As the planning cycle commences for the financial year 2023, it’s a good time to focus on growing your business. To do this, ensure your cost structures are lean and consider some of the below strategies that, when implemented, can help to position your business for growth. Not only will these drive growth, but they’ll set the direction for achieving your vision both in the short and long-term.
Assess your business’s current position
First, assess where your business is at currently. There are a number of tools and techniques that can assist with this self-reflection.
The starting point is a SWOT analysis, which considers your business’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This will highlight the areas that the business should be able to capitalize on while at the same time identifying risks that should be addressed and considered when growing your business.
Benchmarking is another valuable tool used to understand how your business compares to others in your industry. Benchmark data is often available from your industry association or can be purchased from commercial suppliers. Understanding where the business has performance gaps compared with its competitors will help with identifying areas of focus.
Market research is also a powerful way to assess how your business is viewed by the market overall and how it’s viewed by customers. Is your perception of where you sit in the market the same as what the market research is identifying? Listening to your customers and understanding their needs and objectives will help you to align your future products and services with their needs moving forward.
During this initial research phase, you should also try to identify trends in your recent trading history. What are these trends telling you about your customers? What is happening to your margins? This can help you to recognise areas of focus.
Develop SMART goals
Having assessed how your business is currently placed, the next step in positioning for growth is to develop some clear goals that you would like to achieve. These should be categorized into key areas of your business such as customers, products, employees, marketing, etc.
The goals should also be SMART, that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. We recommend that you have two-three goals for each key area and then focus on achieving these goals. The more you have, the harder it will be to maintain focus.
Once you’ve decided on your goals, the next step is to break each goal down and identify the strategies that you intend to use to achieve the goal and what support you will require. This part of the process often takes time. It’s often easy to identify what the goal may be, but harder to determine what strategies will enable you to achieve the goal.
At this stage, it can be useful to review the goals and objectives with your local William Buck office. Given our experience in working with similar businesses, we will be able to provide you with some external thoughts on the next steps in positioning your business for growth.
Once the strategies have been identified, it’s time to develop the key output from the process which is the Action Plan. The action plan should identify the following:
- Overall goal
- Actions required
- Responsible person
- Resources required
- Current status
Like any plan, the key is to track and monitor the progress of the strategies that you have put in place. Having a few clearly defined strategies is crucial to ensuring that your focus is on achieving those goals which will leave the business well positioned for growth into the long term.
If you would like assistance in positioning your business for growth, please contact your local William Buck Business Advisor.