Category - Goal-setting

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Growing Your Business With A Strategic Plan
Growing Your Business – Measure Everything
Driven From Goal To Strategy
From Desire To Success – Bridging The Gap
Dive Into Your Business With A Multi-Level SWOT Analysis

Growing Your Business With A Strategic Plan

This is the second part of our series on growing your small business once your startup is established.

If you missed our series on how to start your own small business, you can go here to read the first article in that series.

The first part of this series on growing your small business can be found here.

This week, we are going to look at how preparing a long-term Strategic Plan as an overview of your strategic direction (where you want to end up and how you want to get there) can help you keep on track as you grow.

In your growth phase, you will meet many challenges and just as many decisions. Where will you open a store next? Who should you hire? Your supplier is going out of business – how do you choose a replacement? Should you rent your new premises or buy? Should you take on a partner?

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Growing Your Business – Measure Everything

We have completed our series of blog posts on starting your small business, but if you have missed any of those articles and you want to teach yourself about the steps to take when you are starting a small business, I’ll put the links to those articles at the end of this post.

Today we are starting our series on growing your small business. Having started successfully, you are not turning your attention to growing your business.

One of your most important tasks of this stage is to set yourself milestones in the growth of your business so that you can recognise when you have reached various points of success. When should I hire more staff? When will reach a point in my profits when I can invest in more equipment? When do I start paying off my startup loan? When should I look to open a new store?

These are the types of questions you should identify answers to at the start of your growth so that you can recognise them and know what to do next.

This is why one of your most important tasks, other than writing your Strategic and Business Plans, is to measure everything.

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Driven From Goal To Strategy

When you are preparing your Business Plan, you should have articulated a clear and well-defined, measurable vision, and then sought to understand where you stand right now so that you can identify the gaps between where you are and where you want to go.

The process of business planning should take you from having a clear picture of what you want to achieve, through understanding your current capacity and capability to do this, and then finding strategies to actually achieve this.

That journey involves setting some clear goals and then setting strategies that align to reaching those goals.

How do you do this?

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From Desire To Success – Bridging The Gap

Business Planning is about setting out a pathway for your business to proceed, that will get you to the business of your dreams – the vision of your ideal business.

In order to do this effectively, the Business Planning process goes through a logical sequence to first define exactly what your desired ideal business is going to be like, then understanding where you stand in relation to his, thus revealing the gaps between where you are now and where you want to be, and then implementing strategies to bridge that gap.

It’s a logical process.

If you were going on a drive to visit your mum in the next town, you would do exactly the same thing.

You identify where your mum lives, how far it is, what time you want to get there and the time you need to be back, and how much fuel you need to get there and back. Then you check if your car will make the distance, how much time you have that day, and how much fuel you have. Finally, you make plans about when you should leave to get you there and back at the right time, and how much fuel you should buy.

In other articles, I have already written about the process to describe your vision of where you want your business to be, and how to quantify that vision so that it can be measurable.

I have also written about how you can get a clear understanding of where your business is, in relation to that ultimate vision.

The next question is how do you define those gaps and turn them into goals?

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Dive Into Your Business With A Multi-Level SWOT Analysis

I’m guessing you have heard of the SWOT analysis where you identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of your business.

I wrote an article on how you can conduct a SWOT analysis and use it to improve your business, but this week I wanted to really help you to dive deep into your business and conduct a multi-level SWOT analysis on your business.

First, let me explain for the uninitiated.

A SWOT analysis is a critical tool to analyse where your business currently stands in various performance areas. It is used as a key stage during the business planning process.

Strengths and weaknesses are internal characteristics, within your control to develop or eliminate. Opportunities and threats are external influences like the economy, legislation or natural disaster which you cannot control but can to manage their effects.

An analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your business will help you to identify strategies to improve on strengths and take advantage of opportunities, as well as eliminate weaknesses and mitigate against threats, and thus improve your business performance.

However, did you know that you can use the SWOT analysis to dive deep into every part of your business and develop immediate tactics as well as longer-term strategies to correct weak areas and build up strong ones?

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