19 January 2018
As the business grows, and especially if you have investors involved, conversations with your top team can feel dominated by reviewing performance to date and detailed analysis of the numbers rather than focusing on the strategy for the future and your customers. Balancing the need for constant review of numbers against future goals without losing sight of customer requirements is the key to successful growth.
What’s the end game?
Investors want to know that they are going to maximise their investment, but you need to understand when and how. This can put pressure on SMEs to reduce costs which may impact customer delivery, quality, marketing etc. Make sure that you understand what your investors are looking for. Do they want quick cash or are they looking to build something that will generate a bigger return? Understanding their priorities will help you to manage your business and their expectations.
Profit or proposition?
Be clear about what works. It’s important that you can communicate what you offer, what customers expect and value, and why it works. If the quest for profit negatively impacts who you are and what you offer, then you must challenge it and defend your business strategy. However, there may be times when the push for profit is positive; try to be open-minded and objective and assess whether there are smarter ways of delivering to customers.
Board meeting or finance meeting?
Let’s be honest, you may worry that your strategy meetings are turning into nothing more than financial meetings. Take control and ensure that the board meetings are strategy led, with sound decision-making enabled by the numbers. Ignoring the range of opinions and talents is a huge mistake; by combining forces and challenging each other’s perspectives you could harness your investors’ expertise to create real value. Remember that the disciplines surrounding ROI must be observed, but not at the expense of your customer focus. Your goal is to deliver an outstanding customer experience in the smartest way possible. And that will deliver profit.
- Understand investor priorities
- Match strategy to investor expectations
- View accountants as enablers
- Learn from investor experience
- Focus on your customers
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