Every business needs strategic thinkers. They have an ability to look over the horizon and spot the next wave of opportunity. Great entrepreneurs, who are usually the visionary, do this by immersing themselves in the customers world, gaining an intimate understanding of current and future needs. They test new ideas in a controlled way, seek feedback and iterate until they get it right. In my view this is what innovation is all about – experimenting, trying, getting it wrong, refining ideas and eventually coming up with propositions that can be monetized. Be clear on how the ideas you develop will ultimately generate revenue. So many small businesses fall short in this area – too much innovation not enough focus on sales. Ideas are great but if they don’t add value or generate cash, then what’s the point.
This is where shopkeeper mindset is very important. Every company needs someone in the team with such a mentality. The classic British comedy Open All Hours with Ronnie Barker playing the archetypal corner shopkeeper Arkwright is something all entrepreneurs should be mindful of. A very simple approach to business – more should go in the till than goes out. So why do so many growing businesses lose sight of such a basic principle?
As a company grows, the monthly invoices get bigger month on month. This can lead to complacency and corresponding spend can get out of control – usually money wasted on bonkers marketing activities that deliver nothing but an empty wallet.
So what’s the lesson? Always stay grounded, think big, think strategically, live in the customers world…..but please don’t burn cash or waste it on silly ideas – PR that delivers no results, website advice that offers no added value, marketing fads that look great but fail to drive the sales engine….the list goes on…
Balance strategic thinking with shopkeeper thinking.