Design Challenge

Hamish Mexted Odds & Ends

Every business owner has partly formed ideas rattling around in their head. Most have plans which don’t quite get completed. Some know that there’s a different business strategy to follow but don’t quite know what it is. We’re no different ourselves.

This noise or clutter can mean businesses operate with either an intentional design behind what they do, or by leaving things to chance and letting whatever happens happen.

What other see in your business, and what you feel

From the outside, a business coach might say you need a business plan, or need to spend more time working on your business and not in it *. We’d agree – in some cases this is accurate. A clear value proposition, values and your “why” is important.

From the inside though, it’s more important for us that business owners feel like you’re making progress on the partly formed ideas in your head, finish the uncompleted plans and develop those business strategies. This is more important than a fully formed business plan**.

Those ideas, plans and strategies clutter your days. Ultimately the clutter distracts from your end goal (if you have one), holding you back.

Here’s an example. A busy business owner thinks that when they grow and hire a new staff member, they’ll have more time to work “on, not in” their business. They’re chasing scale to make their working-life better. What they often find is that they’re then busy managing HR issues, cashflow problems to pay wages, and want to go back to being a one-man-band.

Instead, by unpacking the clutter in their thoughts (achieving clarity in why they’re hiring the employee), they’re able to hire the right employee to do the right job, at the right time for the size and stage of the business.


What you might do

So it’s all well and good to say you need to unpack the clutter in your thinking to get clarity in your business. Here’s some tangible things you can do to make progress:

  1. Understand where you’re sitting on the Business Growth Curve. This will help you understand what’s made your business successful to date, and what you need to change to reach the next level of your business.
  1. Work out what your financial goals should be. Sure, we all want to make more money, but that’s a relatively unfulfilling goal (you’ll never reach the end). Instead, clear goals with a deliberate idea of what figures you want to hit helps drive satisfaction.
  1. Calculating the lifetime value of your customers can help you see who is (and isn’t) valuable to your business. This can thin out the type of customers you chase, giving you a clearer strategy of where to spend your marketing dollar.
  1. It’s important to understand the assumptions you’re making about your business (including your staff, suppliers, customers, partners and importantly yourself). This understanding can help illuminate blind spots that you hadn’t seen previously, leading to new innovations in your business.

In the end having a goal, target or plan is only 20% of the struggle towards growth and success. The other 80% comes from your implementation and execution of what you do. As we all know though, the 20% is just as important as the 80%.


Where to next?

As a starting point, work through what your customers are worth to your business (you can read more here). Alternatively, check out where you sit on the Business Growth Curve here, or look at what we think good business design looks like here.

Alternatively, feel free to give us a call. We’re happy to grab coffee and run through how we can help you work through some of these issues.

At iif Chartered Accountants we’re helping Wellington businesses make accounting simple, to improve their business design, to manage their profitability and cashflow, and ultimately build more wealth. If you know anyone who could benefit from taking to us, we’d love it if you could send them a link to our website. Better still, get them to give us a call.


* If this is you, don’t feel too bad. There’s an argument for spending more time working in your business not on it (yes, the other way around). That’s a topic for another day.

** These generally gather dust sitting on a shelf and never get looked at.