We are now one month into 2020, and just two months away from the start of the new financial year. If you haven’t already got a winning business strategy in place for the year ahead, chances are you're not alone. 90% of businesses fail to execute a successful business strategy.
But as the commercial landscape continues to evolve and develop rapidly, businesses must be doing all they can to stay ahead of the competition.
So to help you amplify your business growth in 2020, we’ve compiled seven highly effective tips that will set you up for success.
1. Remember your why
Author and leadership coach Simon Sinek says, “People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” But sometimes, when you’re so focused on the day-to-day runnings of the business, it’s easy for the ‘why’ to be suppressed. But the most important step in any business strategy planning is thinking about the reason your company exists in the first place.
Not only will remembering your purpose give you a renewed passion and excitement for your business, but it will also help you to create an effective business strategy. Your ‘why’ is what engages others with your business and helps them form an affinity with you. As long as your why is at the centre of any decisions you make, you’ll be at least on the right path for success.
2. Reflect on the last 12 months
When planning for the year ahead, it always makes sense to first look back on the last twelve months. What were your goals? Did you meet them? Is there still work to do? Are those goals still relevant?
Thinking about what went and what didn’t go so well over the last year can also inspire your strategy going forward. How many new customers did you bring in? Did you meet your financial targets? Did you lose customers along the way? By analysing your successes and failures over the last year you can give more considered thought to what you need to do to achieve success going forward.
3. Set new goals
Taking the time to sit down and plan the next chapter of your business helps you gain focus and set achievable milestones. When setting your goals, list the key steps you’ll take to achieve each of them. Breaking your goals down into shorter-term steps will help you to gather momentum.
It may be difficult to decide which goals to focus on first. The trick is to adopt a top-down/bottom-up approach. A top-down approach looks at what’s most important, while a bottom-up approach considers what can realistically be achieved. There may be a gap in the middle there, and it’s important to recognise that so you don’t end up over-stretching yourself. Perhaps there are some goals you can mark to come back to assess later in the year. After all, a lot can happen in twelve months.
4. Identify risks and opportunities
When setting your goals, be sure to consider any internal or external factors that could present a risk or opportunity for your business. Internally, perhaps there is a skills gap you need to fill in order to achieve your goals. Or maybe you know someone is leaving and it’s going to put the rest of your team under increased pressure.
Externally, you need to be cognisant of industry trends and what your competitors are doing when planning your business strategy too. And what impact will Brexit have on your business, both good and bad? It's happened now. You can stop wondering whether it will or it won't and start thinking ahead to life outside of the EU.
5. Document your plans
Reflecting on your business and setting goals for the future is great, but if you want to really follow through on it, you need to document it all. Create a twelve-month plan detailing your goals and the strategic priorities you need to focus on to achieve those goals. Record your current budgets, deliverables and other important measures so that you have all your key information in one place.
Then break this plan into smaller, more digestible plans, and commit to regularly reviewing them. Don’t forget to think about your success metrics too. How will you know when these goals have been achieved? A review every month or every quarter will help you to keep on top of it so you can course correct when you need to.
6. Involve your team
As a business owner, it can sometimes be difficult to let go of parts of running the business and lean on others for help. But you can’t deliver the strategy and grow your business on your own. You need a team of people around you who can take responsibility and accountability for different priorities. Make sure these people are involved in the strategic planning and that you communicate what their individual responsibilities are. The sooner you get other members of your team involved, the more motivated they will be to live and breathe the strategy.
7. Grow your external network
Although incredibly rewarding, running your own business can sometimes feel like a lonely venture. As your business grows, there may be times when you feel out of your depth. When you grow to a size where it becomes apparent that you need to bring in HR, for example, but you don’t have any real knowledge or understanding of good HR practice.
It’s always good to have people who’ve been in your shoes that you can reach out to for support. Connecting with like-minded leaders in your area will give you a source for insights and advice that can help you take your business to the next level. So why not make growing your external network part of your strategic plan for this year? Networking events can be a great way to start making those first connections.
Finding the time to plan and execute a business strategy can be the solution to your business growth ambitions. But be sure to remember who you are, reflect on how far you’ve come, do your research and set yourself goals and steps to help you meet those goals, and document it all so that you maintain accountability. Finally, look to the people around you, both within your business and outside of it, for support. You don’t have to run your business on your own.