We’ve looked at how to focus your sales activity and how your e-commerce and digital marketing strategy are integral to your success in this area. However, as always, if you want to effectively implement your strategy, the impetus must come from you. If you’re a business owner or senior manager quite often you can find there just aren’t enough hours in the day to achieve what you want.

One of the most common complaints we hear from business owners is that they’re so busy ‘running the business’ they don’t have time to look ahead to plan growth, identify future opportunities and address potential risks.

Invariably ‘urgent matters’ take precedence over ‘important priorities’, given the former tend to be driven by someone else, often customers, but also employees, suppliers or other stakeholders and invariably come with a deadline.

The importance of setting your own agenda

It can be useful from time to time to step back from the day to day pressures, take control of your agenda and prioritise ‘the business’ and what it needs at the top of your ‘to do list’.

Yes, dealing with customers’ issues and getting sales has to be done, but are you spending your time on the right customers and the right sales? Are those that shout loudest getting the most attention? when others who could represent greater growth potential get pushed down the list as they are ‘ticking over nicely’?

Is there a HR or structural issue that keeps coming up, but you’ve been too busy to get to the root cause, so you create short term solutions?

If any of these sound familiar then it could be time to rethink your priorities? Look at the key issues you are dealing with now, and assess whether in 1 year, 2 years or 5 years time which, if any, of them you would look back on as having had a significant impact on the longer-term success of the business?

Where is your time best spent?

A business owner should generally focus on those things that will have the most significant impact and that only they can do. The issues you are currently spending your time on clearly need to be dealt with, or you wouldn’t be doing them. But ask yourself what the opportunity cost is of you doing these things and as a result putting off the ‘important’ but not ‘urgent’ issues.

For example; where your growth will come from in the longer term, whether there is a pattern emerging of your competitors gaining traction with your current or future customers, or analysing the trends for future demand in your markets and how you might need to adapt?

Having identified where your time really needs to be spent, then you can look at why you are doing the ‘urgent’ issues that are preventing you from doing this. This could be due to a number of reasons; lack of capacity elsewhere in the business, a perception it will be too difficult to hand them over – or that the customer will not be happy dealing with someone else, or a lack of confidence in the ability of others to do them right. In many businesses a core reason can be traced back to a reluctance on the part of the owner to ‘let go’, so your acknowledgement of the potential impact of what you are not doing as a result will be a key step forward.

Identifying and if necessary upskilling the members of your team to enable them to do more, and free you up for what is really important, is the next step. In our next email we’ll be looking at one of the most valuable skills a business owner can have – the ability to delegate effectively, in a way that allows to you remain confident things will be done right – even when you are not doing them.

Our team at BHP Consulting have all successfully run businesses, and we understand that every business is unique. Our practical approach to supporting our clients enables us to share our real world experience to positively impact on the performance of your business. To arrange a call or an exploratory face-to-face meeting, please click here.