Paula Groves is Main Street Launch’s Senior Vice President – Business Consulting. She offers tips and advice to entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their small businesses. This tip is about how to strategize to achieve your business goals.
Many small businesses are so concerned about their day-to-day activities like getting customers in the door and keeping the lights on that they see anything else as a distraction. Especially when an outsider, usually calling themselves a consultant, says something like “have you taken the time to think about your long-term strategy?” their immediate response is often “huh?” (which of course they would never say out loud).
Once your company has reached a comfortable state of profitability where your bills are getting paid, your customer pipeline is full, products are selling out, or Saturday night is packed, then you might be at the point where it makes sense to think about your long-term strategy.
Strategy, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time.” A simpler way of thinking about business strategy is by asking yourself “where do you want to be a year from now?”
Perhaps your long-term goal is to double your revenues by one year from today. The first step in achieving a goal is to say it out loud then write it down and tape it above your desk, to your refrigerator, or to the dashboard of your car. You may notice that when you start speaking this goal out loud, you begin thinking about what you would need to do to get there. For example:
- How do I get more customers? Make a new flyer or brochure.
- What resources do I have to put in place? Find a new graphic designer.
- Can my space handle more customers? Buy new tables and chairs.
- Do my customers like coming here? Fix the light in the entry way.
You get the idea. The minute you write down your goal, you automatically begin visualizing how you are going to achieve that goal. If you take the time to write down what you need to do, this is what we call a strategy.
Having a thought-partner can be helpful as you begin to strategize. The SBDC is a great resource for folks with business expertise who can help you get started. Click here to schedule an appointment with the SBDC.