Business Development & Marketing General

The importance of strategic focus to business success

strategic focus dartboardIn an age of multiple distractions, it is more than ever important for business leaders to have a strategic focus for the direction of their enterprise and clear goals so that progress can be measured.
Especially in the early stages of starting a new venture enthusiasm may be high, but if insufficient thought has been put into the aims and goals and the direction of travel, activity may become scattered in too many directions at once.
It is a waste of time, energy and possibly resources and a lack of focussed effort can lead to disappointing results, even to business failure.

How to keep your head while all around you are losing theirs

It is important for an organisation and its key people to have a clear idea of its purpose, its competence and the value of what it is offering to clients and customers.
This should be defined in the business plan and be regularly reviewed and, if necessary, updated.
What worked at start up and during the early stages may no longer be relevant or at least may need tweaking.  Perhaps what has worked and been learned can be applied to introduce new, more innovative products, services or ways of doing things. The lessons learnt might justify pivoting the business in an entirely new direction.
But at each stage, if change is to be introduced it must be in the context of a strategy that helps people to keep their eyes and their actions on the goals.
The LinkedIn Influencer and writer, Bruce Kasanoff, argues that we live in an age of multiple distractions and that people who master the so-called skill of multi-tasking are actually training their brains to be less effective and efficient.
Kasanoff also offers workshops exploring the role of enlightened self-interest in professional organizations and within individual careers.
In a world based on competition, he says, it is inevitable that businesses and enterprises will compete for customers’ attention and business leaders are likely to be no less susceptible than anyone else.
He advocates taking a break to pursue another activity, in his case photography, when starting to feel distracted or stressed.
The result, when returning to a piece of work or the business environment, is that a person is refreshed and ultimately more focused.
Perhaps it’s a lesson busy business leaders need to learn.

Banks, Lenders & Investors Business Development & Marketing Cash Flow & Forecasting General Insolvency Rescue, Restructuring & Recovery Turnaround

Concern about Start-up support scheme is growing

The Sunday Times has been highlighting issues with the Government’s £150 million Start-up loans scheme, which is administered through the Start-up Loans Company chaired by James Caan, a former Dragons’ Den judge.
Information on the company’s website is minimal unless the user is a potential applicant and goes through the registration process, but using a disclosure of information request the paper has discovered that initially default rates of up to 40% had been expected, but were anticipated to be between 30-35% by the end of the scheme in 2018.
Under the scheme start-ups can borrow up to £25,000 at an APR of 6% which must be repaid over a five-year period. According to both Government and the Loan Co websites these loans are unsecured.
The new businesses also receive mentoring as part of the package, which matches their applications with a “delivery partner” with whom the loan terms have to be agreed.
At the moment around £95 million of the £150 million pot has been lent and of this calculations are that repayments on around a fifth of that money are in arrears, leading to fears that the debts may have to be written off.
Most recently, the paper has discovered, up to 3,000 of the current 18,000 recipients have not been given access to a mentor.
It quotes Mr Caan as saying that mentoring was “encouraged but not compulsory” and that the company did follow up on those recipients who were not using it. He has also said that every effort was made to recover funds.
While, of course, not every new business will be successful, this does raise questions about the anticipated level of failure and the viability of this scheme.
We understand that a criteria for loans under the scheme is the need for a personal guarantee. If this is the case, are we to expect a large number of bankruptcies in the next couple of years? Do get in touch if you have a Start-up Loan under the scheme.