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!

Is it fact or is it opinion?

Imagine a market stallholder who pitches up in a different town each day to sell an array of variously flavoured olives. She has a reliable supplier for her goods, a stream of regular customers and sometimes manages to generate new interest from passers-by. Then, one day, a bigger pitch becomes available in one of the towns she frequents. It’s double the size of her existing pitch, offering our olive lady a great opportunity to expand the business. Now, does she simply accept her previously held opinion that the olive market is thriving, order greater quantities from her olive supplier and carry on doing exactly what she has done so far? Well, the problem with that is that olives can be a bit of an acquired taste and the fact of the matter could be that her particular market for olive sales is already at capacity. It seems as though she will continue to sell the same amount of olives to her regular customers, while having to pay a higher rate for her pitch and probably ending up with a significant amount of stock left over at the end of the day. A path towards ruin looms ahead. To manage the opportunity, the stallholder needs to look at all the facts, taking the time out to find out what other offering her customers might like, along with sourcing potential new suppliers and closely examining costs and profitability.   This is a great example of the reason business decisions should be based on facts. Opinions can often skew our view of the truth and lead to poor decisions making. The opinions... 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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