With the progress in Covid vaccinations and testing we are seeing a sense of cautious optimism about the future from business owners. Albeit with some sectors like tourism and hospitality still in the grips of deep uncertainty.
As the pandemic unfolded, leaders scrambled to protect their businesses. They worked alongside their people to adapt product lines and services and to find new ways to service clients. Owners had to focus on weekly financial forecasting and deal with complex issues around the new world of work. Goal setting was replaced by scenario planning – decision making became turbo charged. Nothing was predictable or certain. Long-term planning or goal setting seemed irrelevant.
As confidence slowly returns and attention shifts to rebuilding, business owners will need to be disciplined to once again take a step back and redirect their focus into planning for the future. In order to do this, business owners will need to extract themselves from the day to day to be able to see their business as a whole as well as giving themselves time to take stock of where they are now and where they want to be. This will mean giving up some control and trusting others to get the job done.
Having the right people in your management team will be vital in allowing you to step back. Many businesses may have experienced members of their team moving on during the pandemic and a pause on hiring could mean that they are yet to be replaced. This means it is a good time to revaluate whether you have the right people within your business to allow you to step away.
If you find gaps in your team then consider the best way to address them. This could be through management training, recruitment, or a shift in how you deploy the talent you currently have. You’ll need to consider whether you are able to delegate responsibility to these people but also trust them enough to allow them the authority to make decisions without your input.
Letting go of being involved in the detail during Covid, will take a shift in mind-set. Business owners are confident in the day to day – it’s what you did originally when you started your business. Looking to the long-term strategy can be a tough adjustment. If you find it isolating or need a different perspective, reach out to your network. This could be a fellow business owner or a trusted advisor that can act as a sounding board and offer advice from their own experiences.
Some owners are emerging from the pandemic having fallen ‘out of love’ with their business. If this is you, then perhaps your planning needs to focus on exit. This will mean assessing the current state of your business and identifying where improvements can be made in order to reach optimal Enterprise Value. While the approach needed for this is unique to each business, early planning is a must. Building value isn’t quick (normally a 3-5 year process) so discuss your options early if this something you’d like to explore.
Whether your goal is to remain within the business for the foreseeable or if you are planning your exit in the near future, being able to take a step back and focus on bigger picture goals will be key to success whatever path you take.