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So, you have your own business or you are thinking of starting one?

The quote “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there” is very true.  Whether you’re thinking of starting up, or whether you’re an established business, your business’s direction forms the key foundation of your business plan and the road that you take.  So, I am going to take you back a step  and  focus on not just a Business Plan but something a bit more in depth, that can help you nail down  what your business looks and feels like, your team values, your customer service proposition and more, that helps to set your Business’s Direction, who you are, what you and your business stands for and sets the firm foundation of your business plan.

So, who am I and why do you care!  My name is Emma Cole, and I am a Business Coach. I feel passionately about helping and supporting business owners to find more business success, greater enjoyment and happiness.  Not just for them but also for their team, their customers and others that they influence.

I know…no one ever said they needed a business coach! This is true but most top performers didn’t get there on their own. Just like sports professionals, all of them have coaches. This is because whilst most sports stars have a good degree of natural capability themselves, they all needed some external help to perform to their full potential. It’s the same for business owners. Whilst many are great at what they do, it’s also true that most haven’t had much professional training or guidance on how to run or grow a business. Many business owners are fabulous technicians and start their business with many hopes, dreams and aspirations but it’s a sad fact that many don’t achieve their initial original utopic vision.

My back ground is retail, so when I started my own retail business, I thought that I was well qualified, and that this business owner malarkey was going to be a piece of cake. Well, I had lots of experience of being a successful employee and business driver but doing all of that and more as a business owner…that I had to learn.  One of my greatest learns was deciding and really nailing what my business direction was and making sure everyone within my business and customers alike, knew who I was, what I did and how they should feel when they dealt with me. This was my starting point for getting my business to work for me and not the other way around.

Now, deciding your business direction isn’t just about writing a plan for banks or investors to get behind. It’s about deciding who you are, what you will stand for, what’s your purpose, what is going to make someone come to you and why. 

Do you have a purpose? what is a purpose and why would you need one? Well purpose or mission is about clearly stating what it is you do and why and who are you doing it for. Are you trying to get more people cycling and enjoying outdoor space, make cities greener, keep people moving, build a more sustainable world, or something else? It’s about really nailing what it is your business does and how you operate.

As a rough rule, purpose or vision statements are normally anywhere between 1 and 3 sentences and generally not more than 100 words. When you are creating your purpose avoid the common trap of trying to summarise everything you do as a business in a generic way. For instance, everyone wants to deliver great customer service, that’s just a given and not enough in terms of the essence of what you do and how. It needs to have some personality and feeling, not full of jargon or over used buzz words. Some great examples are. Amazon, “To be the Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavours to offer its customer the lowest possible prices.”  Nike’s is, “Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. *  * If you have a body, you are an athlete.” As a consumer you are in no doubt as to what these guys do!

Once you have your purpose, you can get your company culture into place. This follows the same vein of digging into the feel and experience of being part of your team. This really helps in terms of the team knowing and understanding what their part is within your business, how they should treat one another and then how customers will be treated when they use your services, or when they have a complaint.  These are the things that inspire your team to come to work for you, makes it easier to hire new team members that fit within your culture and that there’s a higher purpose other than money alone.   

Think about developing a service statement. This highlights to customers what it will feel and look like when they deal with you. It may take the form of, “when you buy from us, we will do…” or “If you’re not happy with your item, we will make it easy for you to return it by…” Publishing a Service Statement on your website, social media platforms and within the store will help customers really understand you and your business and let them understand what they can expect.

Creating a purpose, a culture for your team and a service statement for your customers helps to cement your business firmly in your customer’s minds.

People love to buy from people that share the same values. By sharing yours, customers and clients get to buy into you, which in turn, helps drive loyalty from them and a sense of community and belonging. 

Once you have your direction, feed it into your plan with your financials, SWOT analysis and projections. It will provide you with a far more meaningful, robust and live document that will help move you forward and let your team, customers and financial backers really understand and value what you’re about. Break it down into smaller pieces and create milestones that clearly demonstrate progress. Have a ‘BHAG’- A Big Hairy Audacious Goal, something great to strive for but a bit of a stretch that feels like it means something to you. Once you have nailed your direction everything else you do should hang off that.

You don’t have to be thinking about starting you own business, you could be running one already. The same rules apply, by having a business direction, you’ll help propel your business forward faster or further.

 So, my top tips on Business Direction, Culture and why people should choose you.

  • Find your purpose and why it’s important beyond taking money alone.
  • Get a sense of what your team culture is. What does it feel like to work here? Ask your team why they work for you, it might surprise you.
  •  Do you know who your customers are? How many different types there are? Who uses all your different services or buys different types of products from you? Make them all real by making an avatar of them.
  • Tell your customers how you will deal with them, how it will feel and why you might go that extra mile.
  • Write a plan! Even if it’s written on the back of a cardboard box!
  • Establish where you are right now and where it is you want to get to. Is it developing what you’ve already got, opening another store or world domination!

You can still have a successful, profitable business without having a business direction, a team culture and a service statement but by having them and sharing them, I believe you will increase your success level, become even more profitable and hopefully enjoy your business more! This is what it did for me.

I feel so passionate about helping and supporting business owners to find more business success, greater enjoyment and happiness, not just for them, but for their team and for their customers, that I am offering a free 90 minute, no obligation, discovery call to see how I can help you. Contact me at:

emmacole@growthcoach.co.uk

mobile number 07769651020 or visit my website ec.growthcoach.co.uk

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