Business Strategy Positioning and Functionality

Running a business should be EASY if you know where you are positioned in the marketplace. But the specifics can make things more complicated.

Do catchy titles in advertising and business buzzwords leave you feeling cold? Do you loathe all the technical jargon out there, like ‘business plans’, ‘cash flows’, ‘working capital’ and ‘succession planning’? Whilst the above terms have relevance we believe they are a byproduct
of a much simpler high-level topic that is much easier to understand.

The highest performing businesses have a Business Strategy and look at every aspect of their business on an ongoing basis. Most of your competitors won’t have a well thought out plan – here’s how you gain a competitive advantage from the outset. There are lots of different parts of a business strategy. However, under the ‘Keep It Simple’ approach, arguably the two most important questions to understand are:
1. Positioning – what is your desired position in the marketplace?
2. Functionality – who does what in your business?

To put things into a sporting context, the All Blacks have been successful again with the World Cup. The All Blacks brand is clearly positioned as one of the premier brands/teams in world rugby. They overachieve, are revered and they fill stadiums around the world as a result.

The All Blacks’ functionality is well understood, as in ‘who does what?’ Steve Hansen is the boss, no question about that, but he doesn’t do everything. He uses a team manager, a dietitian, a mental skills coach, a defence coach, a scrum coach and other mentors. He surrounds himself with experts in particular fields and delegates areas of responsibility to them.

By understanding the functionality within their wider team, they truly help to build their high-performing culture and create great players and ambassadors for the brand.

Understanding how functionality and positioning tie together

There is a familiar catchphrase at Blackler Smith & Co’s marketing meetings: “is this consistent with our positioning?” Everything we do needs to be consistent with our branding and desired market positioning. We don’t, for example, advertise that we simply ‘do the books’. We offer a profoundly higher skill set to our clients than that. Everyone in our firm has specialities and areas of responsibility and we outsource those skills we do not have (in our case, graphic design). We maintain our internal efficiencies and positioning by sticking to what we know best – chartered accounting and business advice.

A perfectionist might not be the right person to get ideas moving fast, but may be the perfect person to check the final product. Use the existing skills in your workplace to your advantage and always, always consider if what you are doing fits the image you are trying to present to the marketplace.

There’s a lot more in-depth work that goes into a strategy session, but over a couple of two hour sessions you should be well on your way.

To enquire about a simple, practical business strategy session please call Ben Blackler or Blair Smith on 04 555 9090 or email info@bsco.co.nz  to learn more about us.

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Buy Well – Part 2

The SWOT Analysis BEFORE you buy

In our post in July we wrote about how to Buy Well when it comes to buying a businesses. Now you’ve found what looks like the ideal business to buy, you’re about to put an offer in. About now, undertaking a SWOT analysis as part of your due diligence before you go unconditional could save you thousands of dollars and give you a wider appreciation of what you are about to leap into.

WHAT’S A SWOT ANALYSIS?

It’s a sound business tool that’s used to highlight the key issues and features of a business, and the environment it operates in. A SWOT analysis gives you a focus for areas you need to concentrate on. It’s part of your strategic analysis.

A SWOT analysis gets you to ask FOUR questions. What are they:
• Key Strengths of this business?
• Key Weaknesses of this business?
• Main Opportunities for this business?
• Main Threats to this business?

Strengths and Weaknesses relate to the business itself. Opportunities and Threats can also refer to issues outside the business.

Sit alone, put your detective hat on and start your thinking under each question. After you’ve done your solo part, ask questions of others in the industry, consider the SWOT of competitors, ask your advisers, your friends and the people currently working for the business. Even ask Google! The more information you can gather, the more knowledge you have to make an informed decision about one of the largest purchases you may ever make. Here are some ideas to get you started:

STRENGTHS:
• What are the key products or services sold?
• What does this business do well?
• What key skills and capabilities are held within the business?
• What are the things this business has going for it?
• What is its USP – it’s Unique Selling Proposition?
• What is the business’s reputation?

WEAKNESSES:
• What are the areas the business may struggle in?
• What aspects of the business don’t appear right, or don’t make sense?
• What needs attention?
• What can be improved on?

OPPORTUNITIES:
• Where can you go with this business if you make some changes?
• How can you put your own personality into it?
• What new products and services you can add or develop?
• What can you do to improve performance?
• What efficiencies can you gain with the current systems/processes?
• What can you do that is not being done now?

THREATS:
• What are the issues that could threaten the business’s financial situation?
• What are the significant changes in this industry that could occur?
• What is changing in the wider marketplace?
• What are the competitors doing, who are they and where are they?

A careful SWOT analysis will alert you to important issues to consider during your due diligence phase of checking the business with eyes wide open before you fully commit to buying it. Remember that “a business which fails to plan, plans to fail”. For help with a SWOT analysis, due diligence and all things business give the experts Ben Blackler and Blair Smith a call for an obligation free chat. Call us on 04 555 9090.

To download the article click here.

 

What’s the one best thing I should do in my business today?

What’s the one best thing I should do in my business today? That’s easy for us to answer – develop or review your strategy. As part of this get familiar with terms like ‘positioning’ and ‘functionality’.

Positioning (how you want your product or service to be perceived) is very powerful. Consider:
• Should I sell X or Y?
• How should I price my products or services?
• Should I employ person Z?

Refer to your positioning and the answers will quickly follow.

Functionality is about whose job it is to do something.

Refine the ‘who does what’ and:
a) You’ll get more done and cover all the bases,
b) You’ll learn to delegate more easily and free up your own time,
c) Employees will have clarity and engagement, and get more done for you.

Strategy is one of our favourite focus areas to help clients with because it pays for itself almost instantly and gets you on the road to where you want to be. Strategy sessions will often work best away from your premises with your business adviser and all decision makers in the room.

To download the article click here.