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Are you so busy that you don't have time to review where your business is currently and in which direction it is heading? Where do you want your business to be by the end of the year and in the longer term? What are you doing to get your business to where you want it to be? It is very challenging as a business owner to balance the day to day and the longer term, but if you don't consider the future, how do you know that your current actions are the right ones to move you forward? If you are clear about the direction you want your business to go in you can harness your energy into getting there. Here are some ideas to help you clarify your business direction:
Make time to reflect on your business. Look at how you are spending your time. Are you doing unnecessary things? Could you delegate or outsource some of your tasks? Could you do things in a more productive way? Make time to step back from the day to day and reflect on your business. Maybe schedule in time in your diary to do this on your own, with someone else in your business or with some outside help.
Understand where your business currently is. What is the financial position of the business? Which products and services are doing well and which are not? What do your customers think about your business? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your business? What is your business known for? What do you need to change? What opportunities are there? Explore all aspects of your business so that you can make an honest assessment of where it is right now.
Explore the current business environment. What are your competitors doing? What is happening in your market sector? What are your suppliers telling you? What is happening in the wider business environment? What is your market share? Understand the current business environment so you have a clear picture of the landscape that your business is operating in.
Consider what your business has achieved. Look back over the last few years of your business. What has your business achieved? What has gone well? What do you need to change going forward? Learn from your business history and use it in deciding the way forward.
Where do you want your business to be in the short, medium and longer term? Think about where you want your business to be in say 3 to 6 months time, in a year's time and in 3 to 5 years time. This will be different for every business. You may want to increase your profit before tax by x%, you may want to generate a set income per year or you may want to create value in your business so you can sell it in the future. Having a clear idea of where you want your business to be will give your business direction.
What do you need to do to get to where you want to be? Look at the difference between where your business is now and where you want it to be in the future. Think about what you need to do differently and what actions you will need to take to bridge the gap. Break these actions down, prioritise them and map out when you need to take them.
Communicate your plans and get buy in. To achieve your business plans it is important to ensure that all interested parties know about them and support them. Communicate your plans to your staff, suppliers and other relevant parties and get their buy in. If everyone is moving in the same direction you will have much more chance of success.
Take action and review where you are on a regular basis. Take the actions identified above and review where you are on a regular basis against where you want to be. Consider what you are doing each day in your business and how it is going to get you to where you want to be. Review, revise and update your actions and plans as circumstances change.
The above will help you to understand where your business is, where you want it to be in the future and what you need to do to get there. This will give you and your business focus, clarity and direction.
Author: Liz Makin
Published: March 2012
Makin It Happen has a range of personal development online courses to purchase, created by Liz Makin, including communication, resilience, time management, stress management and coaching. Liz Makin also provides personalised business coaching, business mentoring and stress management services to business owners, directors, managers and professionals.
Please call Liz on 01780 765270 or email Liz@makinithappen.co.uk
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