The Levels Blog

Growing your business from a small to medium size company is often a turbulent time for even the most accomplished entrepreneur. The Levels is my tried and tested model focussing on overcoming the challenges faced by business owners across the world.   Teamed with my extensive knowledge and real world experience The Levels will challenge you and change your entire way of thinking!

 

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The Blog

The Levels focuses on challenges faced by business owners between the small to medium size transition- often a turbulent time for even the most accomplished entrepreneur!

Why your business experience will let you down

I regularly speak to business owners who have successfully built their business over 20, 30 or 40 years. Rightly proud of their success they feel that they have seen it all and can rely on their experience to successfully face the future. Typical responses are: “We have been really successful to date, so we must be doing things right” “I’ve got 25 years’ experience, so I know what I’m doing.” However, in the life of every small or medium sized business (SME) there will be events that the owner has not encountered before. Reliance on experience can create a dangerous Business Comfort Zone (BCZ) which blinds the owner to possible dangers as well as opportunities. The BCZ creates a ‘wait and see’ approach leading to reactive knee-jerk responses rather than a proactive, considered approach to face these new events. How, when and what the owner’s strategic response is, will have a significant impact on the future of all the business’s stakeholders. By way of an example, let’s have a quick look at five of the common one-off business events where relying on past experience may jeopardise the future of an SME. 1. Succession The most common unplanned event for established SME is succession. A typical response is “I don’t have (want) to worry about that yet.” However, in every business there will come a point when the transition of leadership/ ownership will have to be faced. Succession happens in every business. It should be a planned process rather than a disruptive event. For most SMEs this will occur only once in a lifetime and is not previously experienced by... read more

Three steps to make your business idea a success

What’s the difference between ventures that commercially fly and those that barely get off the ground? I’m sure like me you will have had successes and also some failures over the years. At the end of the day nothing in this life is for certain and business is a risk. So here are the three fundamental keys I have found that differentiate success from failure when starting a new venture. 1. The Idea Well let’s start with the obvious. How good is the idea? Not just to you but to your target market, so do your research and understand what is needed. Don’t rely on friends and relations to give you feedback on the idea as they are not going to be impartial. You need to know right up front that your idea is not just good, it’s GREAT from the customers point of view. Now I’m sure you have had some great ideas in the past that have not seen the light of day so the next step is to have… 2. Confidence How confident are you about this great idea? It may be a great idea but are you prepared to put your money where your mouth is? Financial investors want to see commitment to an idea. Why, because they want to be confident in your confidence! Think about programmes like Dragon’s Den and how often the dragons run for the hills when they learn the person in front of them has equity but is not prepared to put it at risk. It shows a lack of confidence. At the end of the day if you do... read more

How to get the right people doing the right things right.

If you could ‘sack’ everyone within your team or company today (without fear of tribunal, notice or termination payments or indeed without any other repercussion) who would you re-employ tomorrow? Now that may bring a wry smile to your face or a serious frown but read the question again and then go through your whole team one at a time. The decision to re-employ has to be without qualification. No get out of jail cards like:- ‘I wouldn’t want to employ her again but she brings in 75% of the sales!’ ‘I definitely wouldn’t want to employ him but he’s family!’ The answers from this question may be uncomfortable but the awareness will be worth the discomfort. As a business grows it becomes necessary to create a more formal structure and appoint managers to take on some of the responsibility of running the business. Who better than the loyal and trusted employees who have helped the business owner in the early stages of growth to take on more responsibility. Over the years I have seen so many companies being run by these ‘home grown managers’. Home grown managers are the life blood in the early stages of a growing business. They hold the culture, knowledge and understanding of the business. However, when the business is ready to scale it can start to outgrow the ‘home grown managers’. Feeling more and more out of their depth these managers resist change to maintain the status quo and protect their position. From a business owner’s point of view, the temptation can be to blame the old guard and to look to introduce... read more

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