I was facilitating a stimulating event for the IoD yesterday with about 28 Owner Managers of SME businesses ranging from multi million pound turnover businesses to solo Consultancies in a broad range of markets.

We were asking ourselves the question: ‘What will you do differently to make the most of the recovery in the UK economy?’ The insights, experiences and suggestions shared were all excellent. 2 of my favourites are set out below, along with a golden nugget of business insight from a seriously successful business friend:

Never waste the learning from a good recession

On the principle that one should ‘Never waste a good recession’ it is vitally important to recollect, recognise and record all the key decisions, strategies and actions that we made which ensured our success to date.

This business intelligence is far too important to just live in our fading memory as we navigate towards the future. It is part of what makes our business strong. It needs to be explicitly recorded and the lessons learned needs to be built into the DNA of our business not just our brain cells.

This is a key business process which is often overlooked. It is foundational to becoming a learning organisation, embedding a culture of continuous process improvement / Lean / Kaizen. But the bottom line is that it just makes good business sense.

Value the Value you add to your customers

All recessions and all crises cause us to focus on value. We do this instinctively as consumers.

Most of the successful businesses that survived this recession to date have done this. Some, of course have just been lucky and some are probably Zombies but most of the good businesses have deliberately focused on Value over the past few years.

Now is the time to deliberately revisit our Value Propositions.

This is not an intellectual exercise based upon internal conversations. We need to know what our customers want and rebuild our Business Model to profitably deliver the value that our customers will readily buy.

Note, I wrote Business Model, not Business Plan

In my experience, working through a robust Business Model Framework trumps writing a Business Plan every time. You can experiment with and flex a model and see the impact much more clearly than you can in a Document and Excel based plan.

I facilitate a lot of Business Model working sessions with my clients as they work through their thinking and planning for the future. Here is an example of the Business Model Canvas framework I use. It was created by a hero of mine, Alex Osterwalder who, in addition to being a highly intelligent and gifted business person, is incredibly generous in sharing his knowledge online. See more here.

Feel free to get in touch if you think this service would be useful to your team.

A golden nugget from a seriously successful business friend

After the mindshare part of the meeting yesterday evening I was sharing a glass of wine with Chris Clapham, the flying force behind ACC Aviation Ltd

We were sharing sales war stories and he told me about the best App in the world….

‘The best App in the world is an Appetite for Success’ (Click here to tweet)

What insights, suggestions and tips would you add to ensure success as we move into economic recovery?

Till next time…

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