Lee: This is the Logros Show in association with The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. My name is Lee and welcome to the show, Today as usual we’ve got some great guests.
Kamran: My name’s Kamran and I am the managing director of a company called Green Cloud Hosting and we provide technology to small to medium-sized businesses to help them work in the cloud.
David: I’m Dave and I’m one of the directors at Nuntiare Media and we provide high quality public address announcements offering a streamlined end-to-end production service connecting businesses with their customers.
Robyn: I’m Robyn and I’m the operations director at HSPG so we are a real estate company and we create demand-driven social housing for vulnerable people across the UK.
Lee: For everybody listening Kamran, I know you’ve been doing this exercise recently for your own business, you just mentioned before, give us your definition of what you think business strategy is.
Kamran: I started about four or five months ago to put one in place for our company so I’ve got a plan broken down into a set of tasks which helps you move towards and achieve a goal.
Lee: Good and how important has, it been for you because I know you said you hadn’t done one before so actually this is quite a good live exploration of how it’s benefited.
Kamran: For me I think about a million and one things and I start one thing and stop another thing. It’s really important because it started to give me focus and help prioritize on what needs to be done each month to move towards that goal that we’ve got. On the flip side of that it also gives you motivation too because it helps you to kind of visually see your progress towards that goal so for me it’s been really important actually.
Lee: What have you actually seen some of the key things come out of it? How have you benefited?
Kamran: Well first and foremost actually having a set of tasks that I need to need to do each month, because when you run your own business you’ve got a thousand and million and one things you need to do and like I said before you might start one thing and then pick up another. So for me it’s given me structure to be honest with you.
Lee: A structure from which to work in. David I know you actually set your business up recently is that right?
David: Yes we started trading back end of September, start of October so we’re relatively new.
Lee: What advice would you give to someone who’s kind of struggling to start the business strategy?
David: I think come at it with a degree of flexibility and appreciate that it can change as you grow and learn about your business. Certainly, assess your market place and your clientele within that marketplace and how you are serving them. Every company’s business strategy is going to be different even if they operate within the same market and kind of cross over on clientele, so take that on board and assess what products you’re offering and how that serves the client and then to achieve that and achieve that growth and what steps you need to put in place.
Like Kamran said, you know it’s taking those steps on a month by month or a quarter by a quarter basis and setting measurable objectives and goals that you can mark off and know that it is going to change possibly as the market changes.
Lee: What was the first step you took?
David: Well we looked at our products and what it is it that defines us and then kind of twin that with our end goals. The end goal you can do on quite a high level process. You can say well our end goal is just to have a profitable company or retain a client base and then think well how do we how do we do that, what do we offer that kind of gets us that client base and how do we improve our products?
Lee: Great and Robyn I guess being the operations director you’re involved quite a lot in terms of strategy within the business. What do you think just to help people listening are some of the key elements that you would include or you do include?
Robyn: I think that the first thing is to definitely not rely on a perfect case scenario because for some businesses obviously you’ve got the perfect scenario where you’ve got all this time to build a business plan before you actually start. Other businesses you’re kind of rolling with it and you just have to iterate as you go. So you want to be knowing that it’s a malleable process; it’s not just an it’s done on day one and never gets looked out and never gets changed.
Really important for us at HSPG is that we know our why and everything starts with why. So whether you are creating a social media post or whether you’re creating the financial budget everything starts with why and then it really means that the whole company is on board with that kind of mission as well. That would be my first key element to really make sure that you’ve got a why and then you can deal with the how and the what of getting to those goals if that makes sense?
Lee: Sure, anything else there as well once you’ve got your why sorted – out what else would be another key element?
Robyn: Really get the right people in the right places because you’ve got people who are going to have certain skill sets that firstly you don’t have so you want to bring those people on board and also understand that you might have the best skill set but it might be the wrong cultural fit. You want to make sure that you’ve got great people in the right places and then I would always advise any business owner to be abundant with the time and the money that they’re investing in their people. That’s something that we really embrace at HSPG. I can be biased and say I feel like I’ve definitely got all the best people.
The final point is to really just split out the goals in the right areas so be really specific you know this is our people goal, this is our financial goal, this is our acquisition goal or whatever it might be in your business. Then understand that it can move as you go along with the process.
Lee: There’s a lot of encouragement now for people whether it’s in work or however to reach out for coaches and for mentors that we talk a lot about here on the show and about the benefits of mentors. David what’s your view of coaching and mentoring and the benefits for the people?
David: I think it’s great. As I mentioned before we wouldn’t be able to crack that kind of murky waters of financing and marketing and all those areas that we weren’t familiar with when we started the business without having mentorship from various different programs. so the mentor will help you get somewhere quicker and more effectively, they’ll point out pitfalls from their own experiences and be able to look at it from a slightly detached point of view rather than yourself who are kind of in the centre of everything and everything swirling around you. From that aspect I think it’s extremely important to reach out to mentors in different areas as well.
Lee: Robyn what’s your view of this area?
Robyn: I was actually reading a book the other day that was talking all about mentors and finding yourself a mentor and I think that what a lot of us don’t realize is we have so many mentors around us. It’s not just about necessarily asking someone, will you be my mentor and they say yes and then you have a mentor; it is also like what Dave just said that your parents can be your mentor and your boss can be your mentor and even your colleague can be a mentor. So taking a minute to actually see who’s around you that you’ve already got in your life that is actually an amazing mentor.
Lee: thank you very much guys for joining us today and it’s been a great show. Just to finish off on the show I wanted to ask the question what is achieving excellence? David over to you.
David: I don’t really think it’s a status that you can ever claim to have achieved necessarily. It is to kind of constantly look to improve even in areas where you think you may have mastered a skill or a kind of approach to something and to continue to improve that. I think the Japanese have a saying called kaizen which is of continuing to improve and continuous improvement.
You also have to take that into account. on the other side of it, don’t beat yourself up too much about maybe not progressing as quickly or as far as you think you should. that kind of constant reassessment of your own abilities and your own standing at that particular time I think is very important.
Robyn: For me I think it’s really important to define what excellence actually means to you and really make sure that that is your own definition. there are so many definitions; it means so many different things to different people.
It's always good to stay on track with your own definition of excellence and success and achievement so that you don’t get distracted. Then make a plan for how you’re going to get there and then like Kamran said before do not give up until it’s done.
Kamran: Same kind of things that Robyn just said to be honest with you and I’m not even kidding! I suppose one thing I can say about my point is what is excellence? To me excellence is achievement and enjoyment. I suppose its different things to different people like everybody said but for me they’re the two things that I think are excellence especially when I’m working on a business or whatever.
You’ve got to look for something to achieve and you’ve got to enjoy it. That’s the key thing for me so I don’t know if they’re valid points but they’re mine anyway.