Dr. Ian R Kirkwood PhD, MBA, DipMechEng, MAICD, JP
Associate Dean – MBA program, James Cook University, Brisbane.
Trainer, Coach & Consultant www.iankirkwood.org

This article is about creating and maintaining ‘Smart Businesses”. Smart businesses are businesses that are wholesome and knowingly sustainable in all dimensions: ethically, socially, ecologically, economically, and with sound ongoing governance. Unfortunately, a high percentage of managers and owners are untrained in this aspect of business management.

In his management career, Ian Kirkwood was involved in two separate company ‘turn-arounds’ where both companies were considered ‘normal’ but in reality, were making losses and heading towards ultimate closure. Cutting a long story short, the lessons learned from being involved in these two tumultuous events have been built into the SS&RM model. On top of this, Kirkwood has been teaching and investigation models of sustainability at JCU’s Brisbane campus for several years now. All his findings plus research done by students in hundreds of companies has culminated in the SS&RM approach to business sustainability.

The SS&RM approach has been broken down into five steps that business people can easily digest and progressively implement on a project-timeline basis. The process can be adapted to suit any SME business in any industry. The first step is to figure out what phase or stage of sustainability the business is currently at. This involves a critical analysis of the business in all areas. From this analysis, it can be deduced if the business is unsustainable in any area and what it would look like if it were truly sustainable. The third step is to create a business-case for sustainability to ascertain everything that would be involved in any subsequent conversion, including time, involvement and cost. A conscious decision can then be made to make all changes, some changes, or no changes. The fourth step is to create and implement a transformation plan that would convert the business from its current state to its desired future sustainable-state. And finally, a monthly, quarterly, annual monitoring system should be implemented to ensure no backsliding to old ways.

The SS&RM system gives anyone a truly workable model of sustainability that is easy to understand, is fully captured in five logical steps, and can be implemented in any SME business. The author can be contacted for full details if desired.

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