Remember you're a Womble!

Readers of a certain age will read the headline of this blog and immediately have a tune running through your head like a long lost brainworm.

That clarion call was a cry to remember what was at the heart of being a Womble. It may not have been particularly eloquent but

“Remember, member, member what a Womble, Womble, Womble you are”

is a really clear reminder of what you are - well if you’re a Womble anyway!

The chances are that you’re not a Womble, or more pertinently your business may not be a Womble, but it is still important not to lose sight of what you started out with the intention of achieving when you first set up your business – what inspired you to start in the first place?

Most people start their business with real clarity on what they want to do. They may not be clear on how to do it, but they have that seed of an idea from which the business grows.

However, over time things change. It may be that an existing customer asks you if you can do something or produce something that you haven’t previously done. They may even offer you a good price because you’re getting them out of a hole. What could go wrong?

You then look to increase the range further and before you know it you’re producing a vast range of products, with less attractive margins and can’t really remember how you ended up with such an enormous range and a less successful business!

You may have watched some of the Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares programmes where Gordon goes to visit a restaurant that is on its last legs. Quite often there’ll be 50 items on the menu, the kitchen is in chaos and the owner is standing in the corner with a look on their face that very clearly shows they’ve no clue how they ended up in this state.

Very often Gordon will get them get them back on track by slimming the menu right down and reminding them of why they started their business in the first place. He gets rid of all the extra stuff that’s built up over the years and has just created confusion in the owner’s mind.

You can probably imagine him smashing his fist down on the kitchen counter and shouting, two inches away from the owner’s face, “REMEMBER YOU’RE A WOMBLE!!!!” – although he may not be able to resist inserting a few additional expletives that were not in the original lyrics.

So how do you stop yourself falling into the same trap with your business?

Here are some tips I would recommend:

  • Write down your vision for your business
  • Translate that vision into a Strategic Plan
  • Identify what the critical success factors (CSF’s) are to ensure the Strategic Plan is delivered
  • Communicate those CSF’s to your senior team and make sure they fully understand and buy into them
  • Monitor the ongoing performance of the business against those CSF’s
  • Review your Strategic Plan on a regular basis

We’re all prone to being distracted but by having a clear strategy and easily identified critical success factors, you can minimise the risk of this having a detrimental impact on your business.

My final recommendation is that you get pictures of Gordon and Great Uncle Bulgaria on the wall by your desk and let those two images act as a means of ensuring you stay true to your original vision and ….