The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) will be running its annual High Street Conference on 11 May in Worcestershire and Shanker Patel, CEO of the Lords Group of Companies, is amongst the speaker line-up.
Here, he reveals what it really takes to run a successful business.
1. Being Strategic
Ensuring that not only do you manage day-to-day detail but keeping one eye on the big picture at all times. Markets, customers and environments are constantly changing therefore one has to take a step back to be able to evaluate these changes and how they affect your business – positively or negatively.
2. Understanding Finance
Understanding cashflow, being able to obtain financial advice from our accountants and bankers has been highly beneficial to our growth. From the early stages we learnt how to grow whilst ensuring we had sufficient cashflow to do so. We focused on timely production of financial information so we knew factually what was happening in our business rather than guessing or relying on our gut feel.
3. Building a good team
The most important and sometimes the most difficult aspect of any business. We were fortunate to recognise early on in our growth that we could not do this without having good colleagues. We learnt to recruit, retain and reward our colleagues which resulted in our colleagues being aligned to our vision and strategy as well ensuring we met them.
4. Focusing on customer service
Our philosophy is if you look after your customer, your customer will in return look after you. We have always maintained that there is no such thing as old fashioned customer service – simply great customer service which changes with the needs, desires and demographics of our customers.
5. Continuous learning
A large part of our growth has come from constantly learning from of our markets, contacts, suppliers, customers and formal training options. We are constantly evaluating how we can do something better, challenging the reason we do something, measuring if our practices are efficient and productive and seeking external assistance in making us better.