“Success is not a function of the size of your title but the richness of your contribution” – Robin Sharma
Before COVID-19, would you have said you measure success via annual turnover, profit in the bank, team size?
Has that changed over the past eight weeks?
The status quo has made us resistant to progress. We are led to believe that making huge amounts of money in the first one/five/ten years of business is the truth to how successful a business is. But is working yourself into the ground to get there successful? Is letting staff go because they do not conform to the norm of your industry morally OK? Is a refusal to adapt your strategy “because we have always done it this way” a bit short-sighted? In truth, you can measure business success through financial gain, but it is only one of many ways your business can, and should, be successful and if the current climate does not teach us that, then nothing will.
Kameo believe they have always measured success in many other ways, before money in the bank. We are a small business in a huge industry – an industry massively struggling right now. But our fight goes on because, to us, money has only ever made up part of what defines us as a business. The following paragraphs are likely more relatable if you manage, or work for, a small to medium sized business. It’s our bag – it’s what we know best, and therefore it seems sensible to address those businesses for this subject matter.
As a small business we are more mindful of budget than ever before! We are not blind to the situation around us and we are in touch with the professionals who help us manage our spend. But, through it all, we will continue to promote our brand and so should you. There are several ways of promoting your brand for free but also, with a bit of research and strategic planning, you can learn to stretch a marketing budget of £0 too.
Socially we are putting 90% of our effort into maximising LinkedIn. We analysed our resource level and recognised that trying to make the most of all our social platforms was mind-blowing. We redeveloped and simplified our social strategy specifically for COVID-19 and have worked tirelessly to keep our brand alive through this platform. Do you have a small team, or only one person looking after your social media? Would you consider putting maximum effort into one strategy instead of scattering ideas across many? For us, it has worked very well and opened our eyes to ways we have adopted – not just now but permanently, because we believe they will be impactful, a good use of our time and, ultimately, help our business flourish.
Your team – not the number of people you have working for you, but the role they plan and how happy you make their working environment, should also be considered a way of measuring success. Have you checked in with your colleagues recently? How happy are they? If you manage a team, or a business, and you are still paying your staff to do a job, check in with them every day without fail. In 2020, we are more aware than ever before of our mental well-being, and people want to work for an employer who cares and an employer they can approach when they are in a sticky situation. We are not saying become their best friend, but you employed them, or at least played a part in their employment, so the least they deserve during this uncertainty is a small amount of your time. We are all under extraordinary pressure right now. The demands have changed to the role we play on a professional and personal level and, whilst much is unknown, your team will look to you for guidance and excellent leadership throughout this pandemic. In short, show compassion and, post COVID-19, you will have an excellent team, proud to work for an individual or a business, who handled a crisis so well.
You could investigate the environment you and your team are working in. Right now many of us are working from home, and that is unlikely to change until July. But eight weeks in, are you, as a business owner or manager, proud of the environment you have created for your employees? Have you acknowledged that we are working in less than perfect working conditions? Have you supported the team player who struggles to work alone? Have you managed your expectations of the parent with two or three young children at home? Is there more you could be doing to better the working environment and, in return, the success of your business? Moving forward, what have you learnt about home working and flexible hours that could become a permanent fixture? What a privilege it is to work from home, be present with our children and earn an income too – a far cry from what our parents would have had during their career – and, if you see one or more of these things working for you and your business, work it into your business model moving forward. In the words of Shawn Achor “happiness inspires productivity”.
Have you ever read Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game? It is a brilliant book written by Martin Lewis and, even though the world has changed since it was first published, the message is the same: Re-examine how things have always been done and try to figure out if it’s possible to do it better.
There is no denying we are living in economically testing times and, if you are a small business still measuring your success based on money in the bank, our advice is be mindful of it but don’t beat yourself up if the profits are dwindling and the money coming in looks scarce. Take a step back and plan to begin measuring your success in other ways – we promise they are there.
To close, a quote from Sharon on how she measures success: “My measure of success, right from the start, is what impact are we having on other people? I set up Kameo with a different view. It was definitely about the impact we have on people in recruitment, but also through the extra work that we do. At the end of the day, if we’ve made a difference, then we’ve had a successful day. Obviously, we need money coming in because we have bills to pay but, ultimately, it’s not about money – for me it’s the difference we make.
If there are people out there right now struggling financially, think about how you can make a difference to people because that makes you, and others, feel good, and it does not take money to help somebody. If you are feeling down right now, and I believe every business owner probably is, try to make a difference and help somebody. That, in turn, will help your business. Other ways to measure success – put your employees first and think about how they feel working for you? The environment and culture you create is so important too”