8 things you need to start working on your small business strategic plan
If you’ve ever tried to get directions from Google Maps on how to get from Atlanta, GA to the Bahamas, Google Maps will respond, “We could not calculate directions between Atlanta, GA and The Bahamas. Even if you were to put specific points such as from the restaurant around the corner to the Angler’s Restaurant and Bar in March Harbor, there are no clear directions from one location to the other. Essentially, with the resources Google has, you cannot get to that destination from there.
Of course, when you add other resources, such as a plane or a boat or other vessel to get from Atlanta to The Bahamas, suddenly, the Bahamas is a viable destination.
It is no different for your small business – or any business. Where you want your business to end up, whether that means that you simply have enough business to sustain it, then eventually sell it or pass it down, or you seek to build it into a powerful multinational enterprise, simply doing what you have always done will typically not get you there.
If you want to build the company you have envisioned, you must plan for it – and plan strategically, meaning you are determining how to get from point a to point b with recognition of obstacles and limitations, and how to overcome them. The tools or components you will need to have access to in order to create your plan include:
- Understanding of where you want to go. That could be financial, timing, geographic, assets, number of employees or other measurable goal. It is important for it to be measurable so that you can tell how far you have gotten and what it will take to get there.
- Understand your company beliefs. Your company beliefs provide a framework for growth. As more people join the organization, they should understand how you work, what you stand for and get on board with your company, rather than being a liability.
- Understand your SWOT. Understanding your Strengths and Weaknesses, and being aware of Opportunities and Threats in the marketplace are essential for sustainability and growth
- Evaluate the trends. Markets, consumers, technology, political, industry trends will impact the way you do business. You can probably see how mobile technologies have changed the way that people interact, do business and choose what to do. Disregarding trends will put your company at a disadvantage or out of business.
- Know your Customers – how they buy, how often they buy, why they buy, what makes them buy, where they are located, etc
- Know your Industry – is your industry shrinking or expanding? what are the industry leaders doing differently then you? Are there unexplored opportunities?
- Know your Competitors – who is taking money out of your pocket and why are you letting them? What makes you different then them? What value do you provide that they cannot duplicate easily? What offerings do they have that you can easily duplicate? What are they doing that you MUST duplicate or risk obsolescence or lose market share?
- Know your resources – don’t look at your resources as limiting, but understand what you have immediately available to you. Understanding your resources will help you make the best use of them as you decide what other resources you will need to add in order to achieve your goals
Yes – there is a lot of background work that you need to have before starting the process. You might think that this is way too much work, and you can keep doing what you are doing and get there. You can also get to the Bahamas in a row boat.
Think about it: striving to build an extraordinary business is a choice. You will work a little harder and a little longer, but at the end of the day, you will be able to make the choices those that remain self-employed, enslaved to their businesses will never be able to make. Such as flying to the Bahamas.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN| CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses. We support our clients with financial management, product and service production and delivery, outsourced services management, sales & marketing and business growth. We provide them with a number of flexible solutions to help them reach their goals.
Join us for a 30-minute complimentary Coffee & a Consult, to learn more about Aepiphanni and how we might help you move your company from existing to extraordinary.