2012 has undoubtedly been a difficult year for many businesses globally, and 2013 promises to present further challenges to negotiate. Here are 5 critical factors that will be crucial in determining the success of your business in the coming year. Getting these strategies correct, will greatly enhance the probability of a strong 2013 results:
It is all too easy to assume that the road to revenue growth begins with developing and managing a large client portfolio. However this is a dangerous path that can ultimately lead to the cardinal sin of over promising and under delivering. Customers want to feel they are your priority – which is difficult to ensure if you have taken them on as a back up to focus accounts. A clear customer strategy, which includes a targeted approach to customer selection, will identify those customers that present a mutual match up in commercial goals. Working hard to bring these clients on board or to expand your current opportunity with them will be more rewarding.
Align your goals
Business strategy falls apart when the different tiers of a corporate hierarchy have unrelated goals – the sales team are focussed on driving market share (quantity) whilst the Board are looking to improve the value of the business sold (quality). Successful business strategy will ensure that all the links in the chain will be operating towards a common goal and that there is accountability and responsibility for delivery at each stage and with a regular review programme.
It’s not hard to see that an engaged and motivated workforce will get more out of even the most challenging trading conditions. It is also easy to see that in more difficult business cycles the focus on staff engagement can easily be forgotten in the maelstrom of cost control and output management. But staff engagement does not need to be expensive – investing time in communicating the company business plan, delivering structured and focused personal development plans and investing in desk side coaching can be delivering with minimal expenditure. If you need to look at engaging through reward ensure you are rewarding the behaviours that can be achieved in current climate and will lead to business success.
It is crucial to ensure that staff retention rates remain high during challenging business conditions – you are more likely to weather the storm with current staff when even the most experienced of hires will take time to learn your practices and processes. Often the key to growth is continuity so identifying those staff you want to maintain, investing in their development and motivating them with strong engagement strategies will pay dividends in the longer term.
Employees will always reflect the attitudes perceived in their Management or Executive team so it’s essential to ensure that the right messages are being sent out by that top team. Communication (both verbal and non verbal) should be positive and realistic and focused on delivering achievable results. Show the business that “we will get through this” and celebrating even small wins will encourage the team to strive for better results.
Matt Gascoigne is Executive Director at Badenoch & Clark, a global professional staffing firm.