Those familiar with my work, articles and podcasts may know that I am a fixer by nature. For the last number years, I have spent most of my time attending to and fixing businesses and trusts. I love that every project is different and that every business has its own unique challenges.

I suppose one of my key attributes as a fixer is that I can see patterns in data, or rather as is more often my experience, the lack of data available. It is this ability that enabled me to pinpoint the key areas where I am able to contribute maximum value in businesses.

To better explain the key areas of optimisation I decided to categorise the various roles and functions into 8 key areas, set out below.

  1. The Engine Room – the nuts and bolts of the operation

This has to do with the back-end operations, the hidden stuff we don’t pay too much attention to. It is here that we look at automation and customer relationship management systems.

When things don’t run smoothly here trouble with customer care, delivering on promises and time management will soon crop up.

  1. Guarding the Gold – all the money stuff

So, if figures, accounting and tax does not make your hear sing, this is the area that may trip you up sooner rather than later. Here we get up close and personal with budgets, cashflow and tax.

When this area in the business is not optimised, we will find that we are paying too much, always struggle to meet financial demands and are often caught off guard with expenses.

  1. The stuff that gets you in trouble – because they said so

Confession time, this is the area in business that makes no-one’s heart sing; the proverbial red-head stepchild. This is all about the rules, regulations and compliance thrown at us by various regulatory bodies.

So, unless you have a costly, in-house solution for all necessary compliance it is likely that you will at some stage get into trouble. Alas, do not fret, as it is an area that can be brought up to standard fairly quickly and once sorted can be maintained on an annual basis.

  1. Let’s not start a Riot – the people stuff

When referring to our team we often only think about the emotional and human element. Unless you have an inhouse human resources division, things like the HR systems, policies and procedures often fall by the wayside. In some instances, when we start businesses, we may look at these HR systems, but very seldom are the systems, policies and procedures revisited as time goes by.

The unprecedented, almost overnight transition from in-office work to virtual work as a result of the COVID pandemic very quickly pointed out our misaligned or lack of proper HR policies and procedures.

  1. The Fork in the Road – Let’s think about it – strategic decision-making

Global and internal trends impact our business, and 2020 has certainly delivered in spades. To survive and thrive we need to understand these trends and strategically plan the way forward.

For strategic planning to get go over to action we will need the back-end operations and the money stuff to support the plan.

  1. Get more bang for your buck – do more with what you have

Many of us are currently faced with getting more done with less. To get more bang for our buck we often have to look at upskilling, repurposing and resource optimisation.

Look out for my next article to learn more.

  1. From Good to Great – human performance

Circling back to the people, but here we are more interested in the human element. To get the most from your team you need to understand the unique individual contribution delivered by each person in the team. Learning & development as well as support for team members will further enhance contribution and delivery.

  1. The Yardstick – measuring performance

Gone are the days of the dreaded stuffy annual performance review.

People do the best with what they’ve got, so make sure you set clear expectations, have frequent touchpoints to discuss performance and recognise performance regularly.


In the articles to follow this month I will delve deeper into the various key areas.

Don’t miss our Masterclass on Wednesday, 25 November 2020 when we will take a look at ‘Getting it done with less’

Published On: November 3rd, 2020 / Categories: Mentor, Small Medium Enterprise (SME) / Tags: , /

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