Building and running a business is hard work, but even once you have implemented a solid business model and have attained a sustainable revenue stream, it is important to keep an eye to the future for continued growth opportunities.
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) highlights several key areas which should be considered when forecasting for business growth. Operating with this kind of strategic vision requires that you determine the optimal positioning for your business and work backwards to identify the best path forward.
While external forces will inevitably make you adapt along the way, creating a roadmap is essential to achieving long-term goals. The following five criteria should help you define and implement your strategic vision:
What is the best way to utilize your employees for the overall success of your business? What will your business structure look like, and how will it support your business? Consider how you can combine employees and resources together for the best possible outcomes.
As a leader and decision maker, you should always be aggregating bottom-up information from employees, but approaching your business from a top-down perspective. You want to be looking at the forest, not just the trees. By stepping back and looking at the bigger picture you will be better positioned to identify the best solutions to potential problems as they arise.
Even with a top-down approach, you want to look at your business from multiple perspectives. In strategic thinking, there are four viewpoints to take into consideration when forming your business strategy: the environmental or global view, the marketplace view, the project view, and the measurement view. Evaluating these views independently can help you hypothesize various outcomes and identify critical areas that are helping or hindering overall business goals.
Consider the larger and more fundamental elements driving your business success. These elements, generally, lay the foundation for overall business focus. Some examples of driving forces might include individual and organizational incentives; empowerment and alignment; qualitative factors such as a defined vision, values and goals; productive factors like a mission or function; quantitative factors such as results or experience; and others such as commitment, coherent action, effectiveness, productivity and value.
Once you have organized your company’s assets and employees, secured a top-down observational standpoint, analyzed the various views, and identified driving forces you should be able to determine the ideal position of where and what you want to be as a company.
Various elements go into drafting an ideal position and should include, but are not limited to, the conditions you have found to be necessary if your business is to be productive; the niche in the marketplace that your business will fill; any opportunities that may exist either currently or in the future for your business; the core competencies or skills required in your business; and the strategies and tactics you will use to pull it all together.
For financially savvy business owners, Sageworks offers a financial forecasting solution as part of the ProfitCents suite which can help you critically analyze your business to create a sound strategic vision for your company’s ideal position.
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