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Create your dream business from your kitchen table. In this episode, Richard moves onto the next step in developing a business rescue plan using ‘The Kitchen Table Guide’. Learn how to:

– Define which parts of your business work. And which don’t.

– Tackle the most difficult part of your business rescue plan: what to do about your employees.

– Think big about your business rescue plan and your Point B

“Begin your business rescue plan” transcript:

Welcome back. 

It’s Richard Simms here from FA Simms & Partners. We’re following through our series on The Kitchen Table Guide, which we talked about in the last episode. We’ll set the scene out for you: now I’m going to talk about the process of removing the contents from the box.

Just to recap…

The box is the box that your company lives in. It’s a miniature version of your company living in a cardboard box. And I’m going to go through that box now. We’re going to break down the contents into three parts on your kitchen table. 

Remember we talked about sitting there, blank table, empty mind. Just sit down with a blank piece of paper. Keep it nice and simple. Take the contents of the box. We’re going to lay them out into three categories. Okay. I’m going to put the good bits in the ‘good’ bit, the bad bits in the ‘bad’ bit, and the unknowns in the middle bit.  

So I’m just literally seeing this kitchen table in front of me. I’ve taken each part out and put some bits on the left-hand side, which is all the good bits, some on the right-hand side, which is the bad bits, and the middle bits is the not sure.

And you’ll say, ‘well, what on Earth are you talking about? What’s a ‘not sure’ asset?’ Well, a ‘not sure’ asset – and if you remember me saying that I’m not emotionally involved in your business here. I’m not judging individuals. I’m not judging you. I’m simply saying the situation – you might find you’ve got an employee in that business who, in fact, you’re not sure whether they are the future of the business. Whether they are doing the best for you. And you’re saying that person is in the middle of my table. Now we’ll look at that person, which we’ll come onto later and talk about it in a little more detail and say, ‘how do I make that person what I need them to be for the role they’re doing?’ 

And that’s the key. Notice the word ‘role’ there. It’s actually about the role they’re doing. Ignore the individual. Ignore who they are. I’m asking, are they capable of doing the role you need them to do? They capable of doing the role you want them to do? Are they capable of being the part of the business you need them to be? 

You remember me saying about having Point A, where we are today, and Point B, where we want to get to. We need to go through the process saying ‘actually does that asset, that individual (I’ll stick with the individual we’re talking about), is the individual part of point B or not? What can they do to make it work for us? What can we bring to us as a benefit? So did there’s good bits, bad bits, bits in the middle.

One of the examples might be of where to put something: let’s take, for example, you’ve got some stock and let’s say your business trades some stock, for example, you’ve got stock in there. That stock is very current stock. That’s good. You can move it very quickly. You can sell it overnight. No problem at all. That’s definitely good stuff. 

You might have some bad stock. You might have some bad stock in there that’s been sat there for years. It no longer has any particular market value. In fact, you’re paying to store that stock and you’re never going to sell it. It may be costing you more to store it than you can sell it for.

In the middle, you’ve got that stuff you’re saying, ‘well, actually I’ve got some stock that maybe a line we used to do. May there’s opportunity for us to take that forward in the future. Maybe it’s not a key part of what we’re doing. Because a business during its life, of course, will go through transition. You might have started on a project and decided you’re going to take some stock in to deal with that. But actually now that stock is no longer relevant for what you need. 

Okay. So again, let’s look at that. Good. Bad. Not sure. Let’s take that stock, lay it out on the table. Not physically! It could be quite big. So it could take your table over. I suggest actually you use a piece of paper for this. Even have little slips of paper that you write on those bits of paper what they are. Almost creating yourself a mini board game where you’re allowing yourself to lay things out and say, ‘right, I can move these around.’ 

Just because something starts in the good doesn’t mean it ends in the good. Just because something starts in the bad doesn’t mean it ends in the bad. So you’re going to give yourself that flexibility to take things around, move them around and see how it goes from that side. 

Really important to look at it. 

