There’s no hiding from it – small businesses are having a tough time of things. There’s a lot going on around us and you can be forgiven for feeling a bit overwhelmed just trying to keep going.
Even against that backdrop, there are opportunities out there too. Many of you will have growth plans, and these don’t have to be put on hold. Perversely, now may be the best time to invest and set a new path.
If you could take a moment to work out what is really important, it may be the smartest choice you make this year. Selecting a few things and committing to do them really well, knowing they will have a positive impact, is a powerful recipe for success.
In this video I introduce a framework to help you do this. If you gather all the issues you face or actions you could take, you can grade them against common metrics to predict their effects. If you use two scales, an even richer picture emerges. I like to use the standard financial performance on one scale because we can never really get away from that. On the other I look for measures of impact on your reputation and the confidence other people have in your business.
There may be an option out there for some short-term savings, but it risks your reputation in the eyes of customers or potential new recruits. Perhaps a good fix for now, but is it worth the long-term harm to future business? Another may be something that resonates with the times, but is an expensive change. It could boost confidence in your leadership and help your strategic position, but at a cost. Each of these examined individually are hard to prioritise, but plotted out against the two axes and the top right hand corner begins to show where the win-win cases are. Try to do everything and your effort will be diluted and unlikely to yield a meaningful result.
However you use it, the materiality matrix is a decision support tool. It will help you to clarify your thinking, and demonstrate to others why you have chosen to do the things you do. That transparency tends to lead to greater support from all kinds of stakeholders. It also allows you to go back and revisit your logic and your priorities as things change around you.
The principle also plays to the power of simplicity and resilience, which are likely to make any business more ready for whatever the future brings. To see how this could be applied in your business, please get in touch and let’s explore the challenges and the choices you face.