As we enjoy warmer weather and a more hopeful economic outlook, CRM is dedicating this summer to talking about business growth. We asked our Managing Director, Tony Hobbs to summarise his recent talk to Oxford Business Network:   

Has the pandemic changed good business?

It’s been an interesting year to say the least. I’m often asked, ‘what do I do differently?’ My answer is ‘fundamentally nothing’.  Good business basics apply whatever the external forces are, but your point of focus may change.

The eight steps of CRM’s Business Improvement Programme (Plan, Measure, Review, Evaluate, Compare, Value, Analyse, Improve) apply in any climate. Find out more about our Business Improvement Programme here.

To me, good business centres around the treatment of the stakeholders in your business, and that fair treatment of them all does not create opposing forces.

If a company stops paying its suppliers and puts pressure on debtors, the flow of money stops. This is not fair on three stakeholders – suppliers, customers and employees. A balanced approach makes better business sense and allows everyone to thrive.

I see that the primary aim of a business must be profitability, otherwise nothing else can happen, given it will not survive.  Any business that ignores the needs of its customers, employees, suppliers and community to maximise profits, is taking a short-term view that will fail.

If a business focuses on the factors for determining corporate purpose (as set out at the latest Davos Summit) and doesn’t rank delivering value for shareholders as their top priority, it is guaranteeing its medium to long term prospects, and therefore looking after its shareholders.

So, what needs to change?  Well, if you already have a focused strategy and strong values which are encapsulated within your business plan, probably little if anything. If you do not feel confident that this is the case, then consider the following questions:

  1. Do you have systems in place to ensure that you deliver products/services to your clients on time and fit for purpose? Do those systems also monitor customer satisfaction, and do you follow up on any issues raised?
  2. Do you ensure that your employees are fairly treated, properly motivated and rewarded fully for their efforts? Do you have schemes to protect key employees, and safeguard their future with you?
  3. Do you have systems in place to ensure suppliers are treated fairly and paid on time, subject to them having delivered satisfactorily?
  4. Does your business plan include your contribution to the local community, and is this properly resourced in your budgets in terms of time and money?
  5. Do your business forecasts show the right level of profitability to sustain your plan, and make a return for shareholders?

If you cannot answer yes to all the above, you need to revisit your strategy and business plan.

I believe passionately that businesses need to accept responsibility towards all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. I do not think that ranking the stakeholders is necessarily helpful. A balanced business plan that delivers on all fronts will benefit all and produce a profitable business in the long term.

So, to my mind, the pandemic has not changed the principles of good business.

To achieve your goals, you need to focus on the numbers that will truly influence your success. That’s where the CRM Business Improvement Programme can help you to create a better future for your business. Read all about BIP at www.crmoxford.co.uk or call the team on 01865 379272.

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