We’re then having to challenge ourselves because now we’ve got all this laid out in front of us, we’ve got to spend a bit more time looking at our Point B. And remember we said this Point B is where we want to get to. We’ll talk about some of the things that you could do over the next few episodes. But the most important thing is to say,’ well, actually, what would I do?’ How do you get yourself to achieve what you want to be? How did you decide what Point B is? I think it’s quite a simplistic approach. It’s a very easy way to do it. 

Get one of those blank sheets of paper we talked about earlier. That’s how I look at it. Take that blank sheet of paper. If you’re going into business tomorrow, if you’re going to start a company tomorrow, take the blank sheet of paper and write what you’d be. What would that business look like? What would make you say ‘that’s the business I want to be part of?’ That blank sheet of paper is very important to create your Point B.

How big that distance is – as I mentioned in the previous episode – the distance between Point A and Point B will depend upon the complexity of the move. It will depend on what steps need to be taken, to get from Point A to Point B. And how many of the things on your table – good, bad, not sure – you will need to be part of your Point B business. Because to get to Point B, again, we need to be clear on that. I would say it’s a bit of a wishlist, I understand that, but it’s important.  

That’s why you need to have a clear head to do this. You’re going to write down that on this paper and say ‘right, this is the business I want to be.’ 

Please don’t allow what you’ve always done to cloud that. That piece of paper has to be totally independent. Don’t be forced to create that blank sheet of paper, that Point B, purely because it’s what you’ve done before. Free yourself to do this. And I know it sounds, it sounds easy to do. That’s why you must be in an environment where you’re not under immediate time pressure. You’re not under immediate pressure from work. This has to be a very clear headed approach to do what you need to do. Because if you don’t do that, you’re going to find yourself just going back to where you were. You’re gonna end up doing Point A.1 sort of thing. Because you’re going to end up very, very slightly different, because you haven’t forced yourself to say ‘right, what do I really want to do? How do I make that change?’

So again, just to recap. Take the concept of the box. That’s your business. ‘A’ for the good. ‘B’ for the bad. Then the rest of the bits in the middle. Okay. So good bits, bad bits, middle bits. Then we’re going to say right, we’ve got a blank sheet of paper. Let’s just have a look at that. Let’s try and create what we want the business to look like. Really, really challenge yourself to make sure you’ve thought about that. Really, really make yourself, force yourself and say ‘what’s my dream business?’ I’m being slightly unrealistic for a purpose, because you need to see what you really want to do. What makes you feel better? 

And I talked about this with many people before. If you got up in the morning and you go to work when you first started your business, you probably thought, ‘oh, I’m so enthusiastic. I’m so full of beans. I’m somebody who wants to make this business work. I want to put every hour I can into it.’ If you’ve got to the point where actually you get up and go to work and it’s kind of a bit of a burden, a bit of a pain to say the least, then that’s when we need to go through this process. 

Because actually you should get up in the morning and you should look forward to work. Not see work as a burden. Because if you’re running your own business, working in a business where you’re the owner-manager of that business, involved at a senior level of that business there has to be enthusiasm. Because that enthusiasm is what allows people to grow from you. Your customers grow from the enthusiasm of the business, your staff, your employees grow from the enthusiasm you have for what you do. In the same way, your suppliers, et cetera. So if you don’t have that enthusiasm, it’s not going to work.  

So what we’re looking to do is rekindle the enthusiasm you think you might have lost for your business because suddenly you’re saying, ‘this is what I want to do’. This blank sheet of paper, this process of writing down what you want to do is massively, massively important. It’s saying ‘right, what would make me spark? What would make me fly out of bed in the morning saying I’m so keen to do this job?’ 

I will challenge you to do that. I’ll challenge you to make yourself look at it and say, ‘right. I will know what that is and I can see how big the distance is. Worry about that A to B process – we’ll talk a bit about what you need to do to get to that A to B process, we’ll expand this series later, with more context on the steps you can take through various formal rescue processes if you need to, using bits of the law to allow you to do, if you need to – later. 

Let’s establish first of all how big the leap is from A to B, what B looks like, how much of A we need. Those are the things to go through. So I’ll skip on from here now and I’ll move onto the next part. So please do join us for that next time. Thank you. 

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