, permits, and other assets of interest

This doesn’t mean you have to plan everything to the letter. Flexibility is important, and no business can predict every twist and turn that comes with running a company.

Delegate as much as possible

Don’t become a blocker to growth.  You can’t do everything, so seek advice, get support and delegate. I sometimes find business owners who are trying to do everything from accounts to production and normally they are working too many hours and are so caught up in the minutiae that they can’t see the bigger picture.”

– Eian, Non-Executive Director

Besides having a plan, having the right people in place is crucial to your success. The business leader might be great at planning, but they need someone to help implement it.

That’s where delegation comes in. The business leader needs to be able to trust and delegate tasks to the right people. That could be anyone from a consultant to the business’s C-suite executives.

Delegating work doesn’t just mean offloading tasks to employees and interns. It means recognising when it’s time to hire professionals for specialised services, such as accounting and financial advisors.

Get to know your competitors

If you want to stay one step ahead of the competition, you have to know their strategies, successes, and failures intimately. Acquiring the right knowledge is essential for creating a distinct edge in business that will enable you to outperform your rivals.

– Kath, Marketing Director

When was the last time you conducted a proper “analysis” of your competitors? Simply looking at a couple of websites and social media platforms doesn’t count. If you’re not conducting a proper examination of your competitors, you’re leaving yourself open to mistakes.

Take the time to get to know your competition. Analyze their products and services, read their press releases, and study their marketing campaigns. If possible, attend trade shows or industry events to get a better understanding of their strategies and tactics.

Gain extensive expertise

Having quick access to important data, particularly in relation to sales enablement, should be a priority for businesses looking to max out productivity.

– Jonathan, Regional Director

While it’s important to have an understanding of your competitors, gaining expertise in the field is critical. Having a good grasp on the industry and technology helping you run your business can help you make informed decisions and stay one step ahead of the competition.

Invest in courses, workshops, or seminars that will give you the knowledge and skills needed to succeed.

Your workforce should also be well-trained in the area. This will ensure that everyone is aware of the latest trends and has the necessary expertise to handle their tasks.

Develop a robust professional rapport

“People buy from people, so be yourself and invest time in building relationships.”

– Adrian, Regional Director

In any business, it’s important to build strong relationships. Developing a robust professional rapport with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders is critical for long-term success.

Creating a positive relationship with stakeholders is key to ensuring the continued growth of your business. Make sure you respond to queries quickly and clearly explain your services. Utilise social media platforms to engage with customers and build trust and loyalty.

And if you’re ever having difficulty with a customer, supplier or other stakeholders, always remember to remain professional and courteous.

In closing

 “Know where you’re going and why you’re going there (Vision), how you’re going to get there (Mission), how you want people to behave along the way (Core Values), set some guiding principles, and thematic goals, then write everything down and hold everyone to account to the plan by checking in regularly.”

– Adrian, Regional Director

The success of any business depends on the strategies and tactics that are employed. By following these tips, you’ll better understand what it takes to stay ahead in the business world.

Honesty, integrity, and hard work should be your guiding principles as you plan, delegate, and gain expertise. Looking at your competitors closely and developing strong relationships with stakeholders will help you move forward, unlock your potential, and realise your goals.

John Courtney
John Courtney

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