In this day and age I often hear many ‘Limited co’ business owners referring to an excess of Government bureaucracy, too much ‘red tape’ that ties them up in knots that they feel has a detrimental effect on their business. They may of course be right given there’s a raft of legislation to comply with. For example there is Companies House insisting on the receipt of annual financial declarations, notification of changes to address and legal structure, the visibility of statutory information on business stationery, internal changes to board structure and the need to follow those Articles of Association. Then there are those chaps from the Inland Revenue who have requirements for business and personal taxation and VAT returns. There’s further regulation enforced by local government, the Information Commissioner and the Environment Agency too and a host of Acts passed by Law (H&S / Equal Opportunities / Disability Discrimination / Trade Descriptions / Sale of Goods and so on), so perhaps it’s fair to say there’s too much?
However, having been doing this job for many years now I still find it’s not the enforced rules that create problems for businesses perhaps because of the threat and penalties that each of these can yield.
But doing the job I do, acting as a marketing consultant, non-executive director, facilitator and motivator, I still see businesses that are devoid of any internal planning processes that can only help to drive in structure. To my way of thinking (and working) structure gives the individuals you employ a clear set of boundaries that they operate within, and who they may report to. It defines their roles and their specific responsibilities and in so doing gives them the scope to act more proactively. Imagine the opposite effect being adopted. Your staff may have a job title and they know the elements of that role but they arrive at work and regularly find others asking them to ‘firefight’ in areas outside that brief. Ask yourself the question, “would I invite a plumber to my home to repair a door”, of course not; it wouldn’t even enter your head. Yet I see clients who having first appointed us, use receptionists to make sales calls, estimators and production staff to serve clients and directors failing to share information about the challenges, plans and direction the business needs to take (usually because they don’t have one). Consequently, this malaise demotivates their teams and eventually resignations are inevitable. They may all feel that in helping one another contributes to the ‘team ethic’ when in reality this simply isn’t so. In sport, teams are coached to get results and players are asked to perform specific roles for maximum benefit. By doing anything other than this you are always reacting when in fact you need to identify the problem and proactively tackle it head-on.
Yet there is no legal requirement to ensure that those of us who run or own businesses have to complete a ‘driving licence in business planning’ to ensure we are better equipped to build an effective business that is better equipped to pass the test of time. A business that has at its core the basic competencies and building blocks for stability, measurement and growth. No regulations exist for this but I wonder if they should if we are to see fewer businesses completing those insolvency forms that Companies House don’t wish to receive?
In next month’s blog we’ll look at the thoughts and reality behind the book ‘Stuffocation’.
In the meantime, if you would like to respond to the comments in this blog post or talk to us about how we could help you in your business, please email me at email@example.com