The summer is officially over and we are approaching the end of the third quarter which means year end is just around the corner and 2014 is on the horizon.
Business ownership, it can sometimes cause perspiration, a racing heartbeat, and at times the metaphorical light bulb over the head. Whether a business is performing well or isn’t as successful as expected, reassessing business plans, goals and performance are essential. Blowing the dust off of the cover of your business plan at least annually will help to refocus the business on what has been identified as key success factors. Are these factors the same or like most businesses, has something changed or is in need change? Here are some FYI tips to get you started.
Revisit The Business Plan – Your business plan is your guide to success. Although much thought and consideration went into your business plan, you must remember that it is a theory to success, not a guarantee. What were your target markets? What were your expansion and income goals? Is your business structure appropriate; positioned for growth or expansion? Business failure frequently comes from poor strategy, poor execution or poor management. Reviewing and reforming strategies is paramount.
Market Identification – Existing and/or Alternative – Your business plan identifies the target markets for your product or service. If your business is performing well then it is likely that you are directed to the correct markets and have focused intently on your target audience rather than utilize a generalized, shotgun approach. Well positioned in your core market, the potential to expand, gain market share, or diversify would be aspects of your business plan worth reviewing.
Budget Re-Alignment – You have planned your budget and the business has been full speed ahead but you’re not seeing the results that had been anticipated on the bottom line. Or maybe, sales are down, but your operating expenses have been unchanged. Better yet, sales are up, expenses are up and the bottom line is down? Perhaps you need to re-align your budget or dive deeper into expense management, pricing and ROI. All too often, changes and decisions are made that erode the bottom line and a business will quickly find themselves in financial distress. The best way to avoid this is to understand the effects of decisions that have a financial implication and to vet the impact on ROI prior to spending.
Instincts or KPI’s? – Businesses will often reflect on the past to foresee the future; what has worked and how they became successful. There is a time and place for instinct in business but KPI’s don’t lie. Running and managing a business successfully takes fact based decision making and an understanding of the effects of those decisions.
Now that we’ve stuck our toe into the waters by reading this, it’s time to take the “plunge” and dig out your Business Plan! Think of it like making the dreaded Dr. appointment. We don’t look forward to going, but once we know what’s going on we can take care of business and move forward in life so we can continue to enjoy the fruits of our labors.