Showing posts with label business planning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label business planning. Show all posts

Monday, 30 January 2017

Strategy: The Leader's Role by Richard Gourlay


The leader is the person ultimately in charge of defining the corporate goals of any organisation. It is the one role which a leader cannot delegate.  Strategy is the course to take to achieve your organisation goals. Without a strategy any organisation drifts aimlessly within its market, loosing its position and its customers. A clear set of goals allows a strategy  to be developed to achieve those goals, enabling the organisation to focus, find its direction and pull together towards those goals. 

Strategy: The Leader's Role by Richard Gourlay provides both the hard tools to assess and develop your goals and strategy and the soft tools which enables leader's to successfully implement those strategic shifts within their organisation.     

Leading From the Front

It is difficult to lead if you don't know where you are going and in this book, Richard Gourlay explains how to use key tools and concepts to assess your market and define your goals and set your direction of travel. How to weed out the noise which often drowns the clarity of thinking which leader's need to see where markets are going and enables them to define their vision for their organisation. 

Leading from the front can only happen if a leader is confident of where they are going and why they are taking that route. This book provides that clarity of purpose for leaders to assess and understand how to define what matters form what does not so that they can step up and out and lead from teh front.

Strategy: The Leader's Role 

In Strategy: The Leader's Role each step in building your vision, goals and strategy is explained with relevant tools and aids to enable you to develop your own unique strategy to fit you and your organisations circumstances. 

From assessing your core competancies as an organisation through to understanding where your market (s) are going. Strategy the Leader's Role explains in step by step chapters how to undertake your own assessment with models an examples of how others have achieved their strategy.

Tools include external market assessments well as internal market assessment tools to create strategic options. How to assess your organisational capability as well as how to use theses to create a strategic advantage. 

To buy this business book, just click the image or the link below:-

Monday, 21 November 2016

Strategic Vision Drives Organisations Success

Drive Your Vision or Amlessly Drift 

In today’s world, driving your business vision is the only way to ensure you stay focused on where you want to go and not pulled by short-term fads and fashions. 
The words strategic planning used to mean a once a year offsite discussion about where the organisation is headed. That thinking would be turned into an updated business plan with expectations and outcomes to be delivered over that next year. That type of strategic planning the corporate away-day provide very little in the way of strategic thinking and subsequently provided no or very little strategic value. Corporate away days became more a morale booster, with team building and bonding as the only measure of development. The reason why was very simple, if there is no strategic intent, no strategic review or re-evaluation them there will be no strategic outcomes.   

Strategic thinking is more vital today for leaders of organisation than ever before. The need for organisations of any shape and size to be able to determine why they exist and where they intend to exist in their market has never ben stronger. Whether it is new players finding their first footing in their market, through to established players redefining where they are within their sector, the need for leaders to define their vision and validate their strategy to achieve that vision has become more critical than ever. The drivers of urgency are not just those of ever more powerful stakeholder expectation, but more demonstrably the globalisation of every market sector and the transparency of strategy in what it delivers to business. 

Problems with Strategic Thinking

The problem building a long-term strategic plan, the traditional cycle of business planning is that it is too long and therefore slow to react to rapidly changing business environments; particularly the slow speed of implementing traditional business plans, which has damaged the reputation and credibility of strategy. 

The slow pace of organizational change driven by traditional strategic business planning results in strategies which are out-of-date before they ready to deploy. 

The net result of this process is that organizations are sluggish to respond in fast-changing markets, left wrong-footed by new entrants in dynamic, high-growth markets leaving leaders frustrated and impotent in competing with agile, new entrants. In an technology driven world where disruptive online behaviours enable markets and customers to change overnight, thinking strategically can seen to be an outdated way of thinking.     
Developing effective strategies is vitally important because without them organisations become inward looking, focusing on efficiency at the expense of growth opportunity. Without strategic thinking leadership teams becomes operationally efficiency driven rather than customer focused.  

The key element of strategic thinking is the ability of leadership teams to look at what is driving change within any sector. Inspiring vision is about drawing intelligence from scratchy, vague or even 'invisible' data to make informed decisions about tomorrow's market and develop an aspirational strategy to achieve that vision.

