Straight Up Business Talk

Business strategy and advice from the team at Straight Talk Group… you’re in the right place to get things Straight.


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Steps Towards Success

Because going backwards down stairs might be great for working out, but it’s not great in your business.

Whatever goal you are trying to achieve, either personally or professionally, it will require you to make positive steps upward.

One of the things I’ve observed in business is that unless we implement a structured approach to locking down business improvements, it’s all too easy to take one step forward only to be knocked two steps back when we least expect it or when our attention is required elsewhere. Sound familiar? The real crux of the problem is sometimes it’s extremely hard to take those steps again.

It’s like rolling a heavy boulder up a staircase—you probably don’t do that a lot, but hopefully you get the analogy. You bust your gut getting the boulder half way up the stairs and then when you tire or you slip, without something to wedge the boulder in the place, it tumbles back down the stairs and more than likely further back than where you started.

Business is exactly the same. You bust your gut, day in, day out, only for the boulder to roll back down the stairs when you least expect it. Maybe the roof blew off your office. Maybe a valuable staff member left the team. Perhaps one of your “steps upward” was implemented and maintained by only one person, and that person moved to Kenya to pursue a career as a psychologist for Lions. With every step towards a better business you need to wedge that individual initiative firmly in place so it doesn’t budge.

The wedge quite simply is a system. How can you make sure that the positive change you’ve created is maintained, regardless of external influencers? Today, I want you think about change for the better that you’ve affected in your business, what could cause that step to be undone, and how you can protect and insure the effort that you put into that change.

Accountability is a crucial part of this equation, and the reason that our clients demonstrate far better success when it comes to maintaining their steps forward. If you choose to hold all the weight of making decision and maintaining procedures and outcomes in your business by yourself, you have far less chance of not “dropping the ball”. A business coach is a great resource for business owners to utilise for this purpose  (and you can count on them remaining focussed on your business – not on large depressed felines who’s sobs can be heard from another continent) , or perhaps you could consider a mentor, or someone else within your business to fill these shoes.

Afterall, there is nothing more frustrating than letting hard work go to waste!

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The Nature of a Business is to Grow

You may have gathered by now that I often speak about a business as though it is an entity with a life path and complex needs and emotions. Well, today I’m painting a portrait of a typical business’ life over time, and I would like you to ask of yourself: is your business thriving, or just surviving?

When you look at my highly technical scrawl , you’ll see that in business we are looking for results that increase over time. Let me clarify: by results I mean what you want me to mean – profit; unless you are running a hobby business which was never intended as a money spinner – here you might see the results increase in terms of flexibility, cost of goods or the number of hours required to run the business. In short, the natural state of a business: to grow.

This straight line is what we see if we’re squinting at a business we don’t know from really, really far away. For those of you who are business owners, the truth would already be clear to you – this line has a few bumps in it! These are what we like to  call “decision points”. These are times when you and your business need to adapt to the current market conditions in order to keep progressing on that upwards line.

Within these “bumps in the road” there are actually 3 directions that your business’ journey could head in, as you see below.

Firstly, You might adapt, change, or sort out a problem and keep improving.

Secondly,  you could keep pace with market change, but always feel like you are continuously playing catchup, just one step behind  (in this situation you are tracking along the straight line)

Thirdly you could fail to harness the power of the opportunity for change (because with the right mindset and attitude that is what these bumps in the road are – an opportunity) and head downwards.

As a small business owner one of the key advantages you have over larger businesses or organizations is the ability to respond to changes in the market quickly and decisively – the question is though, what are you doing about it?

Remember: “It is not the strongest, or the smartest that survives. It is the most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin