How to Plan Ahead In Order to Get Ahead
Identifying business strategy is an important part of running your own company, no matter what industry you operate in. I would say that doing this is especially true for small and medium-size businesses that are nowhere near the level of maturity that many of their competitors have reached. When it comes down to it, being aware of your corporate strategy is very much like developing your business plan during the beginning stages of your business. The difference here is that you could argue that business strategy planning for future development once your business is up and running is much more involved than initial business planning.
Since your company has begun establishing itself in its sector, gathering a steady customer base, and bringing in a respectable amount of revenue every quarter, it only makes sense that the stakes are higher now.
By identifying business strategy, you can make sure that your company continues to follow the path that brought from its infancy into the role of a legitimate business and continues to take it farther than that.
So let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can make sure you identify and establish the right strategies in order to achieve long-term objectives.
Analyze Your Situation
When you’re planning anything, whether it’s related to business or not, you want to look at the situation and try to consider any factors that might affect your plans.
As far as your company is concerned, this would mean making sense of your business environment. That would include factors like:
- Knowing your industry – Is your industry currently in an upturn or downturn? Is the nature of your industry such where new developments are always emerging (i.e. technology)? Are there times of the year that are bigger for your industry than others (i.e. toys and Christmas)?
Questions like these should be on your mind all the time, but they should be especially prevalent when it comes to identifying business strategy.
- Knowing your customers – You wouldn’t be anywhere without them, so it helps to know just who your serve so that you can further capitalize on your efforts and strengthen your reputation among consumers.
- Assessing the viability of your ideas – While you’re analyzing your situation, it pays to know just how plausible any ideas you might come up with would be. You may want to test certain practices, seek advice from colleagues and mentors, and study any similar situations that may have occurred in the past
Testing your ideas will allow you to see how well they might thrive in the market or, conversely, how poorly they might do if rolled out on a larger scale. By testing your ideas early, you can either generate a positive buzz and create anticipation for a future product, or kill an idea before it hurts your revenue and reputation. Analyzing your situation is a step in the right direction but, once you’ve done that, it’s time to follow through. After you’ve looked at the circumstances, the next step is identifying business strategy by establishing long term goals.
Key Long Term Goal Areas to Examine
Since every business is different, there is no true one-size-fits-all formula for coming up with an effective business strategy, but there are a few areas in which every business should establish goals.
Some of those can include:
- Your standing compared to the competition – Look at what the companies you compete against do as far as business is concerned and figure out where you want to be. By knowing your standing, you can figure out if there are things that you can do better than them, capitalize on those areas, and try to take some of their market share.
- Your employees – Not only do your employees serve as the face of your company, their skill drives it; which makes them a core part of identifying business strategy.
From providing additional training in important skill sets, to implementing policies that keep morale and productivity high, you should work to develop your employees and offer an example that other companies will want to follow.
- Growth – This goes hand in hand with planning your business’s future, but you should clarify just what kind of growth you want to achieve.
Do you want to get a larger office? Open additional locations? Expand the variety of offerings you bring to the market? Expand the geographic area that receives your product? Growth in business can mean many different things and part of identifying business strategy has to do with just how you want to grow. By identifying the type of growth that you want your company to achieve, you can establish a clear path for how to get there.
In order to plan a corporate strategy effectively, you have to look to the past, the present and the future. Only by knowing where you’ve been, where you are right now, and knowing where you want to go in the future, can you establish a strong, well-thought out plan that will help you navigate your industry and outmaneuver your competition.
By taking the right steps in identifying business strategy, you can not only avoid actions that might harm your business, but seize opportunities that will take it to great places.
Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated. Keep it simple!
For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your small business profitably, please check out our website www.portalcfo.com.
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Manny Skevofilax is a consultant and speaker that helps his clients successfully navigate the challenges of growing their businesses profitably. Since 2003, Manny helps businesses enhance their results by using his experience in strategic planning, financial statement analysis, operations, organizational development, and team-building. His consulting firm, PORTAL CFO Consulting, Inc., has attracted clients from diverse industries in the United States and abroad.
Manny can be reached at 410-808-3441 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.