Planning for Tomorrow

What do we know about what tomorrow will look like and what opportunities it will offer? Here are my five defining statements about the need for strategic thinking:- 
  1. It will happen whether we like it or not.
  2. Markets are always changing, new opportunities are always arising.
  3. If organisations strategically plan ahead they can successfully compete, rather than just survive by being a me too player.
  4. Strategic thinking has to be achieved and implemented faster than a market is developing if players wish to stay or move into more profitable, growing and sustainable market segments.
  5.  Without strategic thinking every organisation will go backwards in its market.

The Strategy Gap

The strategy gap: the lack of proactive strategic thinking is most often blamed on the lack of hard data 'facts' as the basis of making defined decisions. This has always been a factor in undermining the confidence leaders have in making plans for the future. 

As a result, strategic planning often focused on predicting the future based on historic trend lines, over-invest in gathering all available data, and produced a small number of safe directives often focused around the very near future, for the rest of the organization to execute.
This safety first approach to strategic planning leads to little steps, but is not really strategic thinking.  

"Genuine strategic thinking requires leaders to think of the future not based upon the past, but based upon the future market potential".   

With the advent of the internet there is now huge amounts of easily accessible affordable good data which is instantly and cheap to acquire. The world today has become a turbulent place, speed of change is no longer slowly evolutionary, but has become rapidly revolutionary in virtually every market. 

This has left the traditional strategic planning process with a fundamental problem, since the trusted, traditional and slow approach to strategic planning is based on assumptions that no longer hold. The static strategic plan is dead.

So why do strategy at all?  

Strategy is therefore under pressure as a process unlike never before.  If the outputs from traditional strategy, a traditional business plan with incremental evolution are no longer valued, then the value of strategy is being rightly questioned.  

The reason why strategy is not dead is that the strategic process, the way strategy is developed is essential in learning what is ‘right’, what is the future in a business sector.  This strategic approach to step out of your organisation and look at the market, defining internal aspirations and building the steps through experimental activity and forward pattern development enables shift culture to occur enabling agile strategy to be deployed. 

There are many renaming ceremonies for today's strategy process, all focusing on the move to redefine the strategic planning process, away from the traditional top-down long-term evolutionary strategic planning process to quicker, dynamic and responsive strategic thinking culture. This systematic and seismic shift in thinking away from process driven top down command and control process to one of continual strategic thinking culture. 

To make this shift to modern strategic thinking, leaders need to move away from traditional predictive planning to rapid prototyping supported by multifaceted experimenting.     

The second shift is that of 'frontline first' where leaders must enable the frontline with real decision-making authority. Successful strategic thinking requires objective and direction setting with a whole team focus.  Instead of a plan, the planning process is about whole team involvement in the mindset of goal achievement.              

The third and final major shift leaders need to focus on where the organisation is adding value to customers. As markets and customers rapidly change, who would have thought Google, the online search engine would be producing driverless cars, or Apple the IT company is managing middle-class health. 

What value any organisation customers value and are looking for is one of the major shifts which today's digital age is driving.   

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

What Great Leaders DO Differently

Peter Drucker's iconic quote above defines the need for leadership, but what makes a great leader? Is the question which people placed in any position of authority, want to know. 

Leadership is often described in terms of being the figurehead, the ultimate power and the final authority.  

While there are many excellent qualities which people can identify in good leaders, these traits are the outcome of leaders being bale to work well with people inside their business. What makes the exceptional leaders is not people doing all of them better than average, but being able to do a few of these core skills to an outstanding standard, making them great leaders. Great leaders play to their strengths, not trying to do everything, just the things that matter, those which make a real bottomline difference in performance. 

Leadership skills, those personal attributes which people recognise as able to inspire others, are always built upon the ability to motivate other people. All leaders must be able to inspire, to keep people driven and focused on their goals. 

There are a number of ways in motivating people, for some using their charisma and energy can be great motivators, their personality drives people to follow them. This type of charisma leadership is often focused around the culture of the personality, the successful sales person, the inspiring leader, using their relationships with staff and often key customers, they lead through the force of their personality.   

For others their technical knowledge and expertise within their field provides the inspiration for others to follow. Their ability to foresee and create products and services which meet target customers needs and exceed expectations open up markets and generates business through the leaders insight and forethought. This type of leadership, the technical leader, relies more upon their ability to achieve results rather than to personally motivate.   

