Do you find your organization in one of the situations below?
- Your business has stabilized and you need to increase efficiency.
- It’s time for growth and you need to make sure you have the structure in place to execute.
- Your organization is feeling “out of control” in the midst of growth.
- Acquiring or adding another business or category, you want to understand how it will fit into your existing organization.
- Your business is struggling so you need to identify the issues in order to explore options and map out next steps.
Just in the last few months I have seen all of these scenarios. Wouldn’t it be great to “take a step back” and assess your business so that you can move it forward in the most productive way? Sometimes it seems like there isn’t enough time in the day. Having worked with many organizations to re-assess their business, I have seen it pay back big dividends – sales, profit, and productivity.
In any multi-channel retail or wholesale business objective answers to the ten questions below are crucial. With answers – along with detailed descriptions of “pain points” - where things are falling short – you can begin to map out your options for improvement. I know we’d all agree the “shot gun approach” or “crisis de-jour” has limited effectiveness. Everything is just too connected. Now for the ten questions:
- What are your current goals? How is your performance against these goals?
- How is your profitability? What are the challenges or opportunities – sales, margin, and expenses?
- Do you have enough cash or financing to grow or continue operations?
- Is your brand positioning clear – internally and externally?
- How do you stack up against your competition – new and existing?
- Are you able to develop and/or deliver a saleable and profitable product assortment – or service - that is “brand right” season after season?
- Are you able to manage and control inventory – “cash is king”?
- Do you have a good understanding of your current customers – demographics, psychographics, and their behavior?
- Are you able to effectively market – get new customers and retain current customers?
- Do you have a strategy in place for your channels of distributions? Are you executing it?
In answering these questions - and developing improvement solutions – an assessment of people processes, and systems must be included. “People” includes the “boxes” or organizational structure along with the “talent” or people holding the positions. Both are critical to any assessment. Business processes must map to the organization. “Pain points” should be identified in order to begin to simplify processes. Computer systems are often “pain points” and also must be included in an assessment. Most often “buying a new system” is “not” the best answer though.
Obviously, any organization cannot solve everything all at once. Priority setting comes next. We have all seen many organizations fail by trying to do too much at once. With objective answers – to the ten questions - and priorities in hand, your organization can begin to map out a realistic game plan for improvement. Wouldn’t that feel good!
I can be contacted at Janice@JLSearsConsulting.com or at 206-369-3726. I’d love to hear about your assessment or business needs.