As you start to put your plans into effect for 2018 (this is a reminder if you haven’t started yet) it is important to consider areas that can impact your business. Like a tree, your business is either growing or dying, it’s not staying the same.

I like to look at both internal and external factors that can impact a business.

On the External side some include:

Market — is there a technology change running through your market? Is there a financial challenge running through your market? What influences are there that can impact the peoplethat are buying from you today?

Vendors — are there changes to the supply base either through consolidation or fiscal health? I would sit down with your key suppliers and gauge their financial health and your relationship as you look forward.

Customer Migration — do you have clients relocating out of the area? Is there a roll up going on in your customer base where a Venture Capital firm is buying several similar companies and consolidating them? Are your customers getting ready to shut their doors because their kids aren’t interested, and the owner can’t bring herself to sell it?

Strategic Partners — have some of your key lead sources gone away? Do you need to expand your partners or at a minimum evaluate the relationship to make sure it is working for both parties?

On the Internal side some thoughts include:

Your business model is too structured. Systems are great as long as it does not stop your flexibility. Businesses need to be agile and not weighted down by excessive process.

Imbalance of builders vs. protectors. Within the organization, what is the mix between those trying to grow and expand the business through innovation versus those who are holding onto the good old days and putting the brakes on change?

I’m right, you’re wrong. Nothing slows down team development faster than telling them why their ideas won’t work. As the leader, you need to be open to new ideas from people on the front lines engaged with the customer. As well, nothing stops a team member’s excitement more than saying, “We tried that and it didn’t work.” Today is a new time and the variables and dynamics are different.

Not doing the right thing. In other words, focused on areas that don’t drive value to the customer and the company. Are there too many distractions or initiatives going on at the same time that are pulling away from making the customer excited to be engaged with you?

I can do it better myself. This mind set usually leads to a contraction in the business where the leader decreases the size of the team and the customer base to go back to when they felt like they were in more control. Often times, this activity is followed by the doors closing. Successful businesses are run by successful teams.

External factors may be beyond your control. Internal factors are in your wheelhouse.

Take Action today on examining the external and internal factors in your business.

Business is Fun! Now go run a Lap!

 

Tony Marder is a Gastonia resident and President of ASM Ventures Corp. His clients are family businesses and their teams who need to develop and implement new strategies to make more profit. You can reach him for questions or comments at www.enjoyingyourbusiness.com.