4 Ways to Plan for the Future of Your Business
Read about these 4 steps to take that will see you leading your business to a brighter future.
- PLAN: Have a plan – your roadmap to where you are going. This should be a short, concise document, that is pinned to your wall/noticeboard in plain sight where everyone can see it and you refer to regularly! Don’t waste money on a multi-page document that gets filed away and no one ever reads. A strategic plan should address your short, mid and long term goals and also be flexible. You need to sit down and really think about where you are and where you would like to be in 12 months, 3-5 years and 10 years’ time. “But I barely have enough time to take care of the day-to-day of running my business,” some of you may argue. Remember, even a simple plan produced with a modicum of effort can go a long way to growing your business. Find a quiet space where you are not going to get interrupted and really focus on what it is you want? Where do you see your business in terms of these timeframes? I know it sounds clichéd but a SWOT analysis, where you take a good, honest look at your businesses strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is essential. It’s important to have an honest understanding of where your strengths and core competencies lay before you start setting goals. And make sure you have buy-in from your employees. They are a major part of your organisation and have an impact of your future goals, so take them along for the ride as well!
- CHART: Make a chart of every role that is required in your organisation and understand how each role works and contributes to the running of your business. When we first went into business, we had an organisation chart that specified every role that was required to run our business into the future. With only 2 of us, it meant that our names appeared rather frequently, however, as we grew, we replaced the roles with either people we employed, or outsourced the role to a specialised professional when it was more economical to do so. You can’t do everything, but by understanding how each job works and where it fits in with the organisation, you can then create meaningful procedures that allow positions within the business to be filled easier. Educate yourself on the roles of each staff member and learn their individual challenges.
- DELEGATE: Don’t micromanage! You will run yourself into the ground very quickly if you try to do everything yourself. If there are tasks and operations that you want done a certain way, document how you want it done in a procedure and train your staff to do it that way. I know from personal experience that it can be very hard handing over something that you have done a certain way, but it is also very liberating when you see your employees rise to the challenge and are capable of completing the job competently to your expectations.
- SYSTEMISE: Where do you see it ending? You can’t stay in your business forever – you’re going to want to retire or perhaps do something different at some stage. One of the most important things I was told when we were in the early days of our businesses was that when you start a business, you should plan for the end right from the start! What this does is it forces you “widgetise” your business as much as you can. If you are going to sell your business, or hand over to a family member, you need an operation that someone can walk into and continue running from day one. Your business needs to be as turnkey as possible. Your financials, HR and record keeping ship shape. This forces you to implement decent systems from the get-go, such as good bookkeeping software that keeps your financials current. Time sheets and record keeping that adhere to current legislation. If you’re not sure, get advice on what you should be doing and the best way to do it. Your business should stand up to an audit.
With a wealth of experience and expertise to draw from, The WBN “Grow” programme can assist you to address these functions within your business and set you up for the growth of your business into the future.