5 WAYS TO MOVE YOUR BUSINESS FORWARD WITH CONFIDENCE IN Q2

5 Ways To Move Your Business Forward With Confidence In Q2

5 Ways To Move Your Business Forward With Confidence In Q2

In his poem ‘To A Mouse,’ the Scottish poet Robert Burns wrote: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” The inspiration for this poem came as Burns was ploughing in the fields and accidentally destroyed a mouse nest, which it needed to survive the winter.

Events this year remind us that that our best-laid plans can go easily awry. Sometimes through no fault of our own. Other times because of our own missteps. The Parkland students’ lives will never be the same after a mass shooting that took the lives of 17 of their friends and teachers.

Unbowed and undaunted, they've funneled their grief, anger and frustration into organising the largest youth march in a generation. And catapulting on to the world stage a mass movement to achieve common sense gun control. Right now, as I’m writing this article, young people from across Wisconsin are marching the 50 miles to Speaker Paul Ryan’s hometown, Janesville, in a homage to Martin Luther King’s Selma march in 1965 (when marchers demanded an end to discrimination in voter registration). Do follow 50 Miles More over on Twitter.

Nor will Facebook ever be the same, after a series of missteps which have their roots in a corporate failure to protect customer data (following a 2011 FTC ruling). Not to mention unbelievably bad corporate governance practices. This story is unfolding quickly as the stock value drops, investors like Nordea (one of Europe’s biggest banks) have put Facebook’s shares in quarantine, representatives of the British advertising industry meet with company executives and pressure for regulation intensifies. I’m tracking events, as they unfold, over on my Twitter feed. With yet another PR gaffe reported in Vanity Fair, there’s no sign this crisis will end any time soon. Read: Zuckerberg Hits Users With The Hard Truth – You Agreed To This.

[callout]If you’d like help with your business growth strategy or cash flow forecast, you can download my brochure with details of my business coaching and mentoring services HERE. If you’d like to talk to me directly, or book a 1 hour ‘Instant Business Advice’ session, simply e-mail me to arrange a ‘coffee chat.[/callout]

MAKE SURE YOUR PLANS DON'T GO AWRY

The very best way of ensuring that our business plans don’t go awry are to (a) have a plan in the first place, (b) do some scenario planning to consider what might possibly derail these plans, and then (c) put in place a contingency plan. None of this is that hard. Unfortunately too many business owners don’t take these simple steps. Even it seems Facebook.

As we approach the second quarter of 2018, here are 5 ways you can make sure you move into the spring and summer months with confidence in your business.

1. GET CRYSTAL CLEAR ON YOUR VALUES

Values are more vital now than ever in business. Our values provide evidence of exactly how we’re different from our competition. On 24 March, Lyft lived its valuesby offering rides, up to a value of $1.5 million, so that students and their parents could get to a March For Our Lives. This decision was a direct result of Lyft’s values – “to be a model for the type of community we want our world to be: diverse, inclusive, and safe.” When you’re crystal clear on your values, these kinds of decisions are straightforward.

Commenting in the New York Times in relation to the developing Facebook scandal, Dov Seidman, CEO of LRN, a consultancy which helps companies and leaders build ethical cultures, and the author of the book, “How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything” says

… sustainable values are what anchor us in a storm, and because values propel and guide us when our lives are profoundly disrupted. They help us make the hard decisions.” Hard decisions abound, because everything is now connected. “The world is fused. So there no place anymore to stand to the side and claim neutrality - to say, ‘I am just a businessperson’ or ‘I am just running a platform.”

2. DEVELOP YOUR LEADERSHIP MUSCLE

In a recent article for Fortune magazine, Dov Seidman writes:

Authentic leaders don’t stop learning and growing just because they’ve accumulated formal authority in an organization. They continue to build moral muscle - I call it “going to the moral gym” - by wrestling with questions of right and wrong, fairness and justice, what serves others and what doesn’t….

