Peter Rijsdijk’s interview with Julie Perkins
Wyseminds’ purpose-led financial advisor, Peter, talks to Julie about what he is currently seeing on the front line of entrepreneurship, 5 months into 2021.
Now that we are approaching half way through 2021, what are some of the main challenges that still remain? What are the differences between 2020 and the beginning of Covid and 2021?
This year I see 3 different challenges, based on the latest developments:
- Now we know more about certain patterns of customer behaviour, business owners need to continually face the facts in order to achieve continuity in a responsible manner. Be honest about your strategic positioning in this post-Covid period and how you are standing to move on into stability and exploring opportunities.
- Throughout 2020, when we were unsure of the future we did what we had to do with perhaps a more cautious approach to spending and investments. We know more now in 2021 and can see a movement from crisis to opportunity-driven growth culture. Now it’s time for the organisation and finances to grow back together; review the structure of your company to support growth in a way that takes your green shoots into a successful strategy that is built to last, reduce your temporary “make do” ways of working, take the data that guides you and supports you rather than that which confines you. In order to choose what the data is, you need to understand your data and finances even more than you ever have before. You can then work with the information as your friend, knowing how to use it and when you don’t need it. Just like a finance comfort blanket, build your finances as a strength around you, not to coffin you in and wrap your dreams, but so they can surround you as the silent partner.
- There is a dynamic market existing right now with many opportunities – an acquisition market. However, seeing these opportunities and more importantly being curious about the right ones for you starts with thinking about Purpose. Where are the opportunities that support this and good strategic positioning and last but not least, what do you really want as an entrepreneur?
From what you have seen during the initial months of 2021, what are the key reasons that are stopping people from growing their businesses?
It’s very important to know what you are good at in your organisation. What is stopping entrepreneurs from growing is when they do not know this. You can become your own barrier.
In Pandemic times, as with any shifting external forces, business owners are confronted with developments that do not arise from a normal supply & demand situation. There is more of a careful approach to stepping into the unknown and this apprehension could miss strong opportunities that exist right now. We’re being expected to move from “crisis management” in 2020 with reactive changes into a more proactive driven growth plan.
We should all ask ourselves what do I know? What do I feel confident in doing now? What can and do I want? What do I not want and how do I organise that? You are able to arrange expertise around you, you don’t have to do this alone – the key is to acknowledge the situation and act on it so a more proactive attitude can assist.
With your new developments that were company saving in 2020, regroup with your team and experts, to make adjustments to make them work harder for you.
Over the past 12 months you should have a feel of where the tensions/pressure points are, what worked for you and what didn’t. As we move into the next phase it requires the entrepreneur to stop running around, doing and dealing with the issues of the day, and shift to continually work on your company (not in it). What are we doing (well)? Are we (still) aligned? Is my team doing well? Are we living our purpose? Continue to raise this and take time to reflect.
Another potential barrier to developing new growth plans is also financing. There is additional caution in this crisis year. However there is a range of financing options that is available for disruptive and sustainable growth plans as well as good financial options for strategic partnerships and acquisitions, so assume nothing.
What is currently creating successful growth? Are there more opportunities opening up?
If you identify opportunities in your market, the key step is checking whether these opportunities fit in with your company. Not every opportunity is right for your business. Always try to come back to your strategic goal – sometimes something seems like an opportunity for a short-term effect, but is not actually an opportunity in relation to your strategic goal. Staying aware of this goal allows you to quickly assess the worth in adjusting to respond to it. And, as your strategic goal stems from your purpose, it can help you in making the right decisions to drive impactful growth – if you stay true to it. The key is to know what you want as an entrepreneur and it’s this that’s rooted in your purpose.
What’s the greatest piece of advice for entrepreneurs at this moment? How do you feel about 2021 so far?
In any crisis situation it is human nature to create a sense of urgency, to release the right energy amongst your team to ensure everyone acts in a certain way and that they’re ‘willing’ to act too. We become so involved in the doing and the solving, a reactionary pattern of working, that we can miss critical signs of potential problems and be able to realistically assess how things are going overall. It’s also human behaviour to deny seeing this so we try to move the hamster wheel faster and faster, “at least I’ll die trying.”
So my advice would be; create insight and oversight for yourself and your organisation – where am I, where are we going, what do I need? This will give you peace of mind and the space to get started. The moment this becomes an uncertainty, fear arises and the mind wanders and you are not present in what your company needs to do.
Create peace and space for entrepreneurship with financial insight. Look at your budgets and your plans, seek out the turnover opportunities and consider the costs that are there. From here, you can look at the worst-case and best-case scenarios, and be able to create a target budget. This can act as an important guide to see whether you’re on the right track or whether you need to adjust.
Driving forward with purpose is key. There needs to be an awareness of the target budget so you are taking decisions knowing what the financial situation is, being open, clear and proactively discussing this together with your team. Don’t wait to be excited about a project and then throw in the money situation last minute. They should work together with you considering the purpose-led strategic options and then how to achieve these based on the budget available.
And last but not least, be honest with yourself and dare to be critical on what and who you need to support you coming out of this pandemic crisis. Be ready to adjust, reform and prepare the strength of your company for the next period. Companies can come out of a crisis stronger, if they leave it behind in the right manner.
What you can do now
As we move into the post-Covid era, there will be new opportunities for growth for those companies that are clear and strong with their direction. Understanding where you are currently positioned and the strength of your purpose plays a key role in successfully seeking out the right opportunities and to continue to innovate towards adding value to your customer.
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A note on Peter
Peter Rijsdijk is a business advisor and partner at Thexton Armstrong who is currently supporting 15 entrepreneurs, preparing them and a growing number of clients for opportunities that present themselves in these changing post-Covid times.
Over the past year, Peter has played a critical part in the development of the Wyseminds evaluation programme for the power of purpose-led, working with us to develop and begin to answer one of the biggest questions at Wyseminds, “If being truly purpose-led drives a greater level of success should there not be a monetary value we place on it?”