Lara Morgan

Can any business plan to stand still and expect to survive in the long term? I doubt it. In order to compete and drive infectious ambition, you need to be comfortable with the fact that change is necessary, this Lara Morganwill help maximise a business potential and is a great big leap in the right direction.

The secret of fast growth companies is to consistently have those around you looking for ideas for business improvement, efficiency gains, price reductions, improvements in service – this will lead to higher customer retention rates, and will mean you are continually looking for gains to keep your business ahead.

No one person can continually innovate, inspire, energise and invigorate but with consistent authentic leadership, core blimey, can the power of the many add up to a great deal of potential.

One starting point is I think a need to share the successful results of a company building momentum with the team responsible for this delivery. You have to start with open information share so that results and improvements have a yardstick by which they can be measured. Increasing sales is not all it takes to build a growth culture but we in Great Britain are pitifully poor at prioritising the sales hours of the day and recognising the sales engine of the business needs to be given time to sell. This will minimise time wasted on distractions and better delegated admin.

Something else I think that is critical is an awareness that sales increase is not for the sake of sales turnover and vanity, the business must appreciate how profit is made and there must be commercial understanding of how and where profit is achieved. This can be achieved with a continued message of the importance of driving profitability – I’d rather sell the same amount of stuff and make more – than be a busy fool everyday.

Business efficiencies can come in all shares and sizes. Could you, as we did have a graduate part-timer suggest a colour coding of your stock system using traffic light colouring so that the slow moving stock is far greater prioritised – hence much better performance managing stock drag and profit damage from slow moving products. Every person in your business has a contribution to make – how can they do this, are you accessible, is there a suggestions box, or a route to management where people’s voices are heard and suggestions valued and ultimately rewarded some how? The motivation gained when one person in a team has a successful development celebrated is a great way of gaining others buy-in to being innovative and thoughtful about actions they undertake. How many sodding reports are put together, under pressure that barely see the light of day and are really not being used to drive business performance. Do you allow your staff to make decisions to stop doing stuff that is not clearly valued? To question operational activities? To shake up systems and processes?

I dare you to get all your team into a room, ask them to write down three things they would like to see improved in the business, with suggestions for how they would do it and share the one great thing they have noted someone else doing recently. You’ll be amazed at the quality of information and thoughts you can then act to undertake, trial or discard Not all of them are winners, but many small steps really can build a great culture of motivated growth.

Managing the numbers in a business to gain best performance is at the heart of many companies success. You can of course get away for some time without bothering, but the value gained by finding out core performance facts is priceless.

Silly I know but I still cherish the times my team celebrated with me a big landmark in the number of invoices we had raised on our system. So the team can also help motivate you back if your culture is open and engaging.

Your company image on the outside and inside matters. Have a style and character that truly enhances work performance. If toast should be free on tap and people turn up to work and relax and have breakfast but ultimately perform better, small investments in your environment and generosity will pay dividends.

Business development – the whole of it – continual improvement should be a company norm. What can we do better and different that beats the rest, gives the customer more, improves our offer and keeps us ahead of the game…that used to haunt my waking moments.

What a team sees a leaders passion for product quality and improvement, a willingness to admit nothing is perfect, that correction and charge can be good, and that there is an open willingness to be the best – WOW can that be a powerful motivator. You cannot simply say words and expect things to happen and as a company grows you need a team to grow and be part of the whole process. Reward their brilliance.

New Product Development excellence, brilliant use of data, and a respect for the values of how the culture work should be communicated to new recruits from the outset. Do not assume new layers know the rules and the style of your culture; check they feel comfortable with your company approach through recruitment phases.

There is a great deal more I can refer to but ultimately the bottom line is the leader is responsible for the mood of the company, for the engagement of the people therein and the performance the team deliver. Leadership by example is a great place to start, be not always right, listen and act on others ideas and celebrate and reward the suggestions of others. (There is a brilliant list of celebratory ideas for companies to consider on with bag loads of other free templates to help you progress growth acceleration).

Written by Lara Morgan
Lara Morgan is best known for growing Pacific Direct, from start-up to successful exit, 23 years later. She now invests her time in fast growth companies and represents UKTI as an Export Ambassador, having previously exported to 110 countries. Her vast experience and business knowledge includes specialisms in licensing luxury brands, manufacturing toiletries and selling to the hospitality environment through complex global distribution chains. She's also an expert in leadership and developing talent having learnt through her own experiences of employing 500 employees in an open fast growth sales culture.

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