Being a leader, either by be placed in a position of leadership or by the accident of assuming the role, either as the inspirational or technical leader within an organisation, puts pressure on leaders to perform. Being the focus of attention, the decision maker, requires leaders to develop a range of skills to lead in a number of situations and to lead different types of people.  

There are no definite way of stating 'do this to be a great leader', everyone can be a leader, it all depends upon the circumstances, but what makes great leadership, is not just the ability to take decisions,  but a few specific factors often grouped into three areas which separate great leaders from the rest. So here's what I see great leaders do differently.  

The first thing great leaders do differently is create diverse and strong networks of contacts. If you always listen to the same people you will always be limited to their views. Most leaders listen and make decisions based on a small group of trusted advisors. 

The weakness for leaders of always listening to the same inner group is that as change happens to our business, as it grows, as change impacts on our markets this inner circle becomes outdated, not fit for purpose. Those people that leaders listen to when they are starting out, for example you first accountant, maybe a compliance account (keeps you legal) as your business grows you need new services and expertise (expansion funding, tax advice, etc) outside that persons skill set. Great leaders recognise they need to add to their advice panel, good leaders often don't.

Investing in your trust network is a core skill which great leads do, they sharpen the saw as Stephen Covey phrases it. Always be learning, sharpening your skills by working with the right mix of people who you trust to take advice from. This investment by great leaders is about having a diverse set of trusted advisors who provide the balance and foresight which great leaders need to think ahead with the right sources of information. The great leaders I have seen often introduce Non-Executive Directors, new experienced people from different industries and widening the trust network with greater diversity of views.

The second thing great leaders always do is the ability to stand back and see the big picture of your industry. The role of being the general commanding your resources. Great leaders not only command today's activities, as the ultimate controller, but are always looking at develop fresh understanding what is driving your industry, the change making factors. 

"Where you are is not as important as knowing where you are going and why." Great leadership is about creating the tomorrow you want to achieve.  It is looking for the drivers of change within your business.  It is one of the hardest skills which great leaders have to master. It takes time, effort and resources, often with blind alleys and a high degree of uncertainty. 

The struggle for busy leaders is to value doing enough of the right research to create clarity in an unclear future, which changes matter and what impact do they make on the future of your market, your customer and your future as a organisation? These are the most important and valuable questions any leader can and must answer. 

The importance of understanding the impact change and using it to create your forward strategy is one of the defining characteristics of great leaders. Great leadership is about focusing on what you can change the future, not fire-fighting todays problems. Not only is it more productive but it is also the only way to be effective as a great leader. 

The third and vital attribute of great leaders is that they make change happen. Sometimes seen as being ruthless to make change happen, great leaders are proactive in making change happen. This pro-activeness in making change happen, can see to others as utter ruthlessness, because great leaders can see why the change is needed, while those elsewhere in the organisation see the change but not the drivers of why leaders are making that change happen then and there.

Great leaders are not frightened of change and when I say change, I do not mean evolutionary or organic changes, but revolutionary changes.  Great leaders make bold changes at the optimum point for sustainable success, when do we need to make the change to succeed in the long-term. 

Good leaders make changes, but often only when they have few other options, or are forced into making that change, they are often reactive change, Great leaders on the other hand make proactive revolutionary changes because they can see the long-term benefit.

Each of these three great leader attributes support and drive all those other skills which good leaders often portray, and this is what makes some leaders great at leading their people and their organisations. 

By creating diverse trust networks it enables leaders to find better information about the future and the changes they need to make. This virtuous cycle is what makes some leaders great and very different from those who rely upon gut feel and reactive enforced decision making.   

If you would like to know more about what makes a great leader, you can read more about my work in working with great leaders or click the link below to see my free video on How to take the guess work out of your business success:-

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

How to Find Growth: Business Planning Toolkit


The Key Role of Leader: Growth

The key role of every leader in any organisation is to determine the direction of where they are leading their organisation. A leaders success or failure is determined by what growth they achieve. You are leading yourself, your people, your shareholders, and your customers to where you want to go. All successful growth strategies set and work towards goals.

Leaders can often make sound and good decisions about things they can see and clearly understand. Often leaders, directors and owners have advice and support systems built into their day to day decision making, but when planning tomorrow's growth it is not always so easy. Many leaders struggle with looking and making decisions beyond the known horizon. It is hard to see beyond the tangible, beyond the concrete, beyond the known.

