Anew year has dawned with the opportunity for a fresh start for entrepreneurs and their businesses.
As we take stock and plan for a successful year, it is vital that every business owner is aware of their most valuable – or “cornerstone” assets.
To explain how to effectively identify and leverage your cornerstone assets we’ve enlisted the help of Mags Boland-Murphy.
Leading a talented team at Bofin Consultancy Mags works directly with successful and focused business owners and managers nationally and internationally – helping them to overcome challenges, plan, package and progress to take their business to a place of profit and sustainable success.
Over to you Mags…
The cornerstones are the pieces that make the wheel turn. And if the wheel doesn’t turn – there is no revenue, no income and no economy.
Each business has a role to play in the economy and in order for a business to contribute, it needs its own wheel to turn.
The most valuable asset in your business
There are a number of valuable assets in a business. These represent your cornerstone assets and may include your services/products, time, planning, your people and your customers among others.
People make the world go round
One of the most valuable assets is your people. Every business is a sum of the people in it. Our business name and brand is a stand-alone empty space without those who work in the business. Think about this for a minute.
It is the people in your business who will determine whether your business has customers, your people will determine whether the best use is made of the time they have and will influence how well your services/products are delivered to those who pay for them.
In business we talk about “building relationships” and this is usually done with reference to networking, generating sales and custom. However, we also need to be mindful that we must also consider the relationships we have with the people in our business.
Led and guided by you, the business leader, It is ultimately the people in your business who determine the success of your business.
How do we make this asset better and stronger? Think of how this will help and benefit your business.
Are your people recognised and acknowledged for their work and achievements? How can this be improved?
Are your people being allowed to reach their full potential? How can they be supported to do just that?
Do you communicate positively and productively with your people?
On a well being level, do your people feel supported? If nothing else, the pandemic has shown us the importance of being present with and aware of each other personally and professionally.
Money is no longer the only incentive for employees, be mindful of this. Employees have different motivations now which include a craving for balance, to feel supported, to be acknowledged and rewarded for work well done.
Ultimately, can you make your business stronger by facilitating training opportunities for your people to be better and more knowledgeable and confident in their roles, and inspiring more potential to be reached.
What can you do to strengthen and support your most valuable asset consistently? Key to this is leadership, as business owners/managers, whether we realise it or not, we are business leaders and your people will look to you for that leadership.
All the aforementioned support staff retention and attracting new talent, do not underestimate this.
Lest we forget….your business, my business and every business is the sum of the people in it.
Time….our most valuable commodity
I consider time one of the most valuable things I possess both personally and professionally. Time with my family and friends, time just being on my own and time in my business, time is priceless and I honestly feel privileged to have time to spend. I aim to make every minute count.
In business, time is a very important asset and often we overlook its importance. How we spend it counts everyday.
I often work with clients on time-related pieces; time management, smart scheduling etc. and it always comes back to how to best spend the time.
In business you will often hear business owners say “I am busy, I don’t have the time for that”.
Most of the time this is true. However, look really distinctly at how you use your time. Are you putting tasks that you do not want to do (but which could really benefit your business) on the long finger? Do you procrastinate? Lets’ face it, we all do both of these from time to time. Can this stop, yes it can.
Are your processes taking longer than they should? Is this affecting productivity? What do you need to do to fix or change this?
There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to time management but we do need to create some healthy habits around how we manage our time.
Making your time work better for you comes down to making a choice to review and refresh and commit to making all the hours you work as productive for you and for your business as they can be
I really believe that you can go nowhere without some semblance of a plan, it doesn’t need to be complicated and it can change. Having a plan gives you direction.
We wouldn’t build a house without a plan. We wouldn’t take a holiday or road trip without a plan. We shouldn’t run a business without a plan.
Planning is so important in a business that is being built/is built for sustainability and success. How do you know where you are going without it?
A plan is simply the roadmap with all the key points on that path to help you take your business to where you want or need it to be.
I asked a client who was delving into a new business initiative “Right, have you a plan jotted down?” His answer was “Oh yes Mags, I have all the figures ready and done” and that was great but the “how to” of how they were going to reach those figures had been overlooked. The figures are great to have but of little use if you don’t know how you are going to achieve them.
So, a plan is not just about figures, yes, they are part of the end aim and goal. However, the plan is about the bits in between, what steps do you need to take to reach these figures.
Planning matters and it deserves dedicated attention and time consistently – otherwise it is simply a piece of paper that is never used.
Allow plans to change, let it evolve as your business does. Plans can be affected by external factors beyond our control, that is real life, you need to be able to ebb and flow with changes as they occur. Remember, “no plan survives contact” but have one.
I have met business owners and managers who dismiss sitting down and just putting the plan on paper or on their ipad/tablet/laptop as a painful piece of admin and my reply is well if that is the case then it is a “painful piece of admin” that a lot of successful business owners the world over believe in. They know the value and see the results.
Again, would you build a house without a set of plans? I would think not. Foundations are important for houses. They are also important for sustainable business success.
Your Customers & Clients
We are none of us successful or sustainable businesses without our customers and clients. They are the ones who give us the opportunity to provide our service or product to support them and solve a problem. It is that simple.
We are very much a client-centric business at Bofin Consultancy, it is in my blood. I am passionate about customer service and live by “it costs nothing to be nice”.
We work with businesses every year to help them address their customer interactions and service. We help them to train their people to be stronger in their role(s). This is done because it affects the brand, influences spend and the bottom line which in turn affects repeat custom and targets being reached.
How you treat customers really matters, now more so than ever. People will do business with people regardless of systems, apps or IT, there is always someone behind the screen, we need to remember that.
Communicating with customers/clients does not always need to be sales focused. Can you do this better?
Can you step into your customers/clients shoes? How do things look from their perspective? Be objective and honest with yourself.
Is your customer support and customer service on point? Could it be better? What needs to happen for it to be better? What business will you gain if the customer service gets even better?
When was the last time you asked the customer/client for feedback or their opinion? This is valuable and it will help you to confirm what you are doing right and what could be done better.
Services & Product Offering – Your Expertise
“Setting out your stall” in the right way for you and for the customer is important. It outlines clearly what you do and what you don’t do.
As my business has grown this has changed as it does for most businesses. Central to all our businesses are our expertise, our skillset, our services and our products.
The last two years have meant that many business owners have had to change how and what they deliver to their customers and clients. It has also meant that many businesses have been persuaded into positive progress which has involved embracing technology a little more.
We have all engaged in new learnings, new ways of delivering our services/products, new ways of communicating and new ways of being.
How do you make your service/product offering stronger and better in 2022? Ask yourself these questions…….
- Am I packaging my offer in a way that I understand it or in a way that the customer/client understands it?
- Is my message working? Is it engaging with my ideal customers?
- Is the value obvious to my customers/clients? In other words will it make sense the minute they see it?
Be front and centre with your value and also honest when you step into your ideal customer’s shoes. How do they view your services or products as they are offered? How do they view the packaging? Do they see the value?
Key to this is remembering that one size does not fit all.
The All-Ireland Business Foundation would like to thank Mags Boland for sharing her valuable advice and practical insights with our readers.
To learn more about Bofin Consultancy, visit their All-Star showcase page here.