Small business strategy is often the first thing a business owner will say they need, are going to do next, and is most likely the very last thing they will actually put time and energy into. It's not that you don't know it's the right thing to do, it's not that you don't think it will be of any benefit to you and your business, it's that the day-to-day chaos and challenges always seem to take priority. To be very honest we too are challenged with the very same things day-in, day-out. But to not give some time to creating a business strategy is dangerous over the long haul.
So, given that we all have small businesses to run, how do we make the time necessary to sit down with a clear head and put together the semblance of a strategy that makes sense and one we can follow to build and grow our businesses?
First thing you must do is STOP! If you are serious then block time in your diary. If you're not serious then there is no reason to read on. Creating a small business strategy is serious business, so you need a minimum of 2 hours, depending on the size of your business is could be half or a full day.
Don't carry this out on-site, go somewhere offsite so you can clear your mind. Don't do it on your own, you need someone (or two) to bounce your ideas off. If you have a senior management team or some senior employees then include them, they will provide a great sounding board, they will often come up with great ideas and think of things you couldn't imagine. It's a 50,000 foot view of the business landscape. Business strategy is all about looking down the road 12 to 24 months.
What things should you be thinking of, here are a few:
- What will my business look like
- What turnover/revenue will we be doing
- Who will we be employing then
- What skill-sets do we need in our business
- What role will "I" be taking in the business
We have worked with and studied many businesses over the years and there is one clear difference between the companies who continuously grow and expand year after year. In all cases the business owner and the senior team (if they have one) and employees are very clear what their small business strategy is, and they review it on a yearly basis. They continuously look for business advice and business help when they need it, and they all agree that they don't have the answers but they know where to go to get those answers.