This is why I have created my Business planning Toolkit, built upon my 20 years of experience, to help you to learn how to successfully look and find growth opportunities and turn them into growth. My business planning toolkit will enable you to Take the guess work out of your business success.      

Leaders need to plan for growth.

Leadership success is always about delivering tangible growth, where have you taken your business and why. Knowing that you need to find growth is one thing, but knowing how to find the right direction to take, where to look and find real growth or answer the hidden real challenge of being able to assess which growth options to follow and which to disregard is quite another. 

Here's a great example of getting it wrong. The CEO of LA Gear grew his company from $11 million to $820 million in sales in just four years by focusing on unique, fashionable shoes that were expertly marketed.

Then chasing three huge opportunities they killed the company stone dead. To keep growth coming LA Gear sold excess product at deep discounts which devalued the brand, invested heavily into basketball shoes, not their core market and offered low-end shoes at Wal-Mart.

How to find growth 

There can therefore be good growth and bad growth, how do you know which one to nail your colours to as a leader. Growth opportunities need to be assessed and verified. They need to be understood as part of a long term strategy, not a quick tactical grab which helped to end LA Gear.

So leaders need to develop clear strategies which support and drive long-term brand value, and not grab at passing opportunities just because they have some big short-term numbers attached to them.  Assessing where you are going against long-term key performance measures is one key way which all successful major companies use, the balanced scorecard.

Putting all the Steps Together      

These are just some of the key steps which take your business from a cold start to a roaring firebrand, going where you want to take your business. I've put together my Business Planning Toolkit to Take the guess work out of your business success that takes you step-by-step through the simple steps of how successful business leaders plan their business.  

How to take the guess work out of your success

This step-by-step process that takes you through each step that builds logically and effectively to your effective growth plan. Short videos take you effectively through each step, with plain English explanations supported by a thorough workbook with all the templates you need to take the guess work out of your business success. From finding growth to setting goals and monitoring your progress towards them.

Here's 5 benefits from following my Business Planning Toolkit to find growth:- 

  1. 12 weekly 5 minute videos - watch when you want to online. 
  2. Simple steps - which move you forward one step at a time
  3. Robust processes used by successful leaders 
  4. 63 page Workbook - fully explained with all templates 
  5. My guidance to show you each step with key tips to avoid the pitfalls.

See the video which explains more, click: How to take the guess work out of your business success.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Business Planning: What Goes Wrong and How to Plan An Effective Business Plan

The first rule for everyone in business, or going into business, is that a business plan is essential. Essential to get started, from validating your idea through to accessing funding, the business plan is the fundamental building block of any business.     

So why do so many people struggle to write effective business plans which they should be using as the corner stone of their business? Why do so many business owners rely upon key ideas held in their head and winging it, even with some of their biggest decisions?  And why do so few business owners trust, use and live their business plans?

Now these are all fair questions which individually leave business plans and business planning not valued outside those essential, must do to get started roles. For many, that experience is exactly why business plans and business planning gets such a bad press by business owners once they get past the start line.

What Goes Wrong

Fundamentally business planning has become a tool to get funding, not as your manual to drive your business. This bad habit, of building a business plan just to get past go, has resulted in huge effort to start on the right foot, but is not valued in keeping on the right track.  

The second major factor with business planning is that business owners often plan the wrong things. Writing a business plan is seen as "filling in the template" following the process and jamming words into format. They focus on producing financial figures which add-up, not on identifying the important factors which drive business success, such as developing and validating the right business model, or identifying real future growth opportunities and how the business is going to succeed in that market.  

A third major factor is that business planning often lacks solid forward information, too often relying upon historical data, the accountants view of what has happened, rather than looking forward to where markets are going. You can see this in many businesses whose business plan over focuses on turnover and cost management, rather than describing their model, their market opportunity, how they are going to enter the market successfully and therefore who their target audience is and why.      

Successful Business Owners Use Tools To Plan Successfully

Business owners do not live their plan because they simply don't believe in them, despite the fact they wrote it, or heavily influenced its writing. Owners need to use business planning tools to develop their business model effectively, creating solid foundations. There are a host a tried and tested business planning tools to help business owners effectively research their plan. using these business planning tools provides real evidence that underpins a good business plan.

