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October 2011 Edition   

Founder's Monthly Message



Without a doubt, growing a business is the prime objective of all key decision makers of small or mid-size businesses. In essence, sometimes it is the only goal.

On the surface, the growth of businesses may appear to be different from sector to sector, yet in reality all businesses in various industries follow the same coherent and well known principles.

Additionally, 
during the process of growing a business to its full potential, all businesses face similar challenges in nature to an extent. Accordingly, one way or the other all will need similar remedies in either overcoming an obstacle or breaking through it.
 
To ensure a positive business growth, the logical steps that businesses need to adhere to and follow precisely are simple, yet extremely critical. Furthermore, it has been experienced over and over that many businesses may not exhibit the necessary patience in adhering to all prescribed steps and may devise unnecessary shortcuts. Yet it has been proven repeatedly that shortcuts are much different from an accelerated plan and in case of shortcut, time is wasted, unnecessary additional cost is to be burned and quality is highly undermined.

Also, to ensure success, a coherent strategic plan is required to embody all the activities. Moreover, it is important that the corresponding strategic plan includes an achievable scope and realistic milestones and has a mechanism for measuring time, cost and quality of the overall growth at each and every milestone.

In a more realistic approach, the entire process is required to be subdivided into logical and attainable phases, where closure of a phase signals reaching a milestone and initiates the start of a new one. Additionally, phases are required to be time bound with a well defined start and finish date.

In other words, to ensure the success in growing a business, one may view the entire process as a project. In doing so, the corresponding strategic plan must be mapped out as a project plan with all required elements such as charter, stakeholders, scope, phases, milestones and many other ones.

Now, since every well defined and managed project is time bound, quality driven and cost controlled, a business growth strategic plan may follow the same principle.

Generally, what may ensure fulfilling the scope of the project is the element of gates or a feedback system. By incorporating a gate system, the level of performance of every step of a project may be measured and evaluated from time, cost and quality perspectives.

In summary, without trying to increase the complexity of this subject, we need to devise a strategic plan for growth of a business and control its elements to the best of abilities. Of course, during the processes, one may run into both foreseen and unforeseen challenges. Yet, what makes a successful growth separate from other ones is adherence to the main principles of time, cost and quality.

So, I would sincerely hope that the issues and key points discussed in this article assist you and your business with the essentials of growing your business.
 
Sincerely,

Rahmat Ushaksaraei

t: 416 - 275 - 5543
e:
Rahmat.Ushaksaraei@accrete.ca
w: business support initiative



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off-site business seminar versus an on-site one!

In an ever shifting global market, inevitably knowledge of existing business best practices is the key factor for the survival and growth of small and mid-size businesses.

Although in the age of information technology, internet has been a great resource, to date, it has not been an alternative for a concise information, which are offered in a focused and interactive business seminar and/or training.

Yet, considering the value of time for small and midsize businesses and specially their key decision makers, it makes it somehow impractical to sometimes travel across a city, sit in a room with strangers and interactively discuss very confidential and internal business matters.


Alternatively, if a business is furnished with an option for complimentary in-house business seminar and/or training for its key people, not only the business will gain the necessary knowledge without compromising the business confidentiality, but also time-wise it will only be investing what is actually necessary.

Now, as a key decision maker, are you in favour of On-Site or and Off-Site business seminar/training?

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Growth of a business; Sporadic versus Controlled!

When it comes to the issue of growing a business, the topic maybe viewed from two different macro level perspectives:

i- Sporadic Business Growth
ii- Controlled Business Growth

Since we all may understand the growth aspect, to perhaps appreciate the difference, let us dwell on the meanings of the key words of Sporadic and Controlled:

Sporadic: Occurring at irregular intervals; having no pattern or order in time.
Controlled: To exercise authoritative or dominating influence over, to adjust to a requirement, to hold in restraint.

Although self explanatory, the key difference is non-directional versus directional approach. In a more practical term related to a business it is the difference between an unorganized approach versus a strategically planned one.

Now, the main question for every key decision maker's mind may be that as long as the business is growing, why should one worry about how and why?!

Although a legitimate question, the response lies in the impact that such growth will have in the future sustainability of the business.

As one may recall, the simplest building blocks of a business are People-Process-Information1. When a business grows, it impacts the balance between these fundamental elements. In a more practical term, as a business grows:

a- Number of People within the business may increase.
b- The existing process may be redefined and get more complicated or new ones may be added.
c- The nature and complexity of exchanged information internally and externally may be impacted.

So, in a sporadic business growth one or all of the three elements of People, Process and Information may be impacted totally in an uncontrolled fashion. To present the issue in a more realistic way:

- Remember the time that one was hired or an expertise was acquired by your business in rush and just out of short term necessity and without considering the overall impact to the your business. In a reverse situation, remember the time that despite an increase in the demand, you were not able to afford hiring the right people or getting the required expertise.
- Recall purchasing a service, machinery, software, equipment, building..., which was not budgeted for and really impacted your cash flow and the overall financial stability.
- Dwell on a time that exchange and flow of information either internally or externally was inadequate and out of control to a point that impacted your employees and/or your clients and suppliers.
- Think of a moment in your business, where the business, its people and resources spread so thin in supporting your clients or suppliers that simple fluctuations in the elements of People, Process or Information impacted the stability of your business and the level of your client's and or supplier's confidence in you and your business.
- and many more...

