This year marks Winning Pitch’s tenth anniversary of being in business. The very reason I founded our organisation was to provide the tools to create, build and support individuals get the most from themselves and their companies. To achieve our mission it was imperative that Winning Pitch demonstrated an authenticity that could never be challenged, in other words we practiced what we preach. Ten years on, I am very proud to announce that we have worked with some 6,000 companies. Those we have supported over the past two years have grown 4 times the rate of GDP, the average change achieved in net worth, following Winning Pitch help is 335.5%, their balance sheet value has also increased by more than £181.96m. Impact on local economies is so satisfying to observe, Winning Pitch assistance has delivered approximately 5,000 new jobs. As a business we have reached revenues in excess of £10M and over 100 full time employees across the North and rest of UK. These impacts are testament to our core beliefs of authenticity, trusted adviser and an ability to deliver.
There is no finishing line in business and complacency is a danger zone that every entrepreneur should avoid entering into. After a decade of passionately supporting the entrepreneurial business, we ourselves have moved up a gear in terms of our growth plans and ambitions. Helped by a £2.5M investment last year, I am delighted to announce a new look Winning Pitch – one that’s aims to deepen even further our profile and brand in the SME growth space. Growth SMEs are going to be even more important to local, regional and national economies over the next decade; they are the job generators, the source of innovation, graduate jobs and foreign earnings. I want Winning Pitch to be at the heart of making these businesses succeed – with clarity of vision, superior propositions, strong leadership and teams, an ability to live in the customers world as well good housekeeping and financial strategy and control, everything is possible.
I want to carry on supporting individuals to grow and helping the next generation of stars to accelerate their performance and win. More specifically, we want to give more attention to those companies that can scale their operation. These are the businesses with global potential, they become bedrocks of local economies by delivering jobs, this in turn helps communities to prosper and thrive. We will be placing increased emphasis on this unique set of companies, whose business support needs are more sophisticated and complex to deliver.
I look forward to another ten years of innovation and obsessive focus on unlocking entrepreneurial ambition. We will continue to build and expand the Winning Pitch entrepreneurial community by giving courageous individuals the trusted guidance they need to achieve both profitable growth and a business they can be proud of.
The speed at which 2012 has passed is unbelievable. During the year many entrepreneurs put their foot on the brakes, carefully monitored costs and kept their head well below the parapet. However, I have been very fortunate to be around a group of business people who have just carried on pushing forward with confidence, energy and enthusiasm. They have used their resources very wisely and spent time working on:
1. How to manage their personal time wisely – focusing on the vital few priorities rather than the trivial many
2. How to apply creativity to customer satisfaction and marketing rather than just money – innovation is key to differentiation
3. How to create “space” to think about new ideas and strategies – all breakthroughs come from taking time to think
4. Focusing on the KPI’s – the dials on the dashboard that ensure the business stays on track
5. Developing themselves – personal development is the ultimate source of competitive advantage
6. Developing their teams and ensuring effective communication – with staff and all stakeholders
7. More doing and less talking – working on the basis that sometimes strategy is activity and tinkering (in times of uncertainty strategy is meaningless to a small business – experimentation and discovery is vital – an attitude of think, do, review moves us on)
8. Living in the “Customer Worlds” – wearing out the shoe leather, putting themselves about and working out needs and future requirements
The lesson for ambitious entrepreneurs going into 2013 is train with the best and learn from them, practice and condition your thinking to success, prosperity and progression. 2013 is a year to build momentum.
Putting in the minimum amount of effort to a task to achieve a satisfactory result is a behaviour associated with individuals who have little or no ambition. Successful entrepreneurs take nothing for granted, they realise that through hard work and loyal commitment to their personal intentions they may from time to time have to put in extra hours or do things that may feel punishing to either their mind or body – quite often both. I see lack of ambition in many businesses I meet, almost inertia. The economy needs more big/different thinkers.
My experience is that very few people are willing to push themselves physically and emotionally to over deliver- just doing enough to get by, does my head in. A clock on clock off mentality – delivers business as usual if you are lucky. A Just Do It attitude delivers a winning performance. This maybe working a weekend to complete an important project, staying late at the office to help colleagues complete a critical bid, or investing in a loss leading idea to get you noticed – winners do more. Going the extra mile to please customers is an extremely important behaviour to exhibit, you become respected by your peer group and the opportunities for growth is enhanced because others become engaged by your level of commitment.
You will place yourself well ahead of the competition when you do more than what was expected of you. It is also extremely rewarding both professionally and personally. The mindset of going the extra mile helps when:
- You want to make a great first impression with a customer (you only get one chance to do this)
- You want to win an important contract
- You have an ambition to exhibit the gazelle growth profile
- You are operating in a crowded market place
- You want to build value in your business not just a wage
- You want to maintain the edge on competition
Think deeply about what you want to achieve and accept that by conditioning your mind to embrace the philosophy of doing more you will become evermore successful purely by outperforming others. This mental programming becomes an integral part of your behaviour and winning becomes a habit.
There is no traffic jam on the extra mile – a mindset more entrepreneurs needs to embrace.