The final countdown . . .

Despite the fact that many businesses have been very successful over the last few years, boasting very strong commercial growth rates, there is no doubt that it has been a tough economic climate. Demand for some goods & services has fallen, prices have increased and business morale across the UK has seemingly been quite low (no doubt led by negative reports often construed in the national press or other accountable news stories).


Nonetheless, following feedback that we have received at nxo, 2014 has certainly seen a return of business confidence with many businesses now preparing themselves for a strong and enterprising 2015.


With this in mind, many businesses are now putting the finishing touches to their prospective ‘growth’ plans. Production costs and profit margins have been assessed, marketing budgets have been set and target markets have been scrutinised for promotional plans to launch in the new financial year.


All excellent tasks that any commercial business should focus on and I dare say have probably become experts at, due to the recent economic climate, but how sure are they when it comes to aligning all functions so that growth can be realised without further complications or unnecessary costs, thereby restricting progress?


A key element of all of this is what many a business could consider as the final check, the eventual element, the one thing that they should have possibly considered at the start but either discounted it or simply allowed it to be overlooked …it’s people!!


This does not weigh on the fact that many a business at the start of the economic downturn decided to reduce, or even worse, cancel staff training costs as often seen as an expense that is more of a luxury and added value to staff opposed to a necessity.


But it does highlight the fact that many a business overlooks the intrinsic benefits of it’s workforce, focusing initially on production costs and price driven sales activity as a relentless pressure to ‘win the next order’, ‘to close the next deal’ and agreeably, it is no surprise that many a business has done this.


Nonetheless, working within a business of growth myself, nxo, being a Growth Consultancy that has a portfolio of client businesses growing between 20% – 67%, the one area that businesses have now realised that they must focus more upon is people.


This can also be supported by recent conservations that I have had where it has been recognised that a business can have as many procedures as it likes, it can conduct as many updates to staff manuals and working processes as it likes, it can review, re-churn and re-submit working practices for its staff and workforce as it likes, but, if there are no people, no diligent, hard-working, creative and energised people then quite simply, there is no business …the only secret that then remains to be told is how to support them in being that way and how to maintain that, which is your Culture.


Enticing a strong working culture is very straightforward in its aims, but can be very, very complex to implement. Nonetheless if implemented successfully it can also prove to be the most valuable asset of a business, even over and above new products, new marketing, price discounts, etc.


In that case I will leave you with two thought provoking questions that will hopefully help you, as a business owner or manager, or even as valued Line Management Personnel, to progress in ensuring that you have the correct working culture in your organisation and those are (i) what culture do you ‘think’ you have at the organisation at which you work?, and (ii) what is the culture that really exists?


Enjoy the festivities and let’s all look forward to a happy and prosperous 2015, looking forward to seeing great businesses back where they belong with strong growth rates and commercial opportunities whilst asking one final question, just how much of the ‘Season of Goodwill’ can we take into the New Year?

Merry Christmas from all at nxo.