My brain is full up – there I said it! In our personal lives, there has never been so much data coming at us from all directions daily.
Whether it be things we choose to access such as 24 hours news, social media or WhatsApp groups or content we have no control over like emails, advertising the likelihood is that it’s going to keep on coming!
When turning to our day jobs we know it’s vital for growing businesses to access information to make better decisions. The right choices well implemented promote further progress but ill-informed decisions and poor implementation will lead to problems.
In our experience working with SME businesses owners, this is an area where there is NOT an abundance of robust, timely and clear information easily available for the right people to access. Why is this?
In our view, this is primarily down to two reasons:
- Much of the necessary information needed for the business to function is retained within the heads of the owners (and their trusted lieutenants)
- The information simply does not exist!
We know successful owners create businesses that place them in a strong position to move forward. This requires systems and people you can trust and that free up time. The goal is to create a business that is efficient and automated to the point that it enables the owner to focus on the activities that move the business forward to a chosen and positive future.
So what can businesses owners do to help themselves?
1. Define what you want
What does the right information look like for your business? The best thing to do is write it down and ask your team for their views on “what would make it easier to do my job better?” What they really want may surprise you. . Do not forget about non-financial measures too.
2. Fix bad processes first
Start with making sure the flow of information is right before attempting to put in new IT systems. Otherwise, you will be looking to optimise a sub optimal situation. Why not map what happens now in your organisation and ask what people currently do with information they receive.
We recently asked 10 managers of a client’s business this question about a daily emailed report. The responses ranged from “I run the report myself again” to “I don’t know what it is” to “Delete”.
3. Embrace technology
After considering what you want, then decide how you want to access it. Many Cloud based applications enable people to stay connected to what matters without being sat behind a desk. In addition, Artificial Intelligence is coming much more into view with informed owners recognising how routine tasks can be automated to free up people to work on things that really add value.
Many owners want reference points on what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. Broaden your thoughts from being internally focused to also obtaining external information in a systematic way. This could be market size, your competitors and what they are doing, and what are the new opportunities that need exploiting
5. Keep it simple
In the spirit of this point, just don’t make it complex!
If you are looking for some further reading on the above and other related matters, have a read of our new report https://www.hwca.com/for-love-or-money-tool/one_plan_report.pdf