If a strategic approach to business is adopted, it is suggested that the following can be done to ensure success in business:
1. The business owner must provide leadership and direction to the business in terms of conduct, professionalism and discipline.
2. Include and consult with staff when developing a business strategy. This will secure their buy-in and give acknowledgment to their value in the business. Often staff is best placed to analyse challenges of the business and understand the needs of customers, because of their experience, knowledge and expertise.
3. Draft a professional business plan. Review and update the business plan regularly to reflect changes in the general, internal and industry environment.
4. Conduct a proper general environmental, industrial and competitive analysis. Critically analyse new opportunities, markets and products and align resources, capabilities and competencies according to respond appropriately to the needs of customers and other stakeholders.
5. Develop a competitive advantage by finding market opportunities that others may have overlooked. This requires innovation and creativity that will position them well ahead competitors in shifting or untapped markets (Hellriegel, Jackson, Slocum, Staude, Amos, Klopper, Louw and Oosthuizen; 2005: 30).
6. Accurately predict the direction that markets are developing into and be ready to serve those markets before others (Hellriegel et al; 2005: 30).
7. Offer higher quality product or service than competitors (Hellriegel et al; 2005: 30). Friendly, courteous and helpful staff is most likely to secure recurring customers. Customers want to feel most important when they enter a business and should be treated as such.
8. Staff needs to know what the benefits are for them. They will rightly expect that an increase in revenue and profits equate to financial or substantial rewards for them.
9. Everybody in the business, including the owner must work hard. Individual efforts must reinforce or add value to the team’s performance.
10.Appoint an experienced facilitator that can objectively facilitate the development of an organisation’s strategy if it does not have internal expertise or competencies.
11.Use time efficiently and effectively. In other words the efforts by all must be directed and focused towards the organisation’s goals. (Hellriegel et al; 2005: 30). A trained and seasoned sales representative or marketer might have a greater positive impact on sales allowing the business owner to focus on leading and directing the entire organisation.
12.Appoint and develop a professional management team that serve the long-term interests of all the stakeholders of the organisation (Hellriegel et al; 2005: 31).
13.Plan properly and prepare for expansion (Hellriegel et al; 2005: 30).
14.As the organisation grows and managing a larger a team more efficiently, the owner must be flexible enough to change managerial styles (Hellriegel et al; 2005: 31). This includes dealing with diversity management and employment equity.
15.Comply with all legislation and policies pertaining to amongst others, broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE), taxation, employment, corporate governance and occupational health and safety. BBBEE includes ownership, management, skills transfer and procurement and forms an important of any successful business strategy in South Africa.
16.Manage the money of the business effectively and efficiently (Hellriegel et al; 2005: 31). Find a good balance between spending on assets and liabilities that ensure sufficient cash flow and savings for a rainy day.
17.The business owner should not take too much money in salary, perks and expenses as it could negatively affect the company’s cash flow.
18.Invest in staff through skills development and formal education.
19.Reward staff in accordance with their level of expertise and knowledge against industry benchmarks. If they do not perform against agreed performance criteria, expose them to professional in-house or external counselling and retraining. If this fails, then institute disciplinary proceedings.
20.Keep proper records of transactions. This assists a business to correctly report on its financial performance and make more accurate forecasts with regard to staffing and skills requirements, sales, market trends, constraints and areas that require improvements.
Motivate and engage employees through acknowledgment, appreciation and validation. Consider and mitigate the impact of work life on family life.
22. Align the expectations of business owners and employees to direct them towards a common mission, vision, goals and objectives.
23. Support and facilitate local initiatives that promote diversity, dialogue, network, support and competition between and among stakeholders. The George Business Chamber offers networking and training opportunities for businesses and does have access to important decision makers and role players locally, provincially and nationally.
24. Develop the skills and educate staff to improve efficiency, product knowledge, innovation, customer relationships and service.
25.Use technology to assist planning, implementation and monitoring. Develop and enhance communication channels for example social media to communicate with external stakeholders.
26. Promote meaningful corporate social investment and BBBEE that are in line with the strategic direction of the organisation.
27. Capitalise on the commitment of Sector Education and Training Authorities (Setas) to investment in the order of R 11,000,000 in the Eden District Municipal area. Access training opportunities for staff via learnerships and internships and reclaim a significant portion of the skills levies paid towards the National Skills Fund (NSF).
28.Promote talent retention through career pathing, mentoring and coaching.
29. Promote reputation management by individuals and the leadership.
30.If the company’s resources allow or expertise is not available internally, procure the services of consultants that can deliver quality results within agreed time frames and costs.
A deliberate strategic approach will go a long way to have a net growth in the number of new business. It does require a holistic and inclusive approach that takes on board the needs and expectations of all stakeholders. This does require a comprehensive and critical analysis of the total environment in which a business is operating. The effective and efficient utilisation of the firm’s internal resources, capabilities and competencies is key to ensuring the optimisation of wealth for the business and its stakeholders, including employees and suppliers.
Businesses can benefit significantly from building and protecting its current position, develop its markets and products and services.
Hellriegel D., Jackson S.E., Slocum J., Staude G., Amos T., Klopper H.B., Louw L., Oosthuizen T.; 2005. Management – Second South African Edition. Oxford University Press, Cape Town, South Africa
Aurick Swartbooi Member of Exco: George Business Chamber
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