You will face many objectives in growing your business, e.g. to make more sales, to launch new products or to enter new markets. Often you will not have a wealth of resources and it will be a real challenge to meet your objective in a reasonable timespan working from what you have.
How will you do it? What enables some people to succeed and not become overwhelmed by the numerous tasks needed?
What can be achieved with a business’s resources depends on the founders’ training and skills, the facilities or infrastructure of the environment that the business operates in, and the founders’ creativity and initiative.
When we consider a business’s performance, it is easy to look at what and how things have been done without giving due recognition to the initiative of the people who achieved success in difficult circumstances, or whose lack thereof caused golden growth opportunities to be quietly wasted. Yet you cannot work in business without seeing both and learning to appreciate this quality.
Initiative is key - it is not just about having an eye for opportunity, taste for challenges and a great amount of energy, although all of these are linked to it - it is the ability to execute well and be successful where many others fail.
Good news item # 1 is this: initiative is learned and you can constantly add to it.
Simply, through repeated successes. People who have been successful often enough in the past will have faith that they can be successful again, and will see opportunities and the prospects for new ventures. They are not going to be constrained by a lack of resources as others.
Good news item # 2: you can arrange how you approach challenges to increase your chances of success.
As a simple analogy, if you try to lift one hundred kilos on your first day in the gym and are derailed when you fail, then you will never succeed. But if you start small, build some muscle, then lift heavier and build some more, then you are on the pathway to getting your one hundred at some point in future.
Similarly, you can apply a framework of sound project management techniques to the challenges you work on – you can break down large goals into manageable tasks, prioritise these tasks, execute them intelligently, etc. Just approaching things in a slightly better way can make a world of difference to achieving something. But this is just common sense, isn’t it? People who are in business will act to the best of their abilities as a matter of course. To do anything else would be foolish.
It is not always that straightforward. Even the canniest business leaders can be baffled by situations where they have too many questions and not enough answers, or where they cannot see the wood for the trees.
An imperfect understanding of this situation can impede your ability to act effectively, resulting in a state of partial immobility. To break this gridlock, you need to clear some space, regroup and get some fresh perspective.
Good news item # 3 is this: there are business services providers that can help you to get some breathing space. The resources you need to get headroom, perspective and a sense of direction are more accessible and affordable than ever before.
For instance, if uncertainties about accounting and tax are holding you back, Cloud technologies now make it possible for you to work with professional accountants to access support on an ad hoc or monthly basis. A transformed sense of stability and expertise in this area can free business owners to focus on other aspects of operations and to transform their businesses.
All advisers, not just accountants, know from experience how much of a difference it makes when the person they are advising really gets something and starts to act in a way that is perfectly aligned to achieve results.
Looking ahead, there are risks overshadowing the economy because it may stutter as it deals with Covid, Brexit and challenges like climate change. Some people will find this overwhelming, but others will see opportunity. If you are a UK business owner, then you are in a nation with great infrastructure, you may have many of the skills you need for a venture, and you can embed and build on the initiative you need to forge a way forward.
When it comes to knowing what the steps are that make up a good approach to tackling new projects, there are many different books and courses available on project management or which provide advice on how to run a business.
We each have our own ideas of the guidelines that we should apply if we want our projects to work - I pulled 10 of my own together in the attached appendix and you can have them emailed to you on this page.