A decade of common traits of the companies which really thrive

For over a decade of working with high growth SMEs providing interim management and advisory services, here are some common traits we have discovered of the companies which really thrive;

1. The Important of creating a solid and scalable set of processes

Robust, scaleable and cost effective systems with the right sized processes, which clan then form the basis of your Target Operating Model ( TOM) are crucial to providing a stable foundation for the company. That does not mean these systems should not and cannot evolve with you as you scale nor hinder your growth

2. Understand your customers businesses and listen to them

Go and see customers ( and suppliers) listen to their issues/ their needs and map how you and your company’s products and services can address those issues. The use of a Value Proposition Canvas is a great tool to use for this analysis and discussion

3. Manage investments carefully

Be wise about how you invest your cash and question every piece of expenditure regardless of it being a fixed , variable or one off.

4. Understand the strengthens and weaknesses

A period of self reflection and even a 360 degree review from your peers in order  to identify any gaps in your own skills and abilities and those of your team. You can then consider how you can fill those gaps, and also how you fund it

5. Build a good team around you

Team work, empowerment and collaboration is vital in any successful business. Trust and develop the people around you, inspire and lead them.. BUT always understand what value they create

6. Hire an experienced board in your industry (and wider)

A strong Chair and a number of paid and unpaid Non-Executive Directors can add value and help fill a weakness or gap in the senior management team regardless of industry knowledge, contacts or skills.

7. Maintain a flexible cost base

As a rule  never outsource your core IP and competency , however you should always consider outsourcing secondary supporting functions, such as first line support, PR, marketing, payroll, HR. Maintaining a flexible cost base which you can then ratchet up and reduce based on demand creates huge choice.

8.Watch and listen to your competitors

Do not follow your competitor’s actions and strategy- dont be a me too, however watch, observe and learn from their successes and their mistakes whilst trying to spot you one niche in the market

9. Keep close to your investors

Regardless of the sources of finance in your company- investors need to be managed, listened to and respected. This doesnt mean that they dictate the way you run your company. Try to find value add investors with a growth mindset who will work with you on an open and transparent basis, many do not and you need to be mindful in any shift of support away from you and why.

10. You only run out of cash once

We all know ” cash is king” it is the life blood of any business and you only run out once so treasure the cash you have and question every coffee you buy, mile you drive, email you send- they all have a cost associated to it, so you really need to understand the return on those activities and innvestments

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