I have had 2 main phases in my own career to date. They have both taught me a great deal about the DNA of business.
Here’s what I know to be true….
Starting out in the world of Financial Services, or Consumer / Motor Finance to be more specific, I gradually worked my way up the greasy pole. You can read more about that journey here if you like (READ MORE) but stay with me for now.
After many happy years, working with some great people, the fire burning in my belly insisted I set up my own business and this is where phase 2 began on the journey of a Small Business Owner, and as many of you reading this will know I started the “imaginatively” named Adam Butler Consultancy.
We now work with 2 main “groups” of businesses, Financial Services businesses and SME’s who are enjoying accelerated growth.
In the main we work with these 2 groups because it’s what we know best, we can understand their challenges, decipher their “DNA” quickly, and make a fast and effective impact.
Put another way, we understand you and talk your language fluently. We’ve experienced some tremendous highs, and also know what it’s like lying awake at night wondering if the “big deal” will ever land, or if the bills will all be covered this month.
Thankfully it’s more HIGH than LOW these days, but you’ll know what I mean when I say the memory is a powerful tool!
It’s very interesting to me that regardless of business type, the fundamentals are exactly the same. To use an analogy; regardless of whether you speak Spanish, Italian or Welsh, the DNA foundations of us all are identical.
Every business has 4 key components:
MARKETING – To generate awareness, build profile, and ultimately provide enquiries for…
SALES – To take those enquiries, get out there, and build relationships ultimately leading to the order, which means that….
OPERATIONS (Or “The Factory”) – Now your team of “producers” need to get stuck in to doing the work, underwriting deals, making widgets, adding VALUE and being WORLD CLASS at what you do in return for…..
FINANCE – “Money, Cash, Wonga, Spondoolees, Wedge, Cheddar, Green, Moolar”
Whatever you call it, you won’t be able to sustain your business without it. As the wise old Zig Ziglar once said “Money is not THE most important thing in life, but it’s reasonably close to oxygen on the “gotta have it” scale”
You need a FINANCE team who can keep a track of it, and make sure it’s collected on time, and use it effectively to generate more of it.
Some people argue with me that there are more functions than just these 4. “I.T.” if often mentioned, and “Governance” was once thrown at me, but essentially it’s these 4 disciplines backed up with great LEADERSHIP and direction, that will determine the success of ANY business, regardless of industry, location or size.
But what are the 2 most important factors I mentioned in the article title?
(in my opinion)
Results are critical because they are the only way you can monitor how effective any area of your business is. If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it, ergo it’s going to be very difficult to know if you’ve improved or gone backwards.
By monitoring OUTCOMES / RESULTS you can go about improving through the “aggregation of marginal gains” or even adopting KAIZEN, something the Japanese gave the world and something the TOYOTA manufacturing unit in Deeside, less than a mile from where I am typing this, could teach us lots about.
There’s an interesting link to an article about KAIZEN at the end of this post.
Tracking RESULTS may mean you know where you ended up financially, but do you know how you made people FEEL through the process?
Working out how you make people FEEL is usually the “secret sauce” on the path to becoming WORLD CLASS!
It’s at the core of your BRANDING and POSITIONING, and it is equally critical when developing your EMPLOYER BRANDING and hiring process.
BUT, and it is a big BUT…. Feedback doesn’t always find it’s way to you on its own. You have to ask for it. Regularly.
You have to ask EVERYONE for it:
• Existing Staff
• Unsuccessful applicants
• Your Manager
• Your neighbours
• And of course your CLIENTS
Ask for it repeatedly. Celebrate good feedback, but cherish and be thankful for the BAD.
Find out why and how the bad stuff happened. Measure it against your own values and those of your business. Evaluate it and make sure it never happens again. Share your findings with everyone.
If someone is responsible for bad feedback on a repeated basis, do the right thing, let them go…. You didn’t hire right in the first place.
Develop this FEEDBACK process across your business and hiring strategy and you’ll be amazed and how you impact how people FEEL.
You may need to allow people to contribute anonymously to get to the truth, but that’s easy in this day and age with things like survey monkey.
Just by asking for their opinion they will feel the love…. And that’s where the magic really lies.
I’ve loved writing this and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. Please share, and of course…. Let me know how we are doing? I’d love your feedback!
Here’s that KAIZEN article, and thanks to @JBsandown for sharing it with me.
Adam Butler Consultancy is part of the Adam Butler Group which aslso incorporates EasyOnlineRecruitment.co.uk and Adam Butler Training. We have specialist teams who work with:
• Motor & Consumer Finance Businesses
• SME’s and Fast Growth Businesses
• Local companies in the Chester, North Wales, North West UK area
Our Executive Search and EasyOnlineRecruitment.co.uk offices are based on the outskirts of Chester and we have supported clients throughout the North West as well as the rest of the UK.
You can see more about the various services we provide here:
www.adambutlerltd.co.uk and click on the SERVICES tab