I'm going to start very quickly by asking you all a question: most of you are business owners, why did you get into business? What was the core reason that you went into business?
Delegates give reasons
Forced situations, to gain some improved lifestyle, to gain more financial independence those sorts of Reasons? To gain more control over your destiny and your time. Better quality of life, the link into lifestyle again. In my experience the key reasons, apart from forced situations, the key drivers are wanting financial independence, wanting control and also wanting some fulfilment that is not being achieved already through what you are already doing.
Also in my experience, order to achieve those passions and visions of what you want to achieve for the future - that better lifestyle, that more control - then you and your business need to be working for you rather than you working for it. What I want to do in this session is focus on understanding all the dimensions within a business both from an external perspective as well as an internal perspective. Most business owners just get caught up with the internal matters, getting the production of the business working, getting customer acquisition working and getting the actual business done, the technical work.
However, not so much time is spent focussing on the other core elements. So, what I would like to do is to share with you a number of principles that will enable you to separate these different dimensions and understand them more clearly. It will give you ways, I'm sure; of helping you to create new customers but also maximising the return that you are getting from your existing customer base.
In addition to that, I am a passionate believer in systematisation within a business and I'll explain what I mean by that, and finally there are important people issues (that we have already discovered today) that impacts dramatically on the effectiveness of your business.
There are certain elements that the business experts have identified as survival requirements for business. There are two key factors - Firstly the business needs to produce results for customers. Throughout this I am referring to everyone as customers but you may refer to them depending on whether you provide a product service or treatments, clients or patients. But I am referring to everybody as customers.
The key is that word 'result'. An analogy here, if you were to go and buy a pot of paint, the result is not just buying the pot of paint and happily going home with it and storing it in a cupboard that is not the result. The result is obtained once you actually apply the paint, put it on the walls and you then see the benefit. So that's what I mean by achieving results.
In my view, once you have actually demonstrated to the market place that you can achieve results for customers, then in theory at least (and it should be in practise), your business should be sustainable because you've demonstrated that you are able to add value to the market place.
Secondly you also need to make a profit if the business is to survive. Of course, all the other issues that we have looked at today, hygiene factors such as, requirements for legislation, compliance, and integrity within the business, all those things apply as well of course. Making a profit and producing results for customers are the key survival factors. If they are the survival factors, what are the success factors to contrast this?
Again, I suggest that there are two key factors. One is how you promote your business, the marketing of it. The other is how you find unique solutions to people's problems, innovation. As we go through, what I want to do is provide some tips, suggestions and ideas that can be used in those two areas to really grow your business.
What I would like to do now before we go on further, is just identify three other key elements. Then there is an exercise I'd like you to do. I see a business as a living organism it's a bit like a representation of the living world, in a smaller form.
What typically happens is that most business owner's focus on today, they focus on the problems and solutions of today and are entwined in the business. In order to complete the circle and understand the full dynamics of a business and to make it work like a Formula 1 car rather than an old model T Ford, it is important to realise that, just like life and just like the world, there is also a past and there is also a future which are all equally as important as the present.
So a quick exercise now. What I would like you to do is to close your eyes and open your mind and just think about some of those reasons you mentioned earlier about wanting to get into business, but actually put yourself in the picture of what your life will be like in 2-5 years time on the assumption that you will achieve the business success that you want.
So, how are you feeling? What people are around you, what size of organisation do you have? How fulfilled do you feel? How financially independent are you? Imagine all of the wonderful things that you are driving towards. What I want you to do is just momentarily, put yourself into that picture and imagine that situation. So if you would like to close your eyes just for a moment and open your mind and put yourself where you really want to be.