Edition 126 – YTD

2018 to date has been an interesting year for a number of the family businesses that I have relationships with.

Here’s some of my observations:

  1. If you have clients in the retail space, they’re struggling, so prices for any products or services you sell to them are under pressure.
  2. Big business is holding off on their projects, which is making it harder to lock down work to keep your current workforce fully employed.
  3. This big business uncertainty is brought about by the shenanigans in Canberra and the argument over Government policy. I’m convinced the only thing that will change this is a Federal Election that delivers a clear mandate to one side or the other.
  4. A number of clients that are contracting to big business are working out how disorganised those big businesses are. We’re talking large corporates winning major contracts starting 1st July that don’t have people or suppliers on the ground a week out from start date.
  5. Family businesses investing in the skills development of their team over a longer period are seeing the benefits of their investment in higher productivity and greater ownership by the employee of their roles.
  6. Conversely, family businesses that aren’t invested in developing are donning the high-vis shirts to get on site and do the work themselves. Last time I checked, Rupert Murdoch still wasn’t writing the articles in his suite of newspapers!
  7. There remains a serious lack of management capacity inside family businesses, which is dragging the owners back into too many day to day tasks, rather than them focus on working strategically, talking with clients and winning projects.
  8. A fundamental lack of new product or service development inside of family business currently exists. What you’re doing today should be different to what you did five years ago. If it’s not, you’re at risk of unknowingly making your business redundant.

When I stop and think about these issues, there are three common threads that are weaving their way through them. The threads are similar, irrespective of the size of the business, the industry or the age of the owners.

  1. Time – too many family business owners are filling up every spare minute of every day with “stuff”, but not taking the time to stop and think about their businesses without interruption.
    Solution – turn off the emails, put the phone on silent and lock the door. Then, put your feet up on the desk for a few moments and think.
  2. Saying “Yes” too often – I’m seeing family businesses say yes to work that, realistically, they don’t want, can’t do or shouldn’t do. I’m convinced some of it is panic around missing out (FOMO as any millennial will tell you).
    Solution – think before saying yes. If you’re trying to move your business to a higher level or away from unprofitable work, the only way you’ll create the future is by taking the first step today.
  3. Operational vs. Strategic – owners and managers of family businesses are getting too much into the weeds of the work their business does. I’m not just talking about packing boxes or digging holes. I’m talking about listening to conversations around you that are of no value whatsoever.
    Solution – stop people (clients, staff or family) that are spending time in your business day talking about insignificant stuff. Get ruthless with your time – even if it upsets people.

1st July starts this coming Sunday. Now is the time to take stock and review the year to date. What have you achieved? What would you do differently? What changes do you need to introduce now to bring about a different result when you look back and review the year on 31stDecember this year?


This Week’s Tip

“Set aside an hour in the next week to turn off all your devices, hang out the “Do Not Disturb” sign and think. The return on investment could be astounding.”

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