As a leader, I’ve only got four words on my scorecard – “Grow the business, profitably.”
Every leadership objective ultimately leads to that one, when you think about it. Make more sales, develop a new product or service, manage costs and cashflow, acquire a new business, improve customer satisfaction, engage employees, manage risk, etc – all of these goals, if achieved, will contribute to profitable growth in one way or another.
When it comes to growing a business, the danger is information overload. I find that lots of ideas on ‘how to grow your business’ crop up every day on my newsfeed – I just did a Google search on that phrase and got 189 million hits!
This means I need a simple way to assess an idea when it hits my desk, so I can decide quickly if I want to take action on it (and if so, what action?) or put it into the backburner file.
How will I do that? In order to develop my skill at driving profitable growth for our business, I’ve made use of the ‘rule of three’ to put in place three areas of focus which I will use to assess any ideas that come my way, and to keep up momentum on existing projects. I’m sharing them with you, in case you find them useful too.
- Manage our financials profitably: For me, this won’t be a once a month exercise when the P&L pops into my inbox. I’ll focus on this day in day out, taking actions to ensure that our financial position is predictable and trending upwards, so we are ready to take advantage of the right investment opportunities as they arise, while managing costs and cashflow.
- Manage our relationships positively: As a leader, I have a big group of stakeholders to whom I’m accountable – the Board, our network of partners, my team, our alliance partners, our suppliers and our firm’s clients – and my relationships with all of them are critical. I’ll make a plan to grow each of those relationships, using a blend of formal/informal communications.
- Manage our risk prudently: Growth for its own sake isn’t much use to a business if the opportunities we take up are not in line with our risk appetite. Balancing growth and risk will be more important than ever this year – eg organising the right insurance, getting legal advice where we need it, reinforcing risk management protocols in the business, protecting our IP.
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning – Benjamin Franklin
When a new ‘business growth idea’ comes my way, I will assess it against these three focus areas as well, so I don’t get distracted from progressing existing initiatives. I’ll only consider acting on the new idea if it will make more of a contribution to our profitable growth than what is already underway.
As a result of developing my skill in this critical area, I plan for our business to have its best year yet. Wishing the same for you!
Sarah Magarey – General Manager Chan & Naylor Australia
Disclaimer: This article contains general information. Before you make any financial or investment decision you should seek professional advice to take into account your individual objectives, financial situation and individual needs.