3 Simple Strategies to Help You Stay True to Your Small Business Vision
Most business coaches and accountants will tell you that the first thing you should have done, even before you started your Small Business, was to write a business plan. Now there are 50-page business plans with lots of words and numbers that in many cases will never be looked at again, and then there are plans that are half a dozen or so pages that a chock full of your vision for the business and the overview of how the first few years may look.
For years people have quoted from an unknown source: “If you fail to plan, you may as well plan to fail”. What that is really saying, I believe, is that you need to have a vision for the business. You need to have a clear picture of what you want your business to look like in the future.
One-page summary for everyday use
I prescribe to the view that a one-page summary that sets out your vision for the business, how you plan to get there and some key numbers that you will use to track your journey is the best plan. This type of plan is one that you can put up on your wall, on your website and tell your customers and staff about. It’s concise and clear, making it easy to keep on the path to your planned destination.
Where your vision is crystal clear and you have a product or service that your market needs and wants, you may find that you are able to quickly build the business through your marketing efforts. This allows you to keep pursuing your vision as you planned it to be.
What to do when opportunity knocks on the door?
However, for many, the path twists and turns. There will be challenges and hurdles along the way; a myriad of decisions to make and not all of them will be easy. There will be opportunities too that you hadn’t planned for or thought could be possible when you started out.
Just because you have a plan, doesn’t mean that you can’t change direction. But be careful that a change of direction doesn’t lead you somewhere that you don’t want to go. You don’t want to end up with a business that you don’t love anymore, doing work you dislike for people who you don’t enjoy working for or with or who don’t appreciate what you do for them. Or find yourself selling products that don’t excite or inspire you.
Some opportunities will take the business to a different level, expand your markets wider than you had imagined, and potentially growing your business at a faster rate than you had envisioned.
How to decide whether to pursue an opportunity or not
Each time you consider a significant opportunity, take a moment to consider the impact on the business by asking these questions:
– Do you have the capacity to take on this opportunity?
– Do you have the financial resources for this opportunity?
– How will this opportunity impact your existing business, clients, staff, and suppliers?
– Do you need to employ more staff?
– Do you have the expertise or do you need to train your staff to do different work?
– Is there profit to be made from this opportunity?
An example of this that comes to mind is a food-manufacturing client of mine who runs a successful Small Business with a steady clientele. One of his major competitors approached him one year to buy a large quantity of his product.
As it turned out:
– my client had surplus capacity,
– he was cashed up, so that he had the financial resources to fund it,
– it wouldn’t impact his existing clientele,
– he didn’t need to employ any new staff as he had the capacity and
– in selling to his competitor he made a significant one-off profit.
– identify your vision
– create a one-page summary
– consider each opportunity carefully before making a decision
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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