So, in a sense not only no one objects to an accelerated or exponential growth of a business, but also we all strive to achieve it. Yet, what categorizes a business growth as a sporadic one is its expansion in all direction without a plan and at any cost. Trust me on this issue that in my role as a business coach and advisor, I have seen many cases, which arguably categorized as business growth, yet resulted in catastrophe; so be warned!

Now, the question is that in contrast to Sporadic Business Growth, how do we ensure a Controlled one?

As discussed in many occasions, the simplest solution is in planning and strategic planning. As one may know, beyond the simplest building blocks of People, Process and Information, the stability of a business is supported by a tripod structure namely CSA (Cash/Finance, Sales/Marketing, Administration)2.


In this regard, a business growth is considered controlled, if and only if, all three elements of CSA are accounted for, planned for and modified simultaneously and in coordination with respect to each other.

To show the benefit of a controlled approach, in the simplest terms, let us consider a case, where as it is  the wish of every key decision maker, the sales of a business increases resulting in the increase of the cash flow within a business:

- Such immediate increase will automatically increase the business interactions internally and externally. Unless accounted for and planned accordingly upfront to adjust the Administration side of the business to be able to handle the increased load, the existing system, people, process and information may be spreading too thin and therefore break at any point. Automatically, it will result in unsatisfied internal and external customers.
- Such immediate increase will require a more sophisticated cash and finance management, where it needs to compensate for the increased cost due to increased financial interaction with the suppliers and service providers and possible impact on the business overhead. If not planned for strategically and upfront, it creates confusion and chaos. Simultaneously, the increased cash flow must be used for re-investing in the business and/or paying the accumulated debt down. Once again, if not handled properly, it will increase the overall financial liability of the business.
- Such immediate increase must be used as an opportunity in increasing and stabilizing a larger market share. Accordingly, if viewed from a strategic point of view, the opportunity must be exploited to its full potential and necessary marketing plan must be devised and executed to strengthen the market presence.
- And many more...

In any event and for any aspect of the CSA, within the parameter of a Controlled Business Growth, it is mandatory:

- To investigate the current status of the People-Process-Information.
- To plan strategically for the future status of the People-Process-Information.
- To develop gates and mechanism that allows controlling the possible impacts on the People-Process-Information adequately and proactively.

Without such planning, what a business may be harboring is a volcano of shortfalls, where at its point of eruption destabilizes a business to its point of breakage.

As final thoughts, the issues that you may need to consider are that a key decision maker must treat a business growth as a Project with a well defined Scope:

- If viewed as such, a key decision maker is required to play the role of main stakeholder ensuring a proper charter has been developed. The charter must define all key elements of the project, its attainable goal(s) and macro overview of roles and responsibilities.
If viewed as such, a key decision maker is to ensure that a detailed strategic plan with defined and realistic phases and milestones is prepared.
- If viewed as such, a key decision maker is to be conscious of the three main elements of Time, Cost and Quality for each phase and overall throughout the project.

So, considering the discussion above:

- Historically, what is the practiced method of the business growth in your business, Sporadic or Controlled?
- Historically, what has been your success rate in growing your business and simultaneously maintaining its stability?
- How familiar are you with necessary elements of a Controlled Business Growth?

If in doubt, do not worry as there is a solution!

To get you started, prepare a one-page summary of responses to the four fundamental questions, contact me directly and let's have a business chat!

1- People-Process-Information methodology has been developed by Rahmat Ushaksaraei - All Rights Reserved.
2- CSA (Cash/Finance, Sales/Marketing, Administration)
methodology has been developed by Rahmat Ushaksaraei - All Rights Reserved.


About the author: Rahmat Ushaksaraei is an Accredited Associate of the Institute for Independent Business (IIB), Founder of GeBTL, Global executive Business & Trade Links, the only global top level executives' business platform, Founder of Bio Wood Pellet, representing the North American producers of the wood pellet in the global market, President of the accrete, The Business Excellence Realization , an author, presenter, Professional Engineer (P.Eng.), Project Management Professional (PMP), renowned expert in Concept, Project, Process, Quality and Communication Management,  business executive and leadership coach to large corporations, business mentor and advisor to small and mid-size businesses, pioneer of Diamond Total Management (DTM)business excellence model and Human Intelligence Management (HIM)and Human Emotion Realization (HER)methodologies and architect of the valuator™ and evaluator™ business evaluation tools for small and mid-size businesses. Rahmat Ushaksaraei may be reached at: Rahmat.Ushaksaraei@accrete.ca




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People-Process-Information methodology has been developed by Rahmat Ushaksaraei - All Rights Reserved.
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