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Small Business Solutions: Steak or Potatoes Strategy
27 July 2015

3 Criteria For Small Business Solutions: Steak or Mashed Potatoes

 

We work with a lot of small and not-so-small businesses – from many different industries and markets – data management, accounting, freight and logistics, restaurants, technology, drilling {oil}, commercial construction . . . a pretty diverse group. But they all have one thing in common: most of these great businesses have tried, started or reached for some business solutions to help push their revenue forward . . . and they didn’t work.

Advertising, CRM’s, software, technology, sales reps or marketing plans . . . these are some of the numerous solutions that didn’t produce the revenue increase that our clients were hoping to gain.

The reason most of those strategies didn’t produce the desired results? They were missing the right resources to execute them.

In essence they ordered a steak but instead of a knife, their only utensil was a plastic spoon. It’s a sad waste of money on a steak if you can’t cut it and eat it successfully.

Think about how Generals prepare to carry out their objectives. Generals don’t plan maneuvers with the troops and weapons the WISH they had. They build strategies around their current position, with their current assets. It takes individual battles to win the war. Victories and defeats determine the courses of action that ultimately define success. The right strategy solving the right problem at the right time is what can propel business forward too.

To improve the success rate of investment in business solutions, we’ve outlined the top considerations that can determine if this could be the right solution at the right time.

3 Criteria For Small Business Solutions:

Cash Flow – Scaling costs money so if you invest in a plan, people or products that increase business, you’ll most likely need to add talent or resources to execute and carry out the new business. Cash flow is king in small business and “robbing Peter to pay Paul” is a gamble. Are there short term sacrifices for immediate gains and long term scale? Or, are you investing in a strategy that is the equivalent of being “house rich and cash poor” to acquire a team member or new piece of production equipment that you think will produce results?  A strategy that sucks you dry of cash flow without quickly replacing it is not a good strategy.

Culture Shift – Many of the problems that undermine strategies are centered around the existing culture and existing hierarchies and infrastructure in
the business. Small Business Solution - Culture ShiftIntroducing new systems, processes and tools requires some changes in behavior and that is sometimes the hardest thing to do in a business. As a strategic firm, we bring both technical solutions and behavioral changes to our clients. But just like getting healthy and losing weight, you can be outfitted head to toe in Under Armour gear but if you’re not willing to back away from the Krispy Kremes and move your body, you’re not going to get the results you want.
If the commitment to shift the culture doesn’t connect throughout the entire organization, the behaviors to support the changes and implement new actions break down and the effectiveness of the product, program or person – is short lived.

Talent – The second question that most small business owners ask themselves after “Can I afford it” is “How are we going to do it”. There are many times we see shell shocked clients that have reached out to a consultant or a marketing firm and received a really grand proposal that’s not only out of their price budget but out of their “talent’ budget as well. This year alone, we’ve signed on 4 clients that have long since abandoned their CRM because they didn’t on board it or commit to training and using it in the organization. Tough questions need to be asked in regards to the manpower and talent in your organization. Who is going to be responsible for implementing, coaching, training and executing a new {insert program here}? Do you need to hire additional talent or how will this impact the responsibilities? Say you’re implementing a new referral system or customer service program, who will write the work flows, scripts or report the results? Consider the impact on your talent resources when you make an investment for strategic gains – do you have the right talent to make the endeavor a success?

The lesson is not to back off the long term or big picture objectives but to build your strategy and invest in your business from where you are now, not where you wish you were, or with the tools and talent you might acquire.

Instead of starting off with the steak and having no knife, you might be better off ordering the mashed potatoes to eat with your plastic spoon.

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!

-sks

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