Your business is your economy

When I looked at the typical "hassle map"1 of a business owner, it dawned on me that we tend to focus on the things that we cannot control or have little control over.

Here Are things we do have control over:

  • My attitude: Do I see the proverbial glass as half full or half empty? This is a purposeful choice I can make.
  • Being reliable and trustworthy: To keep my promises – delivering on my value proposition.
  • My business expenses: Do I have a 12-18 month cash flow forecast which will highlight times of sales abundance or shortfall?
  • Ensuring good supply chain management: Contracting with my suppliers (credit terms) and clients (payment terms if credit is granted).
  • Maintaining a good credit record: Do I actively manage my creditworthiness and that of my business? A sterling credit record comes into play when the going gets tough, as will happen from time to time.
  • Hiring appropriate staff: I appoint people to fulfil a specific role in my business. Are their responsibilities clearly defined and contracted? People sometimes do what you ask them to do – but they mostly do what you pay them to do.
  • Marketing my business: I can decide which marketing mix works best for my business and how much I want to spend on promoting my business and product/service offer.
  • Setting and meeting reasonable sales targets: The sales process is 100% under my control. I can decide to whom I want to sell something and how much I am willing to spend on my sales capacity. I can calculate how many sales I need per year, month and day to meet my sales objectives.
  • My business expansion: Asking for referrals from satisfied clients.
  • Ensuring adequate service delivery: This includes both pre- and post-sales service delivery and the meeting of client expectations.
  • My business conduct: My own and my staff’s professional conduct.

Here are things we have limited or no control over:

  • Government policies, legislation and requirements: It is best to comply with these.
  • Tax: Pay what is due and continue with your life!
  • Exchange rates: Take note and adjust your finances, costing, and pricing as required.
  • Competitors: Keep close tabs on your competitors’ activities, using their website, advertising, PR and mystery shopping as potential sources of information.
  • Interest rate: Ensure the best possible credit rating for negotiating leverage with financiers.

In the end we should all “mind our business”, by applying a single-minded focus on our business targets and executing daily deliberate actions that will deliver results.

To support business owners with the important task of business planning, Sanlam gives you free access to the book Your Annual Business Game Plan for Success, which provides an easy and straightforward framework needed to draft a well-crafted game plan that will create the positive change and growth necessary for business success. Go to to download your free copy.

1A so-called “hassle map” is a step-by-step depiction of the lives of customers using a product, and the problems big and small that they encounter. If you can eliminate these hassles, you can revolutionise a product or market.


The content in this article was provided by Jannie Rossouw, Head: Sanlam Business Market. Sanlam is a diversified financial services group, headquartered in South Africa, operating across a number of selected global markets.

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