Small Business Week starts in early September and I have been asked to speak to a group of business owners at breakfast. Luckily, mornings are my best time so the 7:00am start is okay.
At this meeting I am going to explore what it takes to run a balanced business. What do I mean by that?
The simplest way to think about it is to picture a diamond like below. In each corner we have Customers, Finance, Employees and Operations. Now imagine that the line joining the corners is elastic. If you spend a lot of your time concentrating on the financials of your business you could see that the “elastic” is stretched further in that direction. That puts pressure on the other parts of your business.
Practically speaking, you could have the best Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet by cutting back on staff levels, training for staff, capital expenditure on business systems and process design. But, is it possible that maybe your customers could suffer with Service and your staff may look for other opportunities and in the long run you are less efficient because your processes and systems let you down? When you look at the P&L in 6 months time, it may not be so good.
Conversely, you could focus a lot of energy on staff. They could be the best rewarded people and be really well trained. But, they may not be customer focused and may be less effective because your systems and processes dont allow them to succeed.
I think you get the idea. Obviously we have limited time and money and as such focus on a particular aspect of the business moves things along. But, long term focus should be in a balanced way.