This isn’t about not making mistakes. We all make them. (A lot.) Rather, it’s about what we do and say after those failures and shortcomings. It’s about how authentically we apologize and make amends. Those with moral authority challenge themselves - and ask whether the mistake came from a deviation of principle or, perhaps, as the direct result of a misguided strategy. Moral leaders pause. They continually ask if what they’re doing - or what their company or organization is doing—is compatible with their purpose and mission”.

Facebook’s current problems are in no small part due to its business model. But they’re also the result of a leadership problem. We’re at a moment when Mark Zuckerberg (and Sheryl Sandberg) have an opportunity to step up and lead. Or continue on their current path and cement their reputations as the stewards of one of the worst handled business crises in modern business history. Follow my Twitter thread to keep up with the latest developments.

3. CARRY OUT A PESTLE ANALYSIS

A PESTLE Analysis is a simple analytical tool that is used to analyse the macro-environmental (external marketing environment) factors that have an impact on a business or organisation. The result of this analysis is used to identify threats and weaknesses which are then fed into your SWOT analysis. PESTLE stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors.

You should carry out a PESTLE analysis as part of your annual business planning process. But it’s also something you should also keep under regular review. At the end of each quarter is usually sufficient.

If you do use Facebook as a key part of your marketing strategy, now is a good time to review this in light of the developing scandal. Ask yourself:

  • How reliant is your business on Facebook for brand awareness and sales?

  • Do you have an established presence on a second platform?

  • How do your customers feel about Facebook? Are some of them thinking about leaving the platform altogether?

Where social media is a key part of their marketing strategy, I’m advising all my clients to manage their exposure to Facebook, and to develop their presence on a second platform. With more than 31,000 Twitter followers myself, you can see why I decided to turn more of my attentions to this platform since the Facebook scandal broke.

4. BUILD OUT YOUR CASH FLOW FORECAST

I’ve had all my clients build out their cash flow forecast for the whole of 2018, based on the best information they have available, including historical records. This way, they’ve been able to see exactly where the pinch points are during the course of the year, and adapt their sales and marketing plans accordingly. These pinch points might come in the summer, or after the Christmas holidays, or both. Forewarned is forearmed.

[callout]If you’d like help with your business growth strategy or cash flow forecast, you can download my brochure with details of my business coaching and mentoring services HERE. If you’d like to talk to me directly, or book a 1 hour ‘Instant Business Advice’ session, simply e-mail me to arrange a ‘coffee chat.[/callout]

5. PLAN OUT YOUR SUMMER MARKETING CAMPAIGN

A benchmark report by RJMetrics found June, July and August are the slowest months (after February) for sales and each month accounts for between 7.8 and 8% of a business’ annual revenue. Business is slow during these months - partly because there are no major gift-giving celebrations going on and partly because a large proportion of us take time away from our laptops and devices to enjoy a proper holiday.

One option is to follow Amazon’s example and run a mid-July sale. Last year, Amazon’s Prime Day Sale was their biggest ever day for sales, surpassing the previous year by more than 60%. If you are intending to plan a sale, be sure to commit fully! It takes a huge, concerted effort to ensure potential customers know that it’s happening.

I’ll be looking at successful summer marketing campaigns in more detail next month.

Question: What were your key business and/ or leadership lessons in Q1? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share let me know in the comments box below.

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ABOUT DENYSE

For those of you who are new to my work, I’m Denyse Whillier a former CEO turned business consultant, writer and speaker. I’ve more than 25 years’ experience of running businesses, mentoring leaders, leading large staff teams and managing multi-million pound budgets. I trained at Cranfield School of Management, the UK’s leading business school and am an accredited business mentor with the Institute of Enterprise & Entrepreneurship.

If you’d like to find out how I can help with your business growth strategy, you can download my brochure with details of my business coaching and mentoring services HERE. If you’d like to talk to me directly, simply e-mail me to arrange a ‘coffee chat.’