Review Your Business
29/01/2021 - Whitley Morgan
So, you wrote a business plan when your business started. You researched your competitors, found your target market, wrote down your goals and worked out the numbers to achieve your dream. Have you looked at it since – come on be honest?! I bet its in the bottom drawer of your office desk and has not been looked at since. I get it, we get so caught up ‘in’ the day to day business activities and lose sight of the importance of working ‘on’ business growth and development.
Do you feel:
- Your business plan is now out of date?
- Uncertain about how well the business is performing?
- Not making the most of the marketing opportunities available?
- You are not coping with demand?
- Your business is moving in a different direction to your original goals?
- Your business is not ready to move onto the next stage of your plan?
- Do you feel you are busy but not productive or profitable?
- Business is going great, but not sure how to take it to that next level?
Lets looks at the different areas of running a business that you need to be reviewing on a regular basis:
If you have been running your business a while you will probably have a clearer idea of your competitors. Yes, gathering more information may cost time, money and effort but there are benefits to knowing more about what your competition is doing.
They won’t have stood still and be the same as when you originally did the research for your business plan, so what are they up to nowadays? Are you still offering a USP that means you differ from your competitors?
SWOT Analysis (Strengths / Weaknesses / Opportunities / Threats)
Have these changed? After all, if you have been in business a while, you will find your strengths in being a business owner become apparent, as do your weaknesses! And I can guarantee your opportunities and threats will have changed from when you first started too.
Has your target market changed? Maybe you have been able to expand your geographical location so your target market is across a wider area, changes in your business and the products and services you offer may mean that your target market will have changed.
What about your existing customers, who are they? What has been their experience of you and the products/services you offer? Doing market research on your existing customers will allow you to glean lots of useful information to improve further what you are offering and receive a loyal customer following.
Review Numbers – Cashflow Forecast P&L
You review your marketing activities, you should also test and measure your business performance regularly in terms of your goals, but also the financial side of the business. Are you on track to achieve those financial goals you set?
Businesses often fail because of poor financial management or lack of planning. Completing a Cashflow / Profit & Loss Forecast on an ongoing basis will help to provide you with great information to be able to track your goals, but also make informed decisions about costs that are incurred.
Are you making profit? If not, could it be you are spending more money than you expected or not selling at the right price?
Put in place a sound financial system – ensuring you are on top of your numbers. Bookkeeping / Cashflow Forecasting / Payroll / Dividends / Year end Accounts / Tax etc etc. If this is not your area of skill, then consider using a professional that can support this area of the business taking away that worry/hassle and allowing you to get on and do what you do best, run your business.
Have you been lucky enough to grow your business to a size that you have employed staff? Have they been a productive investment into your business? It should be part of your process to do staff reviews – they are not only a worthwhile opportunity to speak about any challenges, your team are the ones at the coal face of your business and have an amazing insight to the area they are involved in, you may have lost sight of this whilst busy running the company. They may have some great ideas to improve efficiency or their job role, they understand what the customers are looking for.
Maybe you have not had a chance to employ help yet. How are you coping? Is it now time to bite the bullet and get support? Have you considered outsourced individuals / companies to use if you are not ready yet to take the plunge into the world of PAYE?
Is your marketing working? Have you achieved the results you were looking for? If not, why not? Testing and measuring your marketing activities ensures that you only work on campaigns that achieve the desired results.
Is your business efficient – do you find you are busy busy, but at the end of the day think to yourself what have I actually achieved today?
Ensuring you have strong processes and systems in place will help to provide your customers with a consistent level of service, thus attracting repeat business (cheaper than finding new clients) and make you more efficient both in time and money.
Are there other areas of the business holding it back from growth?
· Information Technology (IT)
· Team & Skills
Products / Services
When did you last review and evaluate what you actually do – your core activities and the products and services that you provide?
Ask yourself what makes them successful, how they could be improved and whether you and your business is in a position to launch new or complementary products or services.
After the crucial early stages of your business you should regularly review your progress, identify how you can make the most of the market position you’ve started to establish and decide where to take your business next.
What are your goals now? Are they the same or has running your business for a while shown that those goals need to be re-considered?
Your business plan is like flight path – it has a direction – but do expect that it may change to reach your final destination. You must spend time reviewing your plans, your business – helping to ensure you are moving forward and not stagnating or worse still going backwards.
Revisit and update your business plan with your new strategy in mind and make sure you introduce the developments you’ve noted. Look at the challenges you have faced to see what you can do to improve those areas, look at the successes and failures and use them to learn from.
Involving your business coach/mentor, fellow directors and your team will all help to make your review more effective.
Once you have done your review, don’t put that information back to the bottom of the drawer, set aside time in your default diary to work with your business coach to work on all the areas you have identified need improving.
How Can Whitley Morgan help you? Together with a strong financial background we are able to support you and your business bringing your ideas to reality. With 25+ years’ experience in starting, building, growing, franchising and selling companies we provide training, advice, support and guidance to businesses either starting up or established firms that look to increase their service/product range or improve an area to help the company grow. For more information please visit www.whitleymorgan.co.uk
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