Possibly the most important difference between businesses which succeed and exceed expectations and those which do not fulfill anything like their full potential is often the lack of solid foundations within their plan. A lack of research regarding their market, its nature and future, undermines confidence and knowledge of who the customer is and why they should buy your product or service.

Business owners over focus on the product or service not on the market, the target customer or market entry. What business planners need to focus on is quantifying and qualifying their market knowledge using business planning tools, to enable them to know what to put into their business plan, that provides the right evidence adds weight to your argument and provides a rationale behind the assumptions you make.  

Successful Business Owners Benefit From Using Business Planning Tools

The right business planning tools, used in the right order will provide business owners with the tools and the processes to go through to build an effective business plan, which is both reliable and robust, a solid base for making informed decisions about your business plan.

Using the right business planning tools, to research and inform your business plan, also provides confidence to business owners and senior management to trust your business plan. If you trust your business plan you are more likely to deliver it.

Using the right evidence, the right analysis and logical conclusions then business plans built upon effective use of logical step-by-step business planning tools provide business owners with a clear and robust plan with clear focus for their efforts. Using business planning tools makes business planning a value-added process built upon solid foundations, with clear insights about what's driving the market and why your business will be successful. 

Like to know more about business planning tools to build your business plan more successfully then click this link: business planning tools         
Here's some other thoughts about why you should be using Business Planning Tools to build your business plan on solid foundations why to use Business Planning Tools to build your business plan.            

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Cowden Consulting is a strategic planning and implementation business which works with business owners to grow and develop their business, with the tools to successfully build business plans, contact us to learn more: click here

Monday, 29 April 2013

How To Grow Your Business Successfully

6 Great Reasons To View Richard Gourlay's Cowden Online Website  

Being focused and clear on where you are going and why with your business will put you in control and ultimately ensure you are more successful.  But how to take control is one of the biggest issues leaders face. Where to start and even how to start making changes to your business, making it become more successful is never easy. Moreover, the order you do all those elements, makes a real bottom-line difference to your business success.

Over the last 20 years I've worked with hundreds of business owners, from micro-businesses through to international PLC's and I've identified that there are some key factors that very successful owners do which ensure their success. While other business owners struggle to keep their heads above water. What I've learnt is that these simple and logical steps that successful people undertake, which make that 'something different' in what they do, delivers real results in taking the guess work out of their business success. 

I've spent years refining those key steps into a single programme of bite-size activities, my 12 step programme, of how to take the guess work out our business success. Each step is only 5 minutes long and enables business owners to work ON their business effectively rather than just spending more time IN there business.  

If you would like to know more then see my FREE introductory 5 minute videos to my 12 step programme click here or click this link:- 

Below are some of the key things to consider in taking the guess work out of your business success:-  

1. Know what to Work ON

Knowing what you need to focus on makes a huge difference in where to invest your energy and resources.  I'm a huge fan of the leadership culture of working ON it not IN it. If you are not working on your business then how is it going to improve, how is it going to be ready and able to face tomorrow's challenges? But you need to know what is important to work on within your business, and why!  

2. Why you are working ON your business

Change is the only certainty in business. Today that has never been truer, the pace of change in every market has, and is, changing at an ever faster rate. The rise of the web, for example, has created rapid online trading and shopping which has rapidly accelerated change.  

How should you respond to those changes, fast enough and effectively enough to take full advantage of those changes, if you have ever wondered how, this 12 step programme will enable you to understand why you are working on and put you in the driving seat of your business. 

3. Where to Grow

Every business owner wants to grow turnover, profitability or customer base, but how is the important question.  Where is tomorrow's growth coming from and how can you access it effectively and efficiently? This step-by-step programme will show you where growth is going to come from and how you can effectively access it.   

4. How to Make Change Happen

Doing what we've always done is the natural default behaviour that people fall back into despite best intentions.  Change is always easy to talk about, but harder to actually deliver. Change is always necessary to achieve success. This step-by-step programme enables you to create the right changes, which deliver the right results for success. Every step involves a single simple activity which is supported by a template in a workbook to create your success.      

