There is something special about business owners focused on business growth.
The ones who survive and thrive have a determination to succeed, the commitment to invest huge amounts of time and in many cases money. They continue to work through the challenges, despite the naysayers, and take (calculated) risks.
However, many go through painful lessons – wasting time and losing money – before they strike their ‘overnight’ success.
No one goes into business wanting to experience this pain. So, how can you stack the odds in your favour to grow your business and minimise the possibility of failure?
Stack the odds of success in your favour for business growth
Plug into a powerful team of experienced, knowledgeable and skilled, likeminded SME ThinkTank business owners who are willing to
- share their experience
- trust you with their confidential business IP
- inspire you to continue to grow
- hold you accountable
- keep you learning
- push you to tackle your tough issues
- keep you focused on what is important
- help you identify and harness opportunities
- be honest in their feedback (with a healthy dose of empathy)
Constant learning, feedback and interaction with experienced colleagues is the safety net you need to avoid the painful lessons.
SME ThinkTank offers one of the best ways to share, discuss and resolve challenges that business owners experience day after day. It is your own advisory board that meets regularly, once a month, for half a day.
An advisory board of business owners growing their businesses is a time and cost efficient way to learn, share and work through solutions to business issues. Each business owner will help you build your business and your leadership skills and in turn, you share your experience to help others build theirs.
Business Growth Challenges
Research with hundreds of business owners shows that owners of small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) face many challenges:
1. The number one priority is Finance.
You must grow sales, manage costs, increase profit and the big one – manage cash flow. Maintaining a positive cash flow is a complex task and working hard only to see money disappearing is a disheartening experience. While almost all business owners have experienced this from time to time, particularly when a business is growing, it becomes easier when you can discuss the challenges with other business owners. Furthermore, an advisory board stacked with experience from different industries can help to find solutions you may not have thought of.
2. Overcoming Isolation plagues many business owners.
Who can you talk to about your challenges? Not your employees, your life partner or family and rarely your friends. Without a business mentor or board you may find yourself feeling ‘lonely at the top’. What’s more, this isolation can drive procrastination and ultimately inaction and loss. So, regularly meeting with an advisory board not only helps keep you connected, but accountable before issues become large and costly.
3. Recruiting good people can be extremely difficult when you own an SME.
Despite business growth plans, many talented people only want to work for well-known, large businesses. And often good employees don’t stay with an SME for long before they get head hunted. So, having advisory boards members to help you implement the best recruitment processes and provide valuable feedback during candidate selection is invaluable. You’re not alone.
4. Branding and marketing
Branding and marketing is often outsourced which can make mistakes extremely painful. It is not uncommon for businesses to invest in expensive marketing initiatives only to find their identified niche is too small. Or they find the business must adapt to a new environment and reinvest in marketing. To avoid these mistakes your SME ThinkTank advisory board members act as your market research group. They provide dispassionate, honest and realistic feedback to help you get your marketing strategy right.
5. Laws and Regulations
Many businesses do not have the time nor the resources to remain on top in terms of governance and compliance. Those who rely on experts find every interaction is costly and often drop the ball around implementation. Consequently, SME Think Tank not only drives discussion around the risks, we also bring in experts to present and to discuss possible ways forward.
Finally, successful businesses are well structured and have good processes. This is particularly important to avoid processes holding back your business growth. In this area, discussion and expert speakers at SME ThinkTank board meetings help members design and maintain excellent structure and processes for maximum efficiency and cost management.