Friday, May 31, 2013

A Compass to Guide You and Your Business

You can greatly increase your chances of business success by creating a business strategy and adopting a habit of keeping that strategy up-to-date. The purpose of a business strategy is so that you can use it regularly to assess your company's performance against the goals you have set. It can also act as an early warning system to alert you against going astray and gives you a guide to why you're not keeping on track. Having a business strategy will be useful and sometimes vital to investors and banks when you need them to consider funding your business. It is also a useful tool in allocating resources and identifying growth potential. On a practical note, it will help to ensure that you meet certain key targets and manage business priorities effectively. A good business strategy should have a time-frame, typically 12 or 24 months, and should include: o A summary - what your business does, its development, where you want to take it, strategy for improving sales and the process to achieve the desired growth. o Marketing plans - your aims and objectives. o Operational details - Is the location of your business relevant? What suppliers, premises and equipment are needed? o Financial forecasts - including profit and loss, cashflow and sales forecasts and audited accounts. o Main objectives - Clearly define your aims and objectives for your business with dates for completion. o Exit plan - Some business owners like to include a departure date and circumstances into their business strategy. For example, family succession or floatation. Most businesses choose to assess progress every 3 or 6 months. These meetings should involve key members of staff and the same goes for setting up the original strategy. It is important to include those people who will be responsible for implementing your business strategy on a day-to-day basis.