5. Reduce the Risks

Taking your business from where it is today to where you want it to be tomorrow is essential to keep your business competitive and successful, but change involves taking risk. This proven programme reduces that risk by evaluating and balancing the risk factors effectively. Each step is focused around making sensible proactive decisions which have been tried and tested.     

6. It is simple to use

Taking the risk out of your business success is all about taking small, simple but highly effective steps which move your business where you want it to go. I have designed the programme to fit every type of business by size and sector and at every stage of its development. 

Short bite size learning, with a single 5 minute video full supported by an easy to follow workbook including all the templates you need to achieve your success. Supporting this programme are emails to help support you undertake each step. You can do the programme all at once or week by week, the choice is yours.   

So if you want to take the guesswork out of your business success? Then this  effective programme is specifically designed for business owners from start-ups to established businesses owners to take the guess work out of your business success.  Click this link to see the FREE videos and start the video sequence: click here or copy the website link

Friday, 23 December 2011

Growth Opportunities for 2012

Despite the doom and gloom merchants who seem to be surrounding us today about where the economy is going and for how long we will have to live in recession there are still may areas of growth. Not everyone and everything is in recession. So I thought I would share a few strategic thoughts as to where I see growth in 2012.

In every market their are always growth opportunities, even if it is just for insolvency practitioners, accountants and journalists! But, ignoring these sectors where is real growth coming from? It does not take long before you can see that if you want to look for growth, you just need to look beyond the news headlines.

Headlines Aren't Real

Headlines tell (and continuously repeat) what's happening as an average across the entire economy, so slow growth coupled with a reduction of public sector spending means that slow adapting traditional companies will be feeling the pinch, particularly if their growth has disproportionately come from public sector spending. The key reason why headlines aren't real is that they only really report bad news (apart from that final ahhh... story) put in for the human touch element.  Bad news sells and grabs headlines, while success never gets a mention. 

Headlines only show averages and I've never met anyone who is average. No-one is ever average and so no business is ever average. So when looking for growth and success turn off the TV, radio and throw away the newspaper and on line news and start by looking at what's happening in the real economy.


The high street is dead according to the every expert with up shops empty or closed and yet people still shop in ever increasing numbers and we are building more of them than ever before. Go tell companies like Apple, John Lewis or any of the major supermarket chains about the collapse of retail and they will laugh out loud at you. Retail is not dead, it is just changing and changing faster than many retailers can adapt.

Twenty years ago I worked with retailers advising them to add more value by making their stores more consumer friendly with information and better zoned retailing layouts. Today, retailers need to be adapting to embrace a web active consumers, bricks with clicks stores like John Lewis who will have grown their online e-commerce business to be around 20% of their business integrating it with their modern well designed retail estate. To ignore online in many sectors is like King Canute trying to hold back the tide, but working with it you can appeal to many customer groups by using online an integral part of the retail experience.            
Successful retailers are providing modern inviting retail spaces with mixed offerings of retail and consumption are doing well, particularly as part of larger venues. Strategically the big are getting bigger and the others must look to diversify. The number of retail environments is increasing, with many others planned.  The changing nature of our retail environment to larger integrated retail centres which is the key driver of change as consumers move from convenience shopping to shopping as an experience event, 2012 will see that strategic shift accelerate, Click here to see local data company You tube explanation for more details.   


Knowing where the consumer is going in 2012 is vital for success for many UK businesses. Consumers are buying more and more high quality items. Luxury top-end brands are growing fast and the UK has several strengths to capitalise on, companies like the revitalised TATA Jaguar / Land Rover Group of top end vehicles has never been stronger, both at home and abroad. Land Rover's new Evoque for example had a pro-order of 27,000 vehicles, and both companies are investing in new plant and new models.

This changing shift in purchasing behaviour opens business opportunities for forward thinking business owners to look at higher value consumption, top-end brands are growing globally at over 20% with our ability to design great products is a great strength, from fashion to architecture we are world class and the opportunities for growth are significant.

 The Green Market
The green agenda is also a huge growth market in the UK, and its not just solar panels, although this is a great success and one which will survive the Governments ill-judged slashing of the Feed In Tariff (FIT). peopel buying green products and ethical, traditional and home made sre all opportunities for 2012.

