Are You Ambitious To Get More From Your Business?
By David Molian, Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield
Many aspire, few achieve. Over a four-year period we studied the accounts of 15,000 independent UK businesses with turnovers between £1mn and £50 mn. Fewer than 2% consistently grew sales and profits by 25% and provided a decent return on capital employed. How do the high-achievers manage to create a great business out of a good business? Here are ten lessons we’ve learned from working with nearly 1,300 ambitious owner-managers at Cranfield for more than twenty years.
Lesson 1: You really have to want to grow. Growth does not happen to the half-hearted. It’s...
...the difference between involvement, and commitment. Think back to the last time you had bacon and egg. The chicken was involved, but the pig was definitely committed!
Lesson 2: Successful businesses know where they are going and write it down — and not just on the back of an envelope. They have clear plans and well-articulated goals.
Lesson 3: Don’t diversify too early. Most fast-growth SMEs achieve success through selling more of what they currently do to their existing customers and others who are like them.
Lesson 4: Be a “profit” in your own land. Too many businesses think only in terms of growing sales — and do so at the expense of margins.
Lesson 5: Grow up as an organisation. Just as people mature, so must organisations. Managing growth means implementing the necessary changes to systems, structures and processes.
Lesson 6: Stop solving other people’s problems and/or meddling in jobs you pay others to do. It’s really hard to change one’s behaviour, but often the boss is the biggest impediment preventing the organisation from moving forward.
Lesson 7: And become a strategist. A business leader has three basic tasks: to run today’s business; to make today’s business better; and to... continued on page two >