What Serious Entrepreneurs Already Know and Do

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Have you heard the saying: what is not measured cannot be managed or improved? The idea behind it is that it’s only when you start tracking important metrics in your business that you can start seeing any kind of progress.

Jannie Rossouw, head of Sanlam Business Market gives advice for what you should be measuring – from your sales leads and conversion rates to planning and preparation and how these actions can also free up time to spend where it matters most.

Your most valuable metrics

What are the main elements you want to monitor and manage in your business? In big business it is called a “balanced scorecard”. I wish to refer to it as a “business dashboard”.

Some elements to consider are:

  • Number and source of leads
  • Conversion rate of leads
  • Number of transactions per client per year
  • Size in Rand value of transactions per client per year
  • The most appropriate financial figures relating to turnover, cost and profit

Re-engineer your meetings

We have all attended and even chaired meetings which goes nowhere, is counter-productive and do not stay within the confined timelines. Make sure all the meetings you attend and chair meet the following guidelines:

  • Is a meeting really needed – can it not be addressed by telecon/e-mail?
  • Is the purpose of the meeting clearly defined?
  • Have you verbalised the expected outcome(s)?
  • Is there a written agenda to govern the meeting?
  • Have you invited the key decision makers needed to meet the expected outcome(s)?
  • Have you time-boxed the meeting?
  • Is the chair person (if not yourself) duly briefed w.r.t. the purpose and expected outcome(s)?
  • Have you seconded someone to minute the outcomes of the meeting?

These points might be conventional wisdom at its best, but in my experience most meetings lack this structure.

Fix your outdated business processes

These business processes are the ones where your intervention is needed, e.g. invoicing, payments, approvals and quality assurance. There might be more efficient ways to address the tasks without your direct intervention. Identify the elements which you can delegate, with the appropriate authority, mechanise with a technology implementation or manage by exception.

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Get yourself organized – really organized

About 25% of us are organised by nature; the rest of us have room for improvement. To be organised can be very empowering. Think of:

  • planning you week/month and next quarter in advance – make adjustments when needed, but try to stick to your planning.
  • planning and preparing yourself for tomorrow before the end of today.
  • making sure your filing is up to date.
  • clearing out your desk – clutter adds to the perception of “chaos”.
  • making notes of the things you need to remember or do.
  • knowing your numbers – the financial facts and figures that matter most to your business.
  • using your networks and specialised support when needed.
  • delegating whenever possible.
  • “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr. (American author)

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success.

Go to www.sanlamgameplan.co.za to download your free copy.

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Lebohang Thulo
Lebohang Thulo
Lebohang Thulo is the editor of SME South Africa. She enjoys keeping up with the country’s exciting and fast developing entrepreneurship ecosystem. You can find her at @lelele3