The Green agenda, being promoted long-term through the Green Deal, where not only green products are going but also where huge growth for the home improvement market will come from in 2012, supported by new financial channels opening up to fund these domestic sector.

If you would like to learn more about consumer growth trends then here is a good source of of trends for 2012 at trend watching.

Mobile Markets 
The growth of SMART mobile phones is now a major emerging market, this growth currently 650 million in use set to grow to 1.3billion by 2016 provides a whole new market to exploit.

As the world goes mobile so whole new markets are emerging, from gambling to live offers and app building mobile customers are one huge growth market which smart companies are getting into.   


Exporting, that old business strategy chestnut is always a mythical panacea for any struggling economy and a favourite for politicians looking for a quick solution to any problem.

Exporting though is not a catch-all, for example exporting to Greece may not be the best idea in the near future, but to elsewhere provides an excellent opportunity for UK business to exploit. BRIC countries, (Brazil, Russia, India and China) provide excellent opportunities for growth. These countries are developing huge new middle classes looking for the type of products which we design, make and retail.

Companies such as Paul Smith have demonstrated an excellent business strategy of balancing their business model with the classic third, third, third split of income which is up £20 million to £196 million this year evenly split across UK, EU and rest of world (ROW). By balancing their income streams they have driven their profits to £24 million this year.

Don't be frightened of looking at export markets as a strategy, we are an excellent exporting nation, people love British products, from cutting edge technology to fashion through to our heritage and education and you should be looking at these opportunities in 2012.       

Growth in the Middle East

The middle East is a new emerging market as it redefines itself after the impact of the Arab Spring in 2011. Companies such as Coca-Cola which is currently investing nearly $1 billion in the Middle East, click here for article. With oil becoming even more important supported with stable high prices, countries such as MENA (Middle East and North Africa) provide growth opportunities for UK companies. Their growing populations of young well educated and online connected middle classes (Face book and Twitter created and sustained the Arab Spring) these are sensible markets for many businesses to look at moving into.   

Why Strategic Planning Works

There are many sectors of the UK economy which are doing quite well and some are doing better than ever. The companies doing well in our economy demonstrate good strategic planning and are set-up to succeed. They can respond faster to changes and take advantage of changes to and within their markets. For 2012 their are going to be winners and losers as always.

The evidence is that those with a plan to succeed will do better than those without. Those who have a clear well defined strategic plan focused on where they want to go and with a plan to get them there will be more successful than those who wing it. 

Like to learn more then contact us at Cowden Consulting or see our website or social media channels for more about Cowden Consulting:-

Our services: business planning, strategic planning, business development and support services. 

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Do you have a plan for Growth?

Do you have a plan for GROWTH?

Do you have a clear vision of where you are going to take your business? Are you sure that everything you do today to increase turnover, acquire more clients and reduce the amount of time you work in your business is actually working? Successful businesses develop strategic plans to move their business forward, to grow and succeed.

The first role af any owner or director is to have a plan, from star-up onwards (not for the banks) but for you to own and deliver. That plan needs to be kept alive, fresh and driven to focus on success and succeeding.

GROWTH needs a strategy!

A strategy is a researched approach supported by a detailed plan of continual action steps. The reason strategies are so vital is they keep things moving, and in business, if you are not going forward, you’re going backwards, and that can happen very fast. So, if you want your business to be successful and/or pay you more, having a strategy that focuses on growth is a must!

If you have no formal strategy to take your business to the next level you need to refocus your priorities right now to create growth, here's the first stage of a growth strategy framework:

Step 1 Create a clear vision of what you want to achieve:

There’s an old saying that you can’t hit a target you can’t see. Well your vision is your target. Your vision needs to be very clear in terms of what you want from your business, by turnover, profit, customer type or all three? What’s your ideal position in that market, do you want to be known as the premier supplier of your product or service, or a low cost or niche player?

What about your personal goals to support your lifestyle?  You need to be very clear about what you want and what you don’t want. Have a clear focus that will keep you aligned with your long term goal for you and your business. 

Cowden Consulting provides Strategic Planning Workshops which enable owners to create their vision of what they want to achieve. Our SPW faciliated workshops provide the opportunity for owners to work on their business not in their business. To learn more about Strategic Planning Workshops (SPW's) or contact us by clicking Cowden Consulting to discuss your needs, or go to our website